Posts Tagged ‘ Business ’

The reality is most A/B tests fail, and Facebook is here to help

April 16, 2014
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Two years ago, Wired breathlessly extolled the virtues of A/B testing (link). A lot of Web companies are in the forefront of running hundreds or thousands of tests daily. The reality is that most A/B tests fail. A/B tests fail for many reasons. Typically, business leaders consider a test to have failed when the analysis fails to support their hypothesis. "We ran all these tests varying the color of the…

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Talking shop about probability

April 11, 2014
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It strikes me that the media loves to talk about probability, a subject about which journalists are ill-trained to write. The latest example of this is Forbes' attempt to draw a lesson out of the Warren Buffett's gimmicky $1 billion NCAA pool. As we all learned, by the time the 25th match drew to a close, all 8.7 million entrants have gotten at least one winner wrong, thus there would…

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Law of small numbers, in action

April 10, 2014
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Law of small numbers, in action

Loyal reader John M. expressed dismay over Twitter about 538's excessive use of bubble charts. Here's the picture that pushed John over the edge: The associated article is here. The question on the table is motivated by the extraordinary performance...

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Big delusion

April 4, 2014
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This article printed by VentureBeat is too much. The title claims "The Internet is killing off marketing surveys & it's for the best". This article is tagged as "Big Data". Big delusion is what it is. This is a great example of the kind of revisionist history that is practised in the name of Big Data. You'd also notice that there is no data or evidence presented to support any…

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Dissecting charts from a Big Data study

March 28, 2014
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Dissecting charts from a Big Data study

Today's post examines an example of Big Data analyses, submitted by a reader, Daniel T. The link to the analysis is here. (On the sister blog, I discussed the nature of this type of analysis. This post concerns the graphical...

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Dealing with adapted data

March 27, 2014
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Reader Daniel T. is unhappy about this analysis of the intraday Internet usage by OS and device types. He doesn't like their choice of index, which I'll get to in a second post. (Link appears here when ready.) There is something else wrong with this type of analysis. Let's do a thought experiment. If you are a marketer interested in the diurnal variability in Internet usage, what are some of…

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HBR, Webinar, Nate Silver, Krugman, writing about data

March 25, 2014
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HBR, Webinar, Nate Silver, Krugman, writing about data

A revised version of my previous post is picked up by Harvard Business Review (link). This post introduces the OCCAM framework for Big Data that I have been speaking about at my book talks (upcoming events are listed on the right column of the blog). The OCCAM framework identifies five elements of today's data sets that present challenges compared to traditional data sets. These challenges are not new but they…

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What is numbersense?

March 19, 2014
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What is numbersense?

It's Spring Break at NYU, which for professors, is not a break. I have been marking midterms for my business analytics class. Since I like to set open-ended questions (are there anything else in statistics?), I get a variety of answers. One of the questions helps clarify what I mean by numbersense. The question asks students to comment on the distribution of a variable (median income) in a dataset of…

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What is numbersense?

March 19, 2014
By
What is numbersense?

It's Spring Break at NYU, which for professors, is not a break. I have been marking midterms for my business analytics class. Since I like to set open-ended questions (are there anything else in statistics?), I get a variety of answers. One of the questions helps clarify what I mean by numbersense. The question asks students to comment on the distribution of a variable (median income) in a dataset of…

Read more »

Toward a more useful definition of Big Data

March 17, 2014
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Toward a more useful definition of Big Data

The article (link) in Science about the failure of Google Flu Trends is important for many reasons. One is the inexplicable silence in the Big Data community about this little big problem: it's not as if this is breaking news -- it was known as early as 2009 that Flu Trends completely missed the swine flu pandemic (link), underestimating it by 50%, and then in 2013, Nature reported that Flu…

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