We visited Cusco January 28 to February 2, 2019, and visited Machu Picchu on January 31. These notes are intended for Canadians thinking about visiting during low season. Getting There: The Flight Air Canada Rouge has a direct flight from Toronto to Lima. Avianca, of the Star Alliance, operates the route from Lima to Cusco. You could check out Miraflores for the food before heading to Lima. Cusco airport is hot, high, and relies on visual approach. If you’re visiting during the low season, there can be delays and cancellations if the pilot can’t see the runway because of fog. The flight to Cusco is short – at less than 80 minutes. The landing is beautiful and you’ll experience a[…]

We visited Miraflores, a neighbourhood of Lima, over the January 26 to 29 weekend. These are notes intended for a Canadian considering visiting Miraflores. Getting There: The Flight We flew Interjet from Mexico City. Their A320’s have very generous legroom. I could cross my legs and work on a laptop. It was great. Thinking back, given that Interjet competes with Air Canada Rouge on the Toronto-Mexico city route, each seat is better than Air Canada Rouge Premium, on a more reliable aircraft type. Something to consider. (Though, I would not transfer through Mexico City given that one has to go through general customs and re-enter the building, it isn’t a fantastic transfer point). Getting There: Customs We cleared in under five minutes[…]

We visited Mexico City from January 12 to January 25, 2019. These are notes intended for Canadians thinking about visiting Mexico City. Getting There: The Flight For direct flights from Toronto, you have three options: Air Canada Rouge, Interjet, and Aeromexico (code share with WestJet). I booked with Air Canada Rouge. Your experience will be, in part, a function of the aircraft you fly in. The morning flight from Toronto this quarter was in a 767, with a 2-3-2 configuration, featuring power outlets in steerage. The evening flight are in an Airbus 319 with no power in steerage. (Air Canada proves once again that the masses are powerless.) These are old A319’s and they tend to suffer from very poor[…]

Roger Martin observed in The Opposable Mind that our stances inform our tools, and our tools inform our experiences. For those who take a stance of continuous improvement and risk management, choosing simulation as a tool is a good course of action. This post unpacks that statement. Stance What are you? You decide your stance. Are you a scientist? Are you an artist? Are you a software engineer? An entrepreneur? You get to decide. Tools Your stance has a powerful impact on which tools you pick up. A scientist picks up the scientific method. An artist may pick up a paint brush. A software engineer pick up python. An entrepreneur may choose the lean canvas and the pitch deck. Experiences[…]

Most discussions of statistical bias, in the world of sampling, revolve around the actual randomness of the sampling. Is there a systematic bias in the way the sample is collected: either in terms of those who have been selected to participate, those who opt to participate, and those who chose to answer specific questions. It’s commonly argued that if the sample is biased, you have to throw away the whole data set, because the sample is not representative of the overall population. And, in general, we confine our discussions of bias to the nature of the sampling, or, how summary statistics vary against what is expected. There’s another type of bias that revolves around inferring causality. Statisticians generally don’t enjoy[…]

There appears to be a belief that facts have two sides to them. It makes the: marketing scientist in me smile public policy quant in me rage scientist in me flip the table Jimmies status: rustled. Stories may have two sides Models may have two sides Ideologies have two sides Facts do not have two sides. And yet, there’s been a few folks coming out of the woodwork lately: Jack Welch and his tussle with the BLS Unskewed Polls in the Presidential Race And many, many others.  A fact is defined as something that actually happened, exists, or is reality. We can experience facts first hand, or observe them though instrumentation. In analytics, there are multiple types of instrumentation that[…]

Has Pinterest topped out? You may be familiar with the Bass Diffusion Model. In short, there’s a predictable function that is very effective at forecasting the adoption curves of new products. The trickiest part of using the Bass Diffusion Model is estimating at what point saturation occurs. Saturation just means where the number of adopters levels out. In the image below, growth started decelerating around 4 years in and certainly flattened out at year 7. I don’t have access to Pinterests own analytics tools. So, like you, I have to rely on public, third party, estimations of what’s going on. Alexa is reporting a flattening reach curve. You can see that below. Most web traffic follows what digital analysts call ‘an[…]

We sat in a nice pub as Sandy rolled in to Toronto last night, just a few data scientists and I. “It’s very difficult to express, succinctly, how dashboards aren’t what people have been told they are.” “Well, you know what the problem with dashboards is.. that they’re not presented in 1080p High Definition. We need to get our dashboards in High Definition.” “Or retina display!” “No. In 3D!” “Pie charts will COME, RIGHT, AT, YOU!” And after laughing for about five minutes, our shoulders bowed upon realizing that somewhere out there, regardless of how ridiculous the concept is, some group of finger-clickers are discussing the same idea right now. Only that they’re serious about it. And that retina high[…]

Two pieces of information and one editorial to share coming out of NY Strata. The next release of ggplot2 will be done in D3 and called r2d3 (thanks to Hadley Wickham and team) A few data scientists argued about things that didn’t matter to anybody. Privacy Analytics won big at Strata. Check them out. The ggplot news is great. It’ll help us to produce nicer graphics faster instead of uglier graphics. Privacy Analytics is a great concept. As for the debates – some were intensely important and very relevant. Some of them were just a fight about words and unimportant. There was much more good than bad at this one. Thanks to the organizers for doing such a great job.[…]

There’s going to be a lot more rhetoric next year about decisions, big data decisions, and decision automation. I think we’re going to hear a lot, and, that’ll fall into three big categories of rhetoric. The first is to argue ‘this-changes-everything!’ Panderer’s are gonna pander. And, it’s a really great line to say that it’s paradigm shift. You know, in ten years, farmer’s aren’t going to farm anymore, they’ll have just fields and fields of big data servers and fields and fields of crops. A farmer isn’t really going to be a farmer as we think of them today, but they’ll be much more like a data manager. Every technological disruption brings in a crop of these folk, and that’s[…]