The Fifth Elephant 2013

An Event on Big Data and Cloud Computing

Big Data at the Base of the Pyramid

Submitted by Sameer Segal (@sameersegal) on Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Section: Analytics and Visualization Technical level: Intermediate


I was actually tempted to give this talk a tongue-in-cheek title like “Big Data with No Data” because “data” at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) is an ephemeral and elusive thing.

I’d like to talk about both the challenges and the opportunities of working with big data at the BoP. I’ll share insights and examples from our work in microfinance and primary healthcare.


It’s always cool to analyze social graphs, website traffic, the stock market, customer-lifetime-value, and so on. But it’s comparatively easy because you have defined data sets. It’s a solved problem.

How would you look at the same things at the Base of the Pyramid (with people who earn less than Rs.100/- per day)? We will talk about our experience trying to do this with real stories from the field.

We’ll share everything: challenges, goof-ups, opportunities, insights, what seems to be working, and the questions we’re still trying to answer— and we look forward to hearing what you think.

Speaker bio

Sameer is passionate about inclusive technology, something he discovered during a summer internship at Ujjivan, one of the fastest growing microfinance institutions in the world. He started Artoo ( in 2010 and is a self-taught geek who works on the entire technology stack from Android to Cloud.

Sameer holds a B-Tech from the National Institute of Technology, Karnataka (Surathkal) and is a StartingBloc Fellow (Boston 2009). He has been recognized as one of Asia-Pacific’s most promising young social entrepreneurs by the Foundation for Youth Social Entrepreneurship’s Paragon 100 Fellowship.



  • Srinivasan Seshadri (@sesh) 6 years ago

    can we expand on what exactly will be covered in the talk and why this would be interesting to the audience…

  • Govind Kanshi (@govindsk) 6 years ago

    Dear Sameer - The title and deck do not seem to match. From the title it seems you have “data analysis” in your mind. But the deck reflects - couchdb/lucene for local storage. The latter part is also very interesting from challenges on mobile world(unconnected/small footprint/constraint on resources).
    But if latter is the goal - then synopsis can change a little bit to reflect it.

  • Sameer Segal (@sameersegal) Proposer 6 years ago

    Hi Govind, thanks for pointing it out. I moved the deck to the links section. It was supposed to be a placeholder. The talk is going to be about analysis + technology/product design. I want to cover both because they have an implication on each other. I defines on the limits on the other.

    I will put up a deck by the end of the month.

    Best, Sameer

  • Govind Kanshi (@govindsk) 6 years ago

    Thanks Sameer for quick turnaround.

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