Posts Tagged ‘ Business ’

A startling chart about income inequality, with interpretative difficulties

February 24, 2015
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A startling chart about income inequality, with interpretative difficulties

Reader Robbi B. submitted the following chart posted to Twitter by Branko Milanovic: The chart took a little time to figure out. This isn't a bad chart. Robbi wondered if there are alternative ways to plot this information. The U.S....

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Anyone still remember Groupon?

February 18, 2015
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Anyone still remember Groupon?

I just did a guest lecture at a New School journalism class. While preparing for the class, I pulled the sad stock chart for GRPN (Groupon): If you bought the hype in 2011, you'd have lost 70% of your investment ($25 to $7). Given what we know today, it's hard for people to feel the hype that the media helped fuel in those days. As a reminder, here is the…

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An unsuccessful adaptation of a classic

February 18, 2015
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An unsuccessful adaptation of a classic

Found this chart in Hemispheres magazine on board a United flight: A quick self-sufficiency test reveals the biggest shortcoming of this visual presentation. What would you guess is the difference in areas between the two white-ish sectors (pointing at 9...

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Minimalism as a form of abuse

February 12, 2015
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Minimalism as a form of abuse

With each succeeding year, I get more and more frustrated with "minimalist" designs that have little respect for users. This Christmas, I received a portable cellphone charger as a gift. A thoughtful gift. I have heard of these devices but...

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Optimizely Stats Engine 2: what about advanced users?

February 9, 2015
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Optimizely Stats Engine 2: what about advanced users?

In Part 1, I covered the logic behind recent changes to the statistical analysis used in standard reports by Optimizely. In Part 2, I ponder what this change means for more sophisticated customers--those who are following the proper protocols for classical design of experiments, such as running tests of predetermined sample sizes, adjusting for multiple comparisons, and constructing and analyzing multivariate tests using regression with interactions. For this segment, the…

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Football and statistics, on HBR!

January 30, 2015
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I was asked to adapt my earlier post for the HBR audience, and the new version is now up on HBR. Here is the link. I'm happy that they picked up this post because most business problems concern reverse causation. A small subset of problems can be solved using A/B testing, but only those in which causes are known in advance and subject to manipulation. Even then, Facebook got into…

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How Optimizely will kill your winning percentage, and why that is a great thing for you (Part 1)

January 23, 2015
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In my HBR article about A/B testing (link), I described one of the key managerial problems related to A/B testing--the surplus of “positive” results that don’t quite seem to add up. In particular, I mentioned this issue: When managers are reading hour-by-hour results, they will sometimes find large gaps between Groups A and B, and demand prompt reaction. Almost all such fluctuations result from temporary imbalance between the two groups,…

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Three reasons to doubt the GDP-gas price conjecture

January 20, 2015
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Dragged by infectious incuriosity, the financial press ran with the story that falling gasoline prices (50% drop in 6 months) is "the best economic stimulus one can get". See former Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Altman on CNBC, Business Insider's "cheap gas boost", Wall Street Journal citing the "low oil prices as an effective tax cut for consumers", New York Times quoting a Citigroup analyst claiming a global > $1 trillion…

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Why you need a second pair of eyes

January 13, 2015
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Why you need a second pair of eyes

Reader Aaron K. submitted an infographic advertising the upcoming New England Auto Show to be held in Boston (link). As Aaron pointed out, there is plenty of elementary errors contained in one page. I don't think the designer did these...

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Trifacta revisited: tackling a Big Data problem

January 12, 2015
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During my vacation, I had a chance to visit Trifacta, the data-wrangling startup I blogged about last year (link). Wei Zheng, Tye Rattenbury, and Will Davis hosted me, and showed some of the new stuff they are working on. Trifacta is tackling a major Big Data problem, and I remain excited about the direction they are heading. From the beginning, I am attracted by Trifacta’s user interface. The user in…

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