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September 13, 2012
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My Summer Internship at Hortonworks

Hortonworks Summer Internship 2012

As a first time intern, I can undoubtedly say that Hortonworks was the perfect place for me to gain real world work experience and have the chance to team up with many incredibly talented, driven people. Of course, I didn’t get to fully interact with everyone in the company in the three months that I was here but even after such a short time it is clear to me that it is the welcoming atmosphere and the determined team here that have allowed Hortonworks to achieve so many goals in just over a year.

During this summer, I was awarded the opportunity to be part of something big, something that is gaining impressive momentum in the world of technology and will not be slowing down any time soon. I have received insightful information from people who are overflowing with innovative ideas for how to utilize the big data of today’s world and this has provided me with knowledge that I did not expect to gain from a big data company.

Throughout the course of my internship, I was able to learn about and work in various areas of marketing, with my main focus being on creating blog content. John Kreisa, the VP of marketing, was very helpful in explaining how important this was for bringing attention to Hortonworks and the best ways to do this in the social media sphere. Writing blogs, alone, was a very educational experience because I was able to explore and research real world use cases in which big data was present.

What I found most intriguing was that big data is everywhere now (and if it’s not somewhere, then it will be in a few years). Cancer research becomes efficient and provides more and more substantial results. Retail shoppers receive a personal shopping experience catered to them, and only to them. A hospital patient is provided the most up-to-date medical care and information possible. Police departments learn to harness extensive amounts of information and crime is decreased significantly. The list goes on. It isn’t at all just about big tech companies coming out with the next cool gadget (although this is important too).

So much positive change can happen with the emergence of big data. Three months ago I would have considered this a bit of a far-fetched or even cheesy statement… But now that I know about so many companies and organizations that really are learning how to harness big data in order to benefit the health and safety of people and the environment, I am truly excited for the developments that will arise in the near future, especially with the help of Apache Hadoop. Global change really is attainable.

Of course the most impressive aspect of my internship that really showed me the magnitude of how big big data really is, was Hadoop Summit 2012. I cannot stress enough how lucky I am to have been part of this event. Over 2,200 people gathered on June 13th and 14th to discuss the most recent and innovative developments in big data that were being made possible by Hadoop. I was impressed by how many people were there to educate themselves on the workings of Hadoop and its power in today’s business world. Lecture rooms were overflowing, people were exchanging ideas, connections were being made… The world was climbing the Summit of innovative progress.

Along with this, I was able to see the amount of work that went into planning such an impressive event. Sponsors, press releases, the venue itself, registration, catering, displays, the awesome party at the Tech Museum and so many other equally important things had to be taken care of. Denise Maudru, the marketing director in charge of the event, gave me some small tasks to do before the Summit like preparing dinner name cards and totaling up registrants and payments but these were miniscule parts of a much bigger project and I was really impressed by how Denise and the rest of the Summit planning group organized everything so perfectly and thoughtfully.

After the Summit, I got to work with Masha Finkelstein, the interactive marketing manager, on analytical and inbound marketing. She gave me a sense of how marketing flows work and I helped her create some e-mail templates and landing pages in Marketo. I learned that inbound marketing is actually a pretty sensitive aspect of marketing and has to be both perfect and efficient.

Thousands of leads have to receive the correct e-mail with the correct links and if they click on one of those links they have to get the correct landing page and this landing page has to take them to the next correct landing page and, in my eyes, it is all really a plethora of errors waiting to happen… However, Masha showed me how to keep the errors at bay and how to simultaneously filter out unnecessary leads to move along the marketing process more quickly. After this, Steven further explained how strict sales has to be with incoming leads in order to not waste time with people that may not become Hortonworks customers in the future.

Additionally, I helped the HR team to come up with some revamping ideas for the careers page with the goal of bringing a more pronounced sense of community and culture to our website. We stemmed off the Hortonworks Dr. Seuss theme and jointly came up with some great, creative concepts which could engage potential applicants and employees and show them the fun side of Hortonworks. This project is still in the works but hopefully these ideas will come to life on the careers page very soon.

After three months, I am still far from being familiar with all of the workings of the company. Although I was a marketing intern, I still believe it is necessary to be aware of all of the bolts and screws that make up the bigger picture. Even still, I have learned more and have gotten more real world experience in these past three months than I have in any of my other summers combined. Sometimes it is difficult to notice change within one’s self over a long period of time. Yet, I realize that I have become more outgoing, less afraid, more driven by my future, and generally more aware of the world around me ever since I nervously walked through the Hortonworks doors to a smiling and welcoming Rachele on my first day as a marketing intern.

It has been a liberating, educational, and inspiring experience and I owe it to the people that have been part of it and have made it so wonderful for me.

Thanks Hortonworks!


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