Friday 20 March 2015

Podcast Interview with Ron van Weverwijk, GoDataDriven

I couldn't be happier about publishing this next episode in the podcast series: my "partner in crime", both in many different customer projects, driving the Dutch GraphDB meetup, reviewing my little book, and just being awesome at GoDataDriven, Ron van Weverwijk has also been such a nice and interesting guy to come across. You should meet him. Starting with this interview:

Here's the transcript of our conversation:
RVB: Hello, everyone. My name is Rik and I'm here again trying to record a new session for our graph database podcast. It's a great pleasure to have another guest here on a Skype call this time - I'm hoping this works out well - and that is Ron van Weverwijk from GoDataDriven in the Netherlands. Ron, I'm in Antwerp, you're over there in the Netherlands, but I'm hoping that this works out well. 
RVW: We'll see. 
RVB: We'll see, exactly. Would you mind introducing yourself, Ron, and tell us a little bit about yourself? 
RVW: Yeah, I'm Ron van Weverwijk. I'm working at GoDataDriven, a company who is focusing on big data and data science in the Netherlands. Next to that I'm very interested in Neo4j. I work with Neo4j for a couple of years now - I believe it's four or five years now - and enjoying it big time. I'm giving the trainings in the Netherlands for the Neo courses in the Netherlands, and enjoying it a lot. 
RVB: That's great. Thank you, Ron. We've been working a lot together also on the meetups and on the trainings in the Netherlands, and it's been a great experience. But I think this podcast format, what we've been doing so far is asking people really two questions only. First question is why do you love Neo? Why do you love graph databases, and what do you think is so fantastic about it? What's your perspective, Ron? 
RVW: Maybe to answer that question, I want to get back in history a bit. My first interaction with Neo4j, we had a problem, which was actually kind of a social networking problem. We've done a lot of work on an old platform as a relational database to discover other relationships which are on the data we had in that - a lot of joins, a lot of recursion in there, a lot of detection of looping and those kind of things. We were producing a lot of code and a lot of hard code to manage, hard code to write. And then when we first discovered Neo4j, we saw that all the pain was getting away and all the joins we needed to do on the relational database system, they were gone. It was actually quite easy to do those kind of things in Neo4j. 
RVW: I think nowadays a lot of people start looking and interacting with the data and looking for the connections, the data parts in your databases is using, and it is quite interesting that when we start working with tools like LinkedIn and Facebook, and we're constantly focusing on, "Who am I connected with? What are those people doing? In which companies do they work?" On our social life, we do a lot of things about the connections we have around us, and you see that, more and more, people want to do the same kind of things in their businesses as well - want to look at the connection between the data - and those kind of things are quite a pain to do on a relational database and actually very easy to do with Neo4j. The modeling in Neo4j is so easy and so easy to build the database straight on top of the business vision you have that it makes it quite fun to work with because the match is so good. 
RVB: What I'm hearing is it's all about the easiness with which the model is reducing complexity, right? Is that a good summary? 
RVW: Yeah, yeah, exactly. That's a good summary, and somehow I do a lot of proof of concepts with Neo4j at customers, and I really love that when interacting with the business for the first time, start working at a whiteboard drawing and making a first doodle about the business model they have on a white board. The first time you need to visualize it. Yeah, they immediately see the connection and they immediately see how things are being modeled in the database, and it's fun that the first time you need to take a pencil and draw some lines and draw some circles to represent the notes and relationships. After working with people for a while, you start seeing that when they want to explain the same things or the new business cases, they immediately draw the same kind of graphs and the same kind of images, so it’s very addictive. People start taking the habits of thinking in graphs. 
RVB: I see that all the time as well. When I go and visit clients or community users, oftentimes there will be a whiteboard in the meeting room and you will see there's graph already up there but they didn't know it was a graph, you know what I mean? Cool, well, keeping it short a little bit, Ron, I think that’s a great summary and great answer to the question. So that leaves me only one question left that I want to ask you, and that's basically where do you think this is going? Where do you think? Where do you hope? Where do you want it to be in a couple of years from now? What's your perspective? 
RVW: I hope that it will be in the default toolbelt of developers. Now we see that when a developer needs to have a database to store the basic data model, they start working with a relational database because they know it. Hopefully, in the coming couple of years, graph databases will be more known and people will start recognizing, "Oh, maybe the graph database is a good primary database for my primary storage," and from thereon when people start developing and start working with graph databases, I hope that we can do a bit more of data analytics on those databases because I see that when you start looking at the connection in your database, you're really starting to see the different perspective of your data you already have. You can do very good data quality analysis on your data, impact analysis on your data, and all those kind of things are quite easy to do with the graph database and graph model. I really hope that in the past couple of years we can really do great data analysis on the Neo4j platform, as well. 
RVB: That's how we all become GoDataDriven, right? That's how we all should work. 
RVW: Yes, indeed. We all want to be GoDataDriven. 
RVB: Absolutely. Cool, Ron. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me about all that stuff. It's been great having you in the community and on the courses, so thank you for that as well. I look forward to working with you in the future as well. 
RVW: Yes. Thank you. My pleasure. 
RVB: Cheers, bye. 

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