Managing Big Data with Chris Guiney

Data is our favorite four letter word in this office. We live and die by the data we collect. Analyzing the information we retrieve on a daily basis is key to our growth and development. It helps us tailor our products to best serve our customers, find out where there may be an issue on site, and track our successes. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again— data is king, so when it comes to collecting it, we make sure we get everything. Go big or go home, right? That’s our philosophy, and Chris Guiney is just the man to help us go even bigger.

Having been here for a year and a half (which makes him a bit of an office dinosaur) Chris has seen the rapid expansion we’ve had, and he has had to adapt quickly to accommodate our growing team and data needs. Chris wears a few different hats here at The Control Group, but he primarily manages all of our data and helps keep our servers and infrastructure maintained. When we talk about managing our data, it’s important to understand that we’re not just talking about a couple hundred files that can be organized in an Excel spreadsheet—we’re talking about billions of pieces that need to be automated. Fortunately we have Chris to work out the details on that. Just how does he do it?

“I think the key thing is the use the right tool for the job,” says Guiney. “It’s important to know your toolbox like the back of your own hand and how it’ll react to what you’re trying to do and what repercussions it might have on other data.”

Managing data on such a large scale requires a certain level of automation. As Chris says, “You can’t exactly count this stuff by hand.” This is the major differentiator between managing data at a large tech company with multiple sites versus a small startup. “My job is to make data available to other team members on their own. If I had to pull a report every time someone wanted to make a decision about a project, I’d never have enough time to complete my own projects.”

Staying true to The Control Group style, Chris has a new project up his sleeve. While he couldn’t reveal too much, what he was able to share was a good teaser.

“Let’s just say that pretty soon, the amount of data we’ll be collecting for our split testing is going to explode... in a good way!”

That’s just what we wanted to hear.


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