Splunk Had the Best Stock Debut Since LinkedIn…What Is It, Exactly?

A tech company called Splunk, Inc. (SPLK) shot up 109% on its first day on the Nasdaq Stock Market, the Wall Street Journal reports, raising its market value to more than $3 billion dollars.

With an initial public offering of $17 per share, Splunk’s stock closed at $35.48 – an increase of 108.7% – with a total of 13.5 million shares sold at a price above the $11 to $13 range they were expecting, despite experiencing a technical glitch at one point during the day.

Short for “spelunking,” or exploring caves, Splunk handles what’s known as “Big Data” from websites, applications, servers, networks and mobile devices. Big Data is what happens when data sets grow too large and too varied in format for conventional IT to aggregate and analyze. Splunk indexes all the information your devices have gathered from your social nets, your email, your phone calls, etc. and makes it searchable so that companies can glean insight from the data they collect. As WSJ put it, it’s “a Google for machine data.” The company’s 3,700 customers include Bank of America, Comcast, and Harvard University.

Big Data was all the rage at the MIT Sloan Hi-Tech Conference in Cambridge, MA last week. “Creating value from information is the new economy,” said Jeff Nick, senior vice president and CTO of EMC Corporation, a similar information infrastructure company based in Massachusetts.

Social media companies know the value of Big Data. LinkedIn’s cache of work history, education, and other information pulled from user profiles and mobile apps like CardMunch, a business card scanner, helps employers use keywords to narrow the available workforce to just the right candidates.

Google similarly uses its social layer, Google+, to add faces and names to the data the network collects from other tools like Gmail, search, and maps.

This may be one reason why Splunk’s IPO has surpassed that of social-based companies like Zynga and Groupon and matched LinkedIn’s 109% increase at its debut in May 2011.

The news is humbling. Privacy is something I complain about a lot here at Social Times, and it never occurred to me until recently that even though our machines are definitely looking at us, they don’t necessarily know what they are looking at.

Image by lucadp via Shutterstock.