Today I took part in an IBM Smarter Cities event. There were some great speakers, including economist Diane Swonk.She spoke for an hour w/o notes about the macro and micro-economy, especially in the Chicago area. She is an amazing person. Here is her 9/11 story: http://www.nabe.com/am2001/swonkstory.htm. Her talk focused on big data sets, but each of them was illustrated by a well-placed anecdotes about housing (three houses for sale on her block), finance (50 Bear Sterns traders hired by Mesirow from NYC to work in Chicago), and so on.