Online Education takes off

Udacity is a smaller player but welcome competition to Coursera. I think companies that have on demand learning programs should consider donating a course to these online education players (like SAS Institute for SAS , Revolution Analytics for R, SAP, Oracle for in-memory analytics etc)

Any takers!


Coursera  is doing a superb job with huge number of free courses from notable professors. 111 courses!

I am of course partial to the 7 courses that are related to my field-



Research on Social Games

Social Gaming is slightly different from arcade gaming, and the heavy duty PSP3, XBox, Wii world of gaming.  Some observations on my research ( ;) ) on social gaming across internet is as follows-

There are mostly 3 types of social games-

1) Quest- Build a town/area/farm to earn in game money or points

2) Fight- fight other people /players /pigs earn in game money or points

3) Puzzle- Stack up, make three of a kind, etc

Most successful social games are a crossover between the above three kinds of social games (so build and fight, or fight and puzzle etc)

In addition most social games have some in game incentives that are peculiar to social networks only. In game incentives are mostly in game cash to build, energy to fight others, or shortcuts in puzzle games. These social gaming incentives are-

1) Some incentive to log in daily/regularly/visit game site more often

2) Some incentive to invite other players on the social network

A characteristic of this domain is blatant me-too, copying and ripping creative ideas (but not the creative itself)  from other social games. In general the successful game which is the early leader gets most of the players but other game studios can and do build up substantial long tail network of players by copying games. Thus there are a huge variety of games.

However there are massive hits like Farmville and Angry Birds, that prove that a single social game well executed can be very valuable and profitable to both itself as well as the primary social network hosting it.

Accordingly the leading game studios are Zynga, Electronic Arts and (yes) Microsoft while Google has been mostly a investor in these.

A good website for studying data about social games is while a sister website for studying developments is

As you can see below Appdata is a formidable data gatherer here (though I find the top App – Static HTML as both puzzling and a sign of un corrected automated data gathering),

but I expect more competition in this very lucrative segment.



Open Source Analytics

My guest blog at is now up is the exciting community which looks at the business aspects to the analytics market with a great lineup of pedigree writers.

It is basically a point/counterpoint for and against open source analytics. I feel there is a scope of lot of improvement before open source dominates the world of analytics software like Android, Linux Web Server do in their markets. Part of this reason is – there needs to be more , much more investment in analytics research, development, easier to use interfaces, Big Data integration and rewarding ALL the writers of code regardless of whether the code is proprietary or open source.

A last word- I think open source analytics AND proprietary analytics software will have to learn to live with one another, with game theory dictating their response and counter-response. More competition is good, and open source is an AND option not an OR option to existing status quo.

You can read the full blog discussion at

Hopefully discussion would be more analytical than passionate :) and greater investments in made in analytics by all sides.