Showing posts from May, 2013

A Little Moonshine

I read with fascinationthis articleon using analytics to make predictions and prescriptions regarding your child's career. Both words - prediction and prescription make me very nervous. The premise of the product IBM India's research lab is building is summed up thusly:
“As a student go through courses, every test is recorded electronically (in fact, it is done in most of the US schools). With this kind of data, we can build models of students and cluster them to categories based on some analytics. So we can say, this student is similar to this cluster of people and predict how he can perform,”
I thought it may be interesting to apply this line to reasoning to a small cohort - the forty some kids that I grew up with taking many, many tests along the way. I have data points for about forty students and eight subjects for say about seven years - several tests at a year for all of these kids. 

Of course, the numbers will not be terribly accurate but the kids are easy enough to clust…

Yahoo Watching

I am not a big Yahoo user but have been following the site and the news about Yahoo since Marissa Mayer took over. Mainly I am curious about how this thing will end up under her stewardship and when the souring happens  how the blame will be apportioned. The Tumblr deal did not make a lot of sense - instead of clarifying a brand which is already all over the map, Mayer chose to thrown something new in the mix. I tend to agree with Owen Thomas on why this is a mistake

If teens are turning away from Facebook because they want to get away from their parents, any kind of Yahoo-fication of Tumblr will not go over well with this population. Yet letting Tumblr function autonomously making the change of guard seamless to its user population would not meet Yahoo's goals. Yahoo is way more old school than Facebook and ever so uncool. The clutter on the landing page is out of control and has a disturbing Geocities vibe about it. It makes me want to run right away to some place quieter wher…


Reading about the purveyors emotional commerce and the brands that fit the bill - had to check out the True&Co quiz to see if it would make me feel warm and fuzzy like the author said it would. Maybe I am not the target customer segment or age group because I was not able to see anything more than the obvious cute factor. Conversion by way of registration to the site certainly did not happen. I had heard about the Abercrombie business from J a few days ago - her friends have been talking about how distasteful it was for the CEO to say that he does not cater to uncool kids. It is ironic that the so called uncool have pretty strong emotions about the brand that rejects them. 

The expert opinion on the comments made by Jefferies is a little at odds with what I have heard from the trenches - namely J. I asked her if her friends were offended enough to stop wearing the brand and she asked "If the CEO of Apple said something nasty would you stop using the iPhone ?" and I had to…


Reading this story prompted me to download Waze and check it out. We have a long drive coming up this weekend and I am looking forward to using it.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the density of social activity in my sleepy little neck of the woods. Like the author says "I didn't think enough people would take the time to enter information about things like traffic or speed traps into Waze to make it useful, but I was wrong."

There were nearly a hundred different reports on traffic, police, closure and more. I would not need to look at Yelp while driving, it comes integrated with a look-up for restaurants in your location or along your route. I love how well system has been augmented with social to create a product that packs so much usefulness in a very compact format. The possibilities for mashups are only limited by the imagination. From retailers being able to push real time offers to someone headed in the direction of their store, to making connections between peo…


Client I was meeting with today is in his late 50s and the father of a college senior. He was bemoaning the state of math education in grade school and beyond and how in his field of work, there is almost no local talent to be found. The issue of education being dumbed down to cater to the lowest common denominator came up and how his son did not study Algebra until 9th grade and struggled in physics because calculus was taught way too late. He talked about how both teachers and students were held to a much higher standard back in his day. It was interesting to read yet another excuse for not challenging kids more in school - they are too sleep deprived to use their brains. 

Closer home, J tells me how popularity in middle school is directly proportional to athletic ability. Interestingly though, the standard of competition in athletics is not translated to academics or other extra curricular activities. So, whereas the losing team does not get awarded a trophy, kids with straight As a…