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The Next Big Thing: Data with Nora Young

In the last year, the term Big Data has started to buzz. The amount of data in our world is growing at an exponential amount, and both the private and public sectors are looking for ways to mine into decades worth of data for good reason.

Analyzing large data sets will become a key basis of competition in the near future; it has the potential to identify business trends, profile consumers and voters, prevent diseases, combat crime, determine real-time roadway traffic conditions and much, much more.

The question is, should we simply leave big data, with its personal and political insights, in the hands of corporations and government to sort out?

Nora Young, acclaimed journalist, author, speaker and the host and creator of CBC Radio’s Spark, will be joining us to share why we shouldn’t.

Nora will discuss the debates and challenges around virtual data-sharing and its potential for building more responsive communities and governments. She’ll also explore issues and legalities around privacy and data control, and how we should harness the power of big data.

Nora Young











Nora Young is the host and the creator of Spark, CBC Radio’s national radio show and podcast about technology and culture. She was the founding host of the CBC Radio show Definitely not the Opera, where she often focused on new media and technology. Her work has also appeared online, on television, and in print.

As a journalist, author, and speaker, Nora explores how new technology shapes the way we understand ourselves and the world around us. Her book, The Virtual Self, on the explosion of data about our behaviours, opinions and actions, was published by McClelland and Stewart in 2012.

Nora blogs at, and does the indie podcast The Sniffer with her friend and colleague, Cathi Bond. Find her on Twitter, @nora3000.


Special thanks to our partners who help make the evening great:


Our partners

Digiflare is a digital agency at the forefront of creating engaging connected user experiences. We harness the potential of Web, Mobile, Tablet, Connected TV, Game Consoles, and emerging devices to deliver cutting-edge solutions to our clients. Working with top tier Media and Entertainment brands, we provide strategy, design, development, and systems integration, helping them achieve their vision and extend their reach to their customers. Follow them on Twitter and visit


OANDA is an innovator and world leader in online foreign exchange trading and currency services. We have created a powerful trading engine that allows clients around the world to trade quickly and with confidence. We’re proud to have recently been named one of The 10 Non-California Tech Companies You Wished You Worked For by Wired magazine, and we’re growing, so please check out our Recruiting Page to see how you can make a difference!

To learn more about OANDA, our website and Forex LabNotes blog are great places to get started. Follow them on Twitter.


Our contributors

FITC produces design and technology focused conferences and seminars worldwide which inspire, educate and challenge attendees.

Their next event Spotlight: Hardware, a close look at new technologies and how they are affecting our world, is coming up on June 8. Get 10% off a ticket to Spotlight: Hardware with code 'GirlGeeksTO'. They are also producing NXNEi, a three day festival looking at the interaction of media, technology and culture, on June 12-14. Follow FITC on Twitter.


Chow Productions is a Toronto based company led by a young talented team. Our trio adds a modern, creative twist to capture memorable moments at your corporate or family events. We specialize in photo and video event coverage including creative digital experiences, commercials, and branded media. While bringing you the best event coverage, we continue to expand our talents, making short films and other projects!

Connect with them on Twitter.


SYPA (Stuff You'll Probably Ask)

You: What time do the presentations start?

Us: Doors open at 6:30pm and we begin the talks at 7:00pm. Before and after the talks, there are opportunities for conversations, and the enjoyment of drinks and hors d'oeuvres.

You: Hors d'oeuvres, you say? Is there dinner?

Us: We always organize some food and beverages for everyone, be it sandwiches or the like.

Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    Terrific speaker and good food. Thanks for a great evening.

    1 · June 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Will there be any recording or presentation deck from this? There's a chance I can't make it now and it says no refunds which hurts a lot less if I can still read/watch something after.

    2 · June 10, 2013

    • Tutu Joy I.

      Hi Kyle, sorry for the delayed reply. We have a blogger at each of our events who writes a recap. Please watch our website ( for the blog post for this event!

      June 12, 2013

  • Anna R.

    I love Nora Young and in turn Spark + GGTO, so maybe my expectations were way too high. The evening was great (absolutely no complaints), but it didn't expose me to anything new I didn't already know about big data (from listening to Spark or reading articles here and there).

    June 11, 2013

  • Angela M.

    Fantastic event. I haven't heard such a high quality speaker with well articulated arguments and questions in ages. Inspiring thinking! And I really appreciated the tasty appetizers and the red wine :)

    3 · June 11, 2013

  • Marnie L.

    Excellent speaker. If you missed the evening, listen to her show Spark on CBC radio. Looking forward to reading her book! Thanks to our fabulous organizers!!

    3 · June 10, 2013

  • supermita

    Glad I could make the event. Excellent speaker.

    1 · June 10, 2013

  • Lynn T.

    Excellent, informative, stimulating and downright scary!

    1 · June 10, 2013

  • Joy

    Great session. Informative. Like the discussion on digital activism and digital literacy and the question of 'whose data is it anyway?' when it comes to the countless personal data we leave and share.

    3 · June 10, 2013

  • Anthony N. I.

    Stuck at work too and can't make it. My ticket is up for grabs...

    June 10, 2013

  • Ahmad N.

    stuck at work and won't make it, anybody wants to use my ticket?

    June 10, 2013

  • supermita

    wish I saw this earlier

    June 10, 2013

  • Alex

    Would someone mind recording this? I have fallen I'll and can no longer attend. I am incredibly interested in this topic (and so is my 10 dollars)!

    1 · June 10, 2013

  • Jessica M.

    Boo! Really wanted to go tonight but I've been sick for days. Sadly, relinquishing my spot.

    June 10, 2013

  • Mary-Margaret J.

    My space is now open. I have to attend an online training from 8-9.

    June 9, 2013

  • Caroline M.

    Two lucky winners will be heading to NXNEi June 12 - 14 after they win a free ticket courtesy of FITC at Monday's event!

    6 · June 7, 2013

  • Murray M.

    I am not a girl geek, but I do appreciate Nora's show...

    2 · June 4, 2013

  • Annie B.

    Would love to this sounds like it will be a great meetup. But won't be in T.O. for the eve of the event. Go Girl Geeks

    June 2, 2013

  • Caroline M.

    Our venue is confirmed! CSI Annex, 720 Bathurst Street south of Bloor. We'll be in the ING Direct Presentation Room (ground floor). See you on June 10th!

    2 · May 27, 2013

  • Lindsay M.

    Hey all, did you know Girl Geeks Toronto is on Facebook? You can find us at :)

    3 · May 27, 2013

  • Murray M.

    I listen to Nora frequently and look forward to the does conflict with something else, but I will try to make it... 630 pm slot is good...

    May 21, 2013

    • Caroline M.

      Our event starts at 6:30, and Nora will begin at 7:00. There is always time beforehand for a bite to eat and chit chat. Hope that timing will still work for you!

      May 26, 2013

Your organizer's refund policy for The Next Big Thing: Data with Nora Young

Refunds are not offered for this Meetup.

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