Samsung T9000 With Evernote

When Samsung embedded Evernote in one of its new refrigerator models, this for me truly heralded the arrival of something I like to call Small Data. So grab a cold one, because this is just the start of very interesting new way to look at life.

The commentary in the past 24 hours as run hot and heavy, headed anywhere from wonder over the amazing Jetsons-like new technology to downright scorn for what it doesn’t do. If Steve Jobs has taught us nothing else, it’s that people first get caught up with the hardware, then the interface, then the utility, but what REALLY matters is the data: The content and our ability to manipulate it.

So, please start here with the Evernote blog posting, then go here and then if you haven’t had enough, here.

For me this is not a hardware or technology mashup story. This heralds the formal arrival of the concept of “small data.”

Small Data (for me this is a phenomenon not a noun, so I refer to is in the singular) is, simply put, the stuff that we use in our everyday lives. Small Data is how we navigate through life: phone numbers that were formerly committed to memory or a shopping list written on a notepad. It’s the location of a restaurant.

Viegas-UserActivityonWikipediaMany in my field are deeply familiar with the concept of big data, which sounds scary to consumers and tantalizingly powerful to marketers. Big data is nothing without small data: our use of and facility with small data is what is aggregated into perceived behavior patterns that constitute big data. More on this later, for certain.

Here’s the upshot: data needs to be free in order for it to be valuable. Is it tech-overkill to mash up a cloud-based note-taking app and a common household appliance? Not if it provides convenience, improves efficiency, and ultimately helps reduce carbon emissions by reducing the number of “run back to the store and get” trips. But the real story here – the one that I will be tracking and developing activation strategies and practical “how-to’s” for – is Small Data.

To me that’s what’s cool. More to follow.