Posts Tagged ‘ Behavior ’

The Whole Foods pricing trick

October 23, 2017
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Kaiser Fung, founder of Principal Analytics Prep, discusses some market research about pricing changes at Whole Foods after the Amazon acquisition.

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If you are using Facebook Ads split testing (A/B testing), stop fooling yourself

July 26, 2017
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Kaiser Fung, founder of Principal Analytics Prep, and former director of Applied Analytics at Columbia University, explains why you can't run proper A/B tests on Facebook

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Data bite back: a Harvard lesson

June 7, 2017
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New York Times reports that Harvard rescinded admission offers to 10 students (link). These kids allegedly engaged in horrible behavior on "private" chatrooms online. Not reported is how Harvard admission officers got a hold of such information. Is it possible there are jealous classmates? I am not condoning the bad behavior - I put this link up to remind people: (a) no data are private, not even "deleted" data (b)…

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Why Tesla owners pay more for insurance

June 6, 2017
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A nice article in Zerohedge about the recent rate hike for Tesla owners (link). Of course, Tesla is crying foul. The gist of the story is that Tesla owners tend to get into more crashes and the repair cost is higher than for other brands. The former is a matter of statistics - but also self-selection: in my limited encounters, the first things Tesla owners tell me about their cars…

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Artificial human intelligence

May 25, 2017
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When we use the words artificial intelligence, we typically mean artificial machine intelligence, training machines to act like human beings. What is actually happening is the opposite - we are developing artificial human intelligence, as in, humans are being trained to think like machines. Example 1: I recently called a cab company and told them I was at Union Square. The despatcher was taking a long time to respond, and…

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Book review: Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

May 15, 2017
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Book review: Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Kaiser Fung, founder of Principal Analytics Prep, discusses Seth Stephens-Davidowitz's new book, Everybody Lies

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The Times agrees on privacy and kind of on fake news business

May 11, 2017
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The New York Times Magazine has been publishing some pieces that directly relate to a couple of my blog posts. In this article, Amanda Hess noticed that "privacy became a commodity for the rich and powerful." This echoes my blog post on "Data is the next frontier of equal rights." Hess discussed the asymmetry and hypocrisy of the situation whereby the same businesses and business executives that are wantonly stripping…

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Ramp metering magic

May 1, 2017
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Here is a recent article giving some history on the invention of ramp meters, used on highways to mitigate congestion. I discuss this subject in Numbers Rule Your World (link). There is an interesting stochastic phenomenon underlying highway congestion. Ramp meters help by regulating the inflow of vehicles onto the highway, and prolonging the period of time by which the highway runs at full capacity. The key insight is that…

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Dispute over analysis of school quality and home prices shows social science is hard

April 24, 2017
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Dispute over analysis of school quality and home prices shows social science is hard

Most of my friends with families fret over school quality when deciding where to buy their homes. It's well known that good school districts are also associated with expensive houses. A feedback cycle is at work here: home prices surge where there are good schools; only richer people can afford to buy such homes; wealth brings other advantages, and so the schools tend to have better students, which leads to…

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My pre-existing United boycott, and some musing on randomness and fairness

April 12, 2017
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You probably already saw the video - if not, do yourself a favor, and search for "man forcibly removed from overbooked United flight." Other than the video evidence, which is damning, we don't have many facts, other than assertions made by various parties, repeated endlessly on social media and mainline media. Some facts, such as the United CEO claiming the passenger was "belligerent," is an assault on the meaning of…

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