Posts Tagged ‘ Business ’

Is data privacy a fundamental right?

July 4, 2015
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This piece is part of the StatBusters column written jointly with Andrew Gelman. Hope they fix the labeling soon. In it, we talk about two recent studies on data privacy, which leads to contradictory conclusions. How should the media report such surveys? Is the brand name of the organization enough? In addition, we debunk the notion that consumers will definitely get something valuable out of sharing their data.

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The Day After the Half Day in the Life of a Data Scientist

June 16, 2015
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In the last installment, I embarked on a project--perhaps only a task--to assemble a membership list for an organization. It sounded simple: how hard could it be to merge two lists of people? Of course, I couldn’t just stitch one list on top of the other as there are members who subscribed to the newsletter as well as joined the Facebook group. These duplicate rows must be merged so that…

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A Half-day in the Life of a Data Scientist

June 11, 2015
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An organization wanted to understand its base of members so the first order of business was constructing a database of all people who can be considered members. We decided to define membership broadly. Members included those who join the Facebook group, and those who subscribed to the newsletter. The organization kept two separate lists which I would merge to create a master list. For simplicity, I’ll call them the FB…

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What I said about data science at Princeton Reunions

June 3, 2015
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What I said about data science at Princeton Reunions

Here was how I spent last weekend: At college reunions in beautiful Princeton on a glorious sunny day. I also spoke about data science at a Faculty-Alumni panel titled "Science Under Attack!". Here is what I said: In the past five to 10 years, there has been an explosion of interest in using data in business decision-making. What happens when business executives learn that the data do not support their…

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Shaking up expectations for pension benefits

May 20, 2015
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Shaking up expectations for pension benefits

Ted Ballachine wrote me about his website Pension360 pointing me to a recent attempt at visualizing pension benefits in various retirement systems in the state of Illinois. The link to the blog post is here. One of the things they...

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Deflategate 3: nature of evidence

May 7, 2015
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Deflategate 3: nature of evidence

Last time we heard about Deflategate on this blog, Warren Sharp compiled some statistics on fumble rates, showing that the Patriots were unusually good at avoiding fumbles. (link, link) I thought the level of analysis was "above average" and remarked that statistical evidence of this type can only get you so far. The metric is indirect, and it does not speak to causation. The official investigators have now issued their…

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Story time, known unknowns and the endowment effect in an HBR article on customer data

May 6, 2015
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Story time, known unknowns and the endowment effect in an HBR article on customer data

Harvard Business Review devotes a long article to customer data privacy in the May issue (link). The article raises important issues, such as the low degree of knowledge about what data are being collected and traded, the value people place on their data privacy, and so on. In a separate post, I will discuss why I don't think the recommendations issued by the authors will resolve the issues they raised.…

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Painting the full picture of the employment situation

May 5, 2015
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Painting the full picture of the employment situation

It's very frustrating to read the mainstream articles about the recent unemployment report. For example, the New York Times said "U.S. Jobless Claims Hit 15-year Low." (link) At this point, everyone should be aware of how employment statistics, in particular,...

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Reading between the gridlines

April 28, 2015
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Reading between the gridlines

Reader Jamie H. pointed me to the following chart in the Guardian (link), which originated from Spotify. This chart is likely inspired by the Arctic ice cover chart discussed here last year (link): Spotify calls its chart "the Coolness Spiral...

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More on the AA paper

April 21, 2015
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More on the AA paper

This is a supplement to the previous post about a new research paper on the effect of Alcoholics Anonymous, and an NY Times exposition that I commented on. A misreading of that article led me to complain about per-protocol analysis, which wasn't the methodology behind the Humphrey et. al. research. I will explain their methodology in this post (known as instrumental variables analysis). *** In the last post, I showed…

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