The StampedeCon Big Data Conference will feature a whole day of great speakers about one of the fastest growing segments of technology, big data.
StampedeCon founder Gary Stiehr, has put together a great program featuring ReadWriteWeb’s David Storm, Rob Peglar of EMC/Isilon, Bill Eldredge of Nokia, Frank Cotignola of Kraft Foods, Eric Hochmuth of Monsanto, Scott Fines of NISC, Alex Miller of Revelytix, and Jim Duey of Lonocloud.
In addition to the content packed feature speakers there will be a vendor exhibit area and a ton of great people to network with. People are coming from across the country to participate in the first ever StampedeCon and Stiehr tells us he hopes to do more of them. We got to talk to Stiehr in the interview below:
What is StampedeCon?
StampedeCon is a new national Big Data conference series based in St. Louis. We’re launching our first event, StampedeCon 2012, in St. Louis, MO, on August 1, 2012. We’ve created a well-rounded event that will inform and equip organizations thinking about or already working with Big Data. We want to connect those who are interested in better understanding and leveraging Big Data and discussing what’s next for this emerging field. Whether you’re an expert or just getting started with Hadoop, Big Data or Data Science, StampedeCon will provide value through presentations that will:
- Provide specific case studies for collecting, storing and analyzing Big Data assets along with various industries’ views on what they see as “Big Data.”
- Discuss some of the challenges companies face when handling Big Data.
- Focus on the “how” of Big Data collection and analysis with operational and development-focused talks.
More than just putting together a conference, however, we want to help connect technologists to new in-demand Big Data skills. We want to help create new educational programs around Big Data and connect startups with the opportunities available in creating new Big Data services and solutions.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?
Gary Stiehr founded the StampedeCon Big Data conference series. He has over twelve years of experience managing and operating High Performance Computing (HPC) environments. Stiehr leads the Information Systems group at The Genome Institute at Washington University in St. Louis, which manages the HPC systems used to analyze the genetic basis of cancer and other diseases. He is also the founder of STLhpc.net, which aims to connect individuals and organizations in the St. Louis HPC ecosystem as well as to strengthen St. Louis by spotlighting, connecting and building upon local HPC expertise and helping local organizations leverage HPC. He is also involved with the technology startup community in St. Louis primarily through the IT Entrepreneur Network (ITEN). Prior to joining The Genome Institute, Gary worked at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory building and supporting the U.S. CMS Tier-1 regional computing center for the Worldwide Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid.
High Performance Computing is based on the idea of using many commodity servers in parallel to process large workloads. Similarly, Big Data technologies, such as Hadoop, leverage many commodity servers to process an ever-growing stampede of data. The primary differences are in system architecture and programming models. The similarities are great enough to create opportunity for those already involved with HPC. The opportunities to leverage new Big Data technologies are great enough to provide incentive for startups to get involved in what is expected to be a $50 billion industry by 2017.
Where are you based?
We are based in St. Louis, MO, but we are creating a national draw for the conference.
What is the startup culture like in St. Louis
The technology startup culture in St. Louis is very energetic and supportive. It seems as if everyone wants to help you succeed even as they work to get their own startup off the ground. Jim Brasunas, the Executive Director of the IT Entrepreneur Network (ITEN), has led the assembly of a large number of experienced mentors and programs that help St. Louis startups get the guidance they need from attracting investors to being prepared to scale up their IT infrastructure. Combine this with a community of entrepreneurs and investors who are setting out to challenge the status quo and you find a startup culture that shows all the signs of a rapidly emerging center for technology innovations.
What are you hoping to achieve with StampedeCon 2012?
While there is a lot of Big Data expertise in the Midwest, there are also a lot of companies, entrepreneurs, developers and system administrators who are just getting started. Traveling to one of the coasts and paying $900 or more per person can make it difficult to get up to speed rapidly with the information and connections they needed around Big Data.
With StampedeCon 2012, we are providing a high-quality conference that is affordable and centrally located to minimize travel time and cost. We have also focused on providing a well-rounded, straightforward event that will cover all of the bases from defining Big Data and its value in different industries to seeing how to get started and how to scale.
What is one challenge that you’ve overcome in the startup process?
One challenge we’ve overcome in the startup process is securing enough funding to get started. Thanks to funding commitments from early StampedeCon 2012 sponsors, we were able to secure the venue and lock in the conference date. In turn, we were able to talk in more detail with potential early speakers and open a call for participation. With some early commitments from great speakers, we were able to open early registration to those very first early registrants. With that, we were able to obtain other needed services to help spread the word about the conference. As the word spread, more sponsors signed up, more speakers submitted proposals and more people registered. Tackling that initial challenge of obtaining seed funding helped start off a snowball effect with momentum gained each time a new speaker, sponsor or registrant signed on.
Who are your mentors and role models?
Who are my mentors and role models? That’s a tough one because it’s hard to count all of the people who have in one way or another helped me to grow over the years. I’ve learned a lot from family, friends, co-workers and others in the community.
What’s one thing the world doesn’t know about you or your startup?
The name StampedeCon was chosen because many people learning about Big Data technologies and all of the new sources of information available to them felt as if they were being bombarded with options much like a stampede. By bringing together a great set of speakers with a specific set of topics, we’re hoping to help people leverage the power of this stampede rather than being overwhelmed by it.
What’s next for your startup?
After StampedeCon 2012, we’ll focus on building StampedeCon 2013 to offer further breadth and depth. We’ll want it to incorporate what we hear from StampedeCon 2012 attendees and from those throughout the Big Data community throughout the year. We’ll watch the Big Data community and continue to inform and equip organizations thinking about or already working with Big Data. We’ll continue to connect those who are interested in better understanding and leveraging Big Data and discussing what’s next for this emerging field. More than just putting together a conference, however, we want to help connect technologists to new in-demand Big Data skills. We want to help create new educational programs around Big Data. We want to connect startups with the opportunities available in creating new Big Data services and solutions.
Register for StampedeCon here
Nibletz is on a sneaker-strapped nationwide startup roadtrip here’s more on that