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In the tech space, when we see a pattern that works, we run with it. This is why you hear, “It is the Uber for X”, or “It is the Github for X”, and I recently talked about how I’m starting to see more of, “It is the If This Then That (IFTT) for X”. The IFTTT model, or what I call “reciprocity”, is an evolution on the classic enterprise ETL model, resulting in over 25 companies that I’m tracking on in the space.

Reciprocity works, because it is about solving a simple problem for everyday users, using APIs to take a single action—if this happens over there, use APIs, to do that over there. There are many other words used to describe this evolution of ETL in the clouds, including interoperability, and automation, I use reciprocity because it better describes what is happening as part of the growing global API economy.

I recently went through all 65+ of my research projects, one of them being reciprocity, and as I was working on new research areas around open data, analysis, and visualization, I started thinking about how the IFTTT (reciprocity) model could be applied to analysis and visualization—resulting in a draft model I would call If This Then Visualize That (IFTVT).

The IFTVT model provides the similar feedback loop as IFTTT, but instead of a resulting action, the end goal is a visualization. If “end of month”, show me overview of Foursquare checkins. If “Tweet receives 10 favorites”, show me a list of Twitter users. If “bank account goes below $50”, show me last 25 charges. How you get your IFTVT visualizations would be up to you, maybe it is email, maybe SMS, maybe some sort of iGoogle like dashboard unit.

As with the IFTTT model, IFTVT gives us actionable, meaningful results from our increasingly disparate digital worlds. Using reciprocity, we are slowly being able to get a handle on the cloud versions of ourselves, and I think the next step could be analysis and resulting visualizations, in bit-size, meaningful, informative chunks via the channels that matter most to us.

Ok, get to work geeks! I’ll tell the story, if you build it. ;-)

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