IBM Midwest Key Enterprise, Startup and Academic Leaders September 2015 Update: PaaS Meetup Events, Shoppers Disrupted Retailing Through the Noise Study, Northwestern University Social Marketing Specialization, Wall Street Journal Technologists from American Airlines Amex Share Hadoop Lessons and New IBM Bluemix Cloud Services

TechWeek Kansas City, Chicago Technori and PaaS Container Meetup are few of the events in September that were well attended from Chicago to Kansas and showcase how key it is to have opportunities to engage with the people and  technologies changing the world today.    At our recent meetup focused on Containers, one of the meetup members said it best, “You have to attend these events to stay current with technologies which are changing so rapidly with or without our input.”   From Northern Illinois University to Northwestern University and Watson to Hadoop, engaging with industry and cloud,  with open source and enterprise,  it is great  to say all these relationships  will drive this September update and then technology discussions will follow.  With that introduction, let’s begin…

Upcoming Chicago PaaS Bluemix And Cloud Computing Meetups

 Chicago PaaS Bluemix and Cloud Computing Meetup on Docker Containers September 30, 2105

As co-organizer of the Chicago PaaS Bluemix and Cloud Computing Meetup since April of this year, it is great to see the engagement with  the labs and with the meetup members who are learning and sharing from the guest instructors as well as each other.   This is how 20 people decided to spend their lunch hour earlier today:  Learning (with sandwiches provided so they had food for the stomach and mind).

In case you want on join in the fun, learning and food, here is the schedule of upcoming meetups:

Leveraging the Cloud with Java Programming

  • Wednesday, October 21, 2015

6:00 PM to 7:30 PM  71 S Wacker Drive Sixth Floor and Please Bring a Photo ID for Building Security, Chicago, IL (edit map)

  • All our meetups are free. Come join in for food and programming with Java in the cloud.   The instructor for the labs will be Umang Shah an IBM Cloud Technical Architect with several years experience as a software developer and architect. He has a strong history in the financial and insurance industry working with some of the nation’s top corporations.  He lives in Chicago and supports several clients in the Midwest.  The cloud Java hands on exercises will give you an opportunity to create apps and expand apps to include additional functions

Creating Apps in the Cloud

  • Tuesday, November 10, 2015

5:30 PM to 7:00 PM Northern Illinois University  NIU Library Computer Lab, DeKalb, IL (edit map)

  • All our meetups are free. Come join us on the Northern Illinois University DeKalb Campus (or the virtual link at NIU Rockford campus) with Tech Bark for an evening of learning and coding in the cloud with Umang Shah walking us through creating the apps in the cloud. Umang Shah is an IBM Cloud Technical Architect with several years experience as a software developer and architect.  He has a strong history in the financial and insurance industry working with some of the nation’s top corporations.  He lives in Chicago and supports several clients in the Midwest.

Institute for Business Value Shoppers Disrupted:  Retailing Through the Noise Study

As many retailers begin preparing for the upcoming holiday season,  the Shoppers Disrupted:  Retailing Through the Noise is a comprehensive study of 110,000 responses to surveys over a 5 year period providing interesting data points into consumer responses as well as actions from contextual shopping experiences.   This chart outlines some of the differences in the shopping experience compared to the shopping purchases:

Northwestern University Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) Social Marketing Specialization With Coursera

 Professor Randy Hlavac has done it again.  Professor Hlavac was promoted to  a Director role at Northwestern University this year and on September 1, 2015 Northwestern University announced with Coursera the Social Marketing Specialization created by Professor Hlavac and his team.

There are 3 ways to take the Social Marketing Specialization.  They are:

  • Purchase the entire specialization for $426      Use this link to get there
  • This includes 5 MOOCs and the Capstone project
  • You get a certificate from Northwestern when you complete the course
  • You have 2 years to do all 5 MOOCs and the Capstone
  • Option 2 is to take each MOOC individually for $79
  • You have to sign up for each MOOC individually as they are offered
  • You can use the Specialization link to sign up for the FIRST MOOC only at
  • OR you can sign up for the first MOOC on its landing page at
  • The other MOOCs will have different addresses
  • You can also take each MOOC for free.  HOWEVER, you can only do this from each MOOCs landing page
  • For MOOC 1, go to, click on registering and then go to the bottom of the form.  IT DOESN’T SAY FREE but says take the MOOC without the specialization option which is free

Randy Hlavac is a lecturer in the Medill IMC department and teaches Digital, Social and Mobile Marketing. He teaches his classes to use the most sophisticated social monitoring and management systems while building actual social and mobile marketing strategies for companies throughout the world. Hlavac is also a faculty advisor for Vitamin IMC and is the director of the Medill IMC OmniChannel Initiative, which trains students to market in a real-time world.   Outside of Northwestern, Hlavac is the CEO of Marketing Synergy, Inc., a consulting company dedicated to helping organizations improve their strategic and tactical marketing programs using the advanced analytics necessary to market in today’s real-time engagement world. He is also the author of “Social IMC: Social Strategies with Bottom-Line ROI,” a book recently published that provides CEOs and CMOs with strategies and development methodologies to manage social investment with business metrics.

Wall Street Journal Technologists from American Airlines, Amex Share Hadoop Lessons By Steven Norton September 30, 2015

“One of the unexpected side affects of moving to Hadoop is a lot more focus on data governance than we had in the past,” Ms. Timmers said. “Once you deal with the ability to bring in so many more data sources and so much more data as a whole … you really have to understand what it is, where it comes from and what level of access controls each variable needs for each person.” Technologists from American Airlines, AMEX Share Hadoop Lessons.  Leveraging Professor Hlavac expertise is one avenue to understand Big Data from a social perspective.

For those diving into big data form other perspectives this article provides headlights in the experiences of multiple companies who have already jumped into the big data pool and who are willing to share a few lessons learned.  Having had many discussion on why the enterprise version of Hadoop in Bluemix is a good tool to leverage for individuals and enterprises this article gives a good view of how companies have approached using ongoing communities to help bridge gaps (here I hope you think of our above mentioned meetups!).   Also the new technology Apache Spark is referenced and as you continue reading the below topics, take notice of one of the new updates to Bluemix:  Apache Spark!


With new functionality continually being added to Bluemix here are a few services to showcase this month and remember once you click on the icon of :the service look for the VIEW DOCS Field on the right hand side of the page to view demonstration/walkthrus, to access the code and tutorials to use the service.  Here are some of the most recent updates to consider investigating:

*  New MongoDB, Redis, Elasticsearch, and PostgreSQL services available

*  Sign up for the Apache Spark™ open data service

*  IBM Containers are now production ready

*  New Watson Services have been added:   Retrieve and Rank, Dialogue and Visual Recognition (BETA).

Today the weather has taken a sharp turn into fall in Chicago!  I enjoyed meeting and being introduced so many new developers, university contacts and startups at all the events. As those discussions expand and we have events, head into the above meetups, the Midwest Fall Technology Conference and partnerships confirmed for 2016 with companies including the Chicago Urban League, this continues to be an exciting time for sharing and collaborating, “to boldly go where no-one has gone before.”  In the words of Captain Picard, “ENGAGE!”

(If you need to reach me to ENGAGE all my contact information is below and I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at the above events.  Need an idea for the first step(see my twitter post with the update from my Fitbit):  join the meetup, follow me on twitter, create your first app in the Bluemix Cloud, take the “What is Social course”,  join the Master the Mainframe Contest or   ____________________!)



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s