Posts Tagged ‘ Business ’

Count data are less useful than you think

October 14, 2014
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Count data are less useful than you think

A lot of Big Data analyses default to analyzing count data, e.g. number of searches of certain keywords, number of page views, number of clicks, number of complaints, etc. Doing so throws away much useful information, and frequently leads to bad analyses. *** I was reminded of the limitation of count data when writing about the following chart, which I praised on my sister blog as a good example of…

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Pondering OCCAM data in medicine

October 9, 2014
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Pondering OCCAM data in medicine

The New York Times Magazine has a pretty good piece about the use of OCCAM data to solve medical questions, like diagnosis and drug selection. I'm happy that it paints a balanced picture of both the promise and the pitfalls. Here are some thoughts in my head as I read this piece: Small samples coupled with small effects pose a design problem in traditional clinical trials. The subjects of the…

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Experts clinging on to their predictions

October 7, 2014
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Andrew Gelman touches on one of my favorite topics: prediction accuracy, and experts who cling to their predictions. Here's Andrew at the Monkey Cage blog. His starting point is a piece by sociologist Jay Livingston on how various well-known economists made vague predictions (e.g. "I see inflation around the corner") and kept clinging to them (eventually, there will be inflation). Several theories are given to explain this behavior. One is…

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A patently pointless picture

October 3, 2014
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A patently pointless picture

I am mystified by the intention behind this chart, published in NYT Magazine (Sept 14, 2014). It is not a data visualization since the circles were not placed to scale. The 650 and 660 should have been further to the...

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Princeton’s loss of nerve

October 2, 2014
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Princeton’s loss of nerve

I have earlier reported that Princeton's new President has initiated a review of their "grade deflation" policy that was put in almost ten years ago. As you may recall (link), grading in U.S. colleges has become a farce: at top-tier schools, getting an A means you are an average student; not getting an A is many times more informative than getting an A. The new administration at Princeton has now…

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Don’t data puke, says Avinash Kaushik

September 16, 2014
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Here are five amazing recommendations by Avinash Kaushik from a post about how to make Web analytics dashboards better by simplifying. Dashboards are not reports. Don't data puke. Include insights. Include recommendations for actions. Include business impact. NEVER leave data interpretation to the executives (let them opine on your recommendations for actions with benefit of their wisdom and awareness of business strategy). When it comes to key performance indicators, segments…

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Relevance, to you or me: a response to Cairo

September 15, 2014
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Relevance, to you or me: a response to Cairo

Alberto Cairo discussed a graphic by the New York Times on the slowing growth of Medicare spending (link). The chart on the top is published, depicting the quite dramatic flattening of the growth in average spending over the last years--average...

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Trifacta, an attempt to simplify the analyst’s life

September 8, 2014
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A LinkedIn contact and 538 reader pointed me to this demo video by Joe Hellerstein, from a Bay Area startup called Trifacta. They have a neat product that tries to automate data cleaning/processing tasks for analysts. I love that people are working on this problem. It's an area that I'm interested in getting involved in. Also, they have a sleek user interface, well thought out, and innovative. There is a…

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Playing with orientation and style

September 8, 2014
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Playing with orientation and style

I saw this nifty chart in the Wall Street Journal last week. The Post Office is competing with Fedex and UPS on pricing. The nice feature about this small dataset is that the story is very clear. In almost every...

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Background on my new 538 article on restaurant health grades

September 3, 2014
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Background on my new 538 article on restaurant health grades

Some behind-the-scenes comments on my recent article on New York's restaurant inspection grades; it appeared on FiveThirtyEight this Tuesday. *** The Nature of Ratings This article is about the ratings of things. I devoted a considerable amount of pages to this topic in Numbersense (link) - Chapter 1 is all about the US News ranking of schools. A few key points are: All rating schemes are completely subjective. There is…

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