Apologies for the gap in publishing in this space, I’ve been away on business for quite a few days. The Dow plunged 777 today. Not good. Creative Destruction is the process by which companies and industries collapse and fail in the face of new technologies. The phonographic industry was destroyed by the cassette. The cassette industry was destroyed by the CD. The CD is currently being destroyed by the MP3. During periods of recession and extreme distress – you should get an accelerated rate of creative destruction. Industries that were once tottering get pushed right over that edge. They would have gone out anyway. They were just pushed a little bit too soon. The current recession is a manufactured one.[…]

How many times have you heard this? “We did a focus group with 12 people, and they said they liked this product, so, even though it’s not statistically significant, it’s still directional” or “How many more people would we need to get into a focus group before we’d get something statistically significant?” Where does one even begin? There’s a huge difference between qualitative research and quantitative research. Qualitative research focuses on very small groups of people, and the interviewer goes very, very deep into what they’re thinking, attitudes, preferences, what if scenarios, and why. It’s about deriving a very deep level of insight. Recall during the 1993 election, Alan Greg showed a focus group a commercial that he felt accurately[…]

Dave Hamel wrote a pretty thoughtful reply, entitled, aptly: The ship has already sunk, learn to swim “While the BI/WA barrier may be getting thinner I think it comes down to due diligence and an expectation of privacy. You may think “I only posted it on my Facebook”. Ya okay, but your friend liked that photo of you passed out with marker on your face so much they re-posted it. Now it is in the open. If you post things on the internet, you have no expectation of privacy. Chris is talking more about personal data collected by WA’s and used by Business Intelligence. But I think this falls into the same category. If you don’t want Amazon to know[…]

Jim Novo, Shaina Boone, and I – engaged on a rather interesting email thread today. It centers on a certain company claiming that it has set up the first online advertising ‘hedge fund’. I don’t want to give that company any publicity, because, in part, I have reason to suspect the veracity of their statement. Middlemen are common. They buy inventory from a number of smaller website, bundle it together, mark it up, and sell it off to partners – be it clients or agencies – at a premium. Google is a really huge middleman. Google uses complex algorithms to match buyers with sellers, perhaps, in a manner that is efficient than a human dealer would be able to do[…]

Similar origin skillsets can be derived from strange sources. Take night auditors and web analysts, for instance. Let’s start with definitions. A night auditor is somebody who works in a hotel, on the night shift, usually from 11pm until 7am, balancing the days receipts. Early in my working life, before university, I was a senior night auditor at a very large hotel. It had a night club, a gaming lounge, two restaurants, a pub, and two front desks. It also featured an overburdened accounting staff which was responsible for 4 other hotels, and as a result, much of the accounting functions were downsourced to the night audit team. Not complaining, just saying. I wasn’t a statistician then, and it wasn’t[…]

Word on the street is that Unisys is starting to bust down the Business Intelligence / Web Analytics barrier (BI/WA barrier) As Shaina Boone has said before, web analytics software was always just a stopgap between the eventual evolutions of BI integrating with the web channel. It all made sense to her while she was taking her course on BI and data warehousing…and that makes sense to me too. While in Vancouver, I warned, twice, that our entire industry would be just one disaster away from feeling very severe consequences. I’ve noted on this blog that we’re in need of some very conscious legislation that really cracks down on the abusers of data – for all of our sakes. Why[…]