Monthly Archives: February 2013

Why spend $1,500 for these glasses?

Description: Google unveils new glasses that can help you text and record video hands-free.

Source: CNN.com.com

Date: Feb 21, 2013

 Questions for discussion:

1. Do you feel this product will be a success in the marketplace?

2.  Will Google be rewarded for being a first mover in this hardware category the Apple was rewarded for being a first mover in the tablet marketspace?  Why or Why not?

3.  Would you buy a pair of these Google Glasses?  Why or why not?

Google unveils new glasses that can help you text and record video hands-free. Zain Asher reports

Disruptions: Data Without Context Tells a Misleading Story

Description: Several years ago, Google, aware of how many of us were sneezing and coughing, created a fancy equation on its Web site to figure out just how many people had influenza. The math works like this: people’s location + flu-related search queries on Google + some really smart algorithms = the number of people with the flu in the United States.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Feb 24, 2013

25bits-disrupt-tmagArticle

In today’s digitally connected world, data is everywhere: in our phones, search queries, friendships, dating profiles, cars, food, reading habits. Almost everything we touch is part of a larger data set. But the people and companies that interpret the data may fail to apply background and outside conditions to the numbers they capture.  “Data inherently has all of the foibles of being human,” said Mark Hansen, director of the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Columbia University. “Data is not a magic force in society; it’s an extension of us.”  Read Rest of Story 

 

 Questions for discussion:

1. How can Data without context be misleading?

2.  Will Big Data eliminate error, uncertainty, and risk?

There Is an Algorithm for Everything, Even Bras

Description: THE two and a half miserable hours that Michelle Lam spent in a fitting room, trying on bras, one fine summer day in 2011 would turn out to be, in her words, a “life-changing experience.” After trying on 20 bras to find one that fit, and not particularly well at that, she left the store feeling naked and intruded upon

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Feb 23, 2013

images-1

Professional bra fitters have also moved online. Linda Becker, whose family owns two bra stores in New York, says she sells twice as many bras online today at LindaTheBraLady.com as she does in her stores. Some of her online customers have previously visited one of her shops and been fitted in person. But new customers take their own measurements and work with customer service representatives on the phone. She says only 10 percent of online orders are returned.  But some customers turn out to be extremely hard to fit and it’s hard to tell why, Ms. Becker says. “That kind of customer will be impossible to fit online because the problem is unseen. There’s no way of figuring it out over the phone.”  Read Rest of Story 

Definition of algorithm: a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end especially by a computer.

 Questions for discussion:

1. What applications of this particular kind of algorithm do you think would be valuable in the marketplace?

2.  Will this e-commerce application replace brick and mortar stores for this application?  Why or why not?

Giving Viewers What They Want

Description: In the television business, there is no such thing as a sure thing. You can have a gold-plated director, a bankable star and a popular concept and still, it’s just a roll of the dice.  Or is it?

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Feb 24, 2013

24Carr-articleLarge

Netflix, which has 27 million subscribers in the nation and 33 million worldwide, ran the numbers. It already knew that a healthy share had streamed the work of Mr. Fincher, the director of “The Social Network,” from beginning to end. And films featuring Mr. Spacey had always done well, as had the British version of “House of Cards.” With those three circles of interest, Netflix was able to find a Venn diagram intersection that suggested that buying the series would be a very good bet on original programming.  Big bets are now being informed by Big Data, and no one knows more about audiences than Netflix. A third of the downloads on the Internet during peak periods on any given day are devoted to streamed movies from the service, according to Sandvine, a networking provider. And last year, by some estimates, more people watched movies streamed online than on physical DVDs.  Read Rest of Story 

Questions for Discussion:

1. Can Big Data be the silver bullet that can determine something as subjective as a what will bea hit TV show or Movie?  Why or Why Not?

2.  What other applications can you see Netflix using there vast amount data that could create revenue streams for the company?

Does Technology Affect Happiness?

Description: A study from Stanford University, published Wednesday, wrestles with a new question: How is technology affecting their happiness and emotional development?

Source: nytimes .com

Date: Jan 25, 2012

happiness

The research raises as many questions as it seeks to answer, as the scientists readily acknowledge. That is because the research was based on an online survey taken by more than 3,400 girls, a sample that may well not be representative of the larger population and, because the responses are self-reported, are not subject to follow-up or verification by the researchers.

Among the crucial questions that the researchers were not able to answer is whether the heavy use of media was the cause for the relative unhappiness or whether girls who are less happy to begin with are drawn to heavy use of media, in effect retreating to a virtual world.  Read Rest of Story

Questions for discussion:

  1. How is technology affecting their happiness and emotional development?
  2. Do you have confidence in this studies finding? Why or Why not?

A Match Made in the Code

Description: In the quest to find true love, is filling out a questionnaire on a Web site any more scientific than praying to St. Valentine?

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Feb 1, 2013
cyber-matching-mom.grid-4x2

Yes, according to psychologists at eHarmony, an online company that claims its computerized algorithms will help match you with a “soul mate.” But this claim was criticized in a psychology journal last year by a team of academic researchers, who concluded that “no compelling evidence supports matching sites’ claims that mathematical algorithms work.”            Read Rest of Story 

 Questions for discussion:

1. In the quest to find true love, is filling out a questionnaire on a Web site any more scientific than praying to St. Valentine? Why or why not!

2.  Would you personally use a match-making site? Why or why not?

How Companies Learn Your Secrets

Description: Andrew Pole had just started working as a statistician for Target in 2002, when two colleagues from the marketing department stopped by his desk to ask an odd question: “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that? ”

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Feb 6, 2012

target_marketing

The desire to collect information on customers is not new for Target or any other large retailer, of course. For decades, Target has collected vast amounts of data on every person who regularly walks into one of its stores. Whenever possible, Target assigns each shopper a unique code — known internally as the Guest ID number — that keeps tabs on everything they buy. “If you use a credit card or a coupon, or fill out a survey, or mail in a refund, or call the customer help line, or open an e-mail we’ve sent you or visit our Web site, we’ll record it and link it to your Guest ID,” Pole said. “We want to know everything we can.”

Also linked to your Guest ID is demographic information like your age, whether you are married and have kids, which part of town you live in, how long it takes you to drive to the store, your estimated salary, whether you’ve moved recently, what credit cards you carry in your wallet and what Web sites you visit. Target can buy data about your ethnicity, job history, the magazines you read, if you’ve ever declared bankruptcy or got divorced, the year you bought (or lost) your house, where you went to college, what kinds of topics you talk about online, whether you prefer certain brands of coffee, paper towels, cereal or applesauce, your political leanings, reading habits, charitable giving and the number of cars you own.    READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1. Reflecting on this article, does ther ever come a time when you feel there is too much data out in the public sphere about you?  Why or Why not?

2.  What are some applications of this BIG DATA technology that you would find exciting as a manager of a business?