The Fifth Elephant 2013

An Event on Big Data and Cloud Computing

Sameer Segal


Big Data at the Base of the Pyramid

Submitted Apr 3, 2013

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.


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