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Over a decade long career , I have often been reminded of this saying from erstwhile mentors in long forgotten consulting email group- It is not WHAT you KNOW, it is WHO you KNOW. The power of WHO you KNOW can defeat even what you know , have learnt or worked hard at. Accordingly these are some wry observations on how businesses sometimes take shortcuts in India, and the whys and wherefores.
1) Regulatory Arbitrage due to Lack of Regulatory Oversight- This is especially true in terms of labor practices. This includes under-paying Caucasians and non -Indians for internships , or jobs (in the name of sponsoring the work visa). India is an extremely inexpensive place to stay in, but it is sometimes unfriendly (in terms of laws not people) to people visiting from the West. This ranges from amusing things to paying 10 times the price for non Indian visitors to Taj Mahal- to not so funny things as paying them lower salaries because they need a reason to stay on. Unfortunately this is true in many countries -underpaying aliens, but it is much better regulated in the West.
2) Stealing Intellectual Property- I have often known people to steal presentations and even excel macros from the place they were working to the new place. Almost no one gets prosecuted for intellectual property theft (unless you are caught with 10,000 pirated music or film cds)
3) Using Pirated Softwares – Lack of awareness of FOSS means many SMEs use shortcuts including downloading software from Pirate Bay and using this to work for clients in the West. Example- This could be as simple as downloading SAS software from Internet, or using WPS software for training and mis-representing SAS Institute’s name. (added confusion due to SAS -software,company,language ) . There are other major companies who suffer from this too, notably Microsoft.
This could be as complex as using academic versions of enterprise software for businesses purposes. In each case because of the geography, legal risk is quite low, and returns quite high from pirated software. It also helps lower the unethical vendor’s quotation of prices compared to the one who is doing it straight.
One way to avoid this is -ask your vendor to show you copy of how many legal licence’s for software. It can also help in cutting down exaggerated bench strength claims of vendors, as sometimes businesses hire many people and then put them on internal projects.
4) Illegal Trade practices- This include making employees sign a 1 year bond for not leaving the company after they have visited the West for company work- in the name of training . This also includes abusing the loopholes in various types of visa.
5) Ignoring signed contracts and negotiating to lower prices at every step illegally, in collusion with other vendors ( there is no effective anti -trust act ) and using the complete inadequate and lengthy nature of filing court cases in India.
Almost every non Indian client I know pays on time- almost every Indian client I know needs reminders. This is more of a mindset problem , knowing the reluctance to file lawsuits in India given slow progress in the courts ( India has 1.2 billion people and per capita access to judges and lawyers is quite low). The buzz word is- How much can we settle this? Lets do a settlement!
In the long run, this is choking off growth and potential of SMEs in India. In a continuing series- I will help the non Indian users with ways to use technology for legal remedies in India for intellectual property along with known case studies and examples.
I really liked the course developed by 10 gen for MongoDB (there are two tracks for Developers and DBAs at https://education.10gen.com/)
The interface is very nice and is a step upwards from Coursera’s ( https://www.coursera.org/) pioneering work (and even http://www.codecademy.com/#!/exercises/0 )- each video has a small question, the videos are not cluttered, and the voice and transcription quality is impeccable. Lastly a certification for people who clear 65% acts as an academic incentive, they get a certificate.
yes it is free.
Oracle recently launched a series of nicely made R tutorials at https://apex.oracle.com/pls/apex/f?p=44785:24:0::NO::P24_CONTENT_ID,P24_PREV_PAGE:6528,1but I wish Oracle R had some certifications too!
If only more techie companies like SAS Institute (expensive SAS training), IBM (cluttered website), Revolution Analytics (expensive partners in Certification), Google (unpolished Python lectures)
put an effort with polished e-learning interfaces than be dependent on external partners…..or internal gurus…interfaces matter especially in education.
Happy Mongo DBing/ Oracle R!
- Free Online MongoDB Classes are now live (10gen.com)
- [Python Slide] Developing RESTful Web APIs with Python, Flask and MongoDB (clasense4.wordpress.com)
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)
Coursera is doing a superb job with huge number of free courses from notable professors. 111 courses!
Awesomely informative post on sascom magazine (whose editor I have I interviewed before here at http://www.decisionstats.com/interview-alison-bolen-sas-com/ – )
Great piece by Michael Ames ,SAS Data Integration Product Manager.
Also see SAS’s big data thingys here at
Solutions and Capabilities Using SAS® In-Memory Analytics
- High-Performance Analytics – Get near-real-time insights with appliance-ready analytics software designed to tackle big data and complex problems.
- High-Performance Risk – Faster, better risk management decisions based on the most up-to-date views of your overall risk exposure.
- High-Performance Liquidity Risk Management – Take quick, decisive actions to secure adequate funding, especially in times of volatility.
- High-Performance Stress Testing – Make faster, more precise decisions to protect the health of the firm.
- Visual Analytics – Explore big data using in-memory capabilities to better understand all of your data, discover new patterns and publish reports to the Web and iPad®.
(Ajay- I liked the Visual Analytics piece especially for Big Data )
JMP , the visual data exploration, statistical quality control software from SAS Institute launched version 10 of its software today.
JMP 10 includes:
Numerous enhancements to the drag-and-drop Graph Builder, including a new iPad application.
A cutting-edge Control Chart Builder to create process control charts with drag-and-drop ease.
New reliability capabilities, including growth and forecast models.
Additions and improvements for sorting and filtering data, design of experiments, statistical modeling, scripting, add-in and application development, script debugging and more.
From JohnSall’s blog post at http://blogs.sas.com/content/jmp/2012/03/20/discover-more-with-jmp-10/
Much of the development centered on four focus areas:
1. Graph Builder everywhere. The Graph Builder platform itself has new features like Heatmap and Treemap, an elements palette and properties panel, making the choices more visible. But Graph Builder also has some descendents now, including the new Control Chart Builder, which makes creating control charts an interactive process. In addition, some of the drag-and-drop features that are used to change columns in Graph Builder are also available in Distribution, Fit Y by X, and a few other places. Finally, Graph Builder has been ported to the iPad. For the first time, you can use JMP for exploration and presentation on a mobile device for free. So just think of Graph Builder as gradually taking over in lots of places.
2. Expert-driven design.reliability, measurement systems, and partial least squares analyses.
3. Performance. this release has the most new multithreading so far
4. Application development
You can read more here -http://jmp.com/about/events/webcasts/jmpwebcast_detail.shtml?reglink=70130000001r9IP
Here is an interview with Kelci Miclaus, a researcher working with the JMP division of the SAS Institute, in which she demonstrates examples of how the R programming language is a great hit with JMP customers who like to be flexible.
Ajay- How has JMP been using integration with R? What has been the feedback from customers so far? Is there a single case study you can point out where the combination of JMP and R was better than any one of them alone?
Kelci- Feedback from customers has been very positive. Some customers are using JMP to foster collaboration between SAS and R modelers within their organizations. Many are using JMP’s interactive visualization to complement their use of R. Many SAS and JMP users are using JMP’s integration with R to experiment with more bleeding-edge methods not yet available in commercial software. It can be used simply to smooth the transition with regard to sending data between the two tools, or used to build complete custom applications that take advantage of both JMP and R.
One customer has been using JMP and R together for Bayesian analysis. He uses R to create MCMC chains and has found that JMP is a great tool for preparing the data for analysis, as well as displaying the results of the MCMC simulation. For example, the Control Chart platform and the Bubble Plot platform in JMP can be used to quickly verify convergence of the algorithm. The use of both tools together can increase productivity since the results of an analysis can be achieved faster than through scripting and static graphics alone.
I, along with a few other JMP developers, have written applications that use JMP scripting to call out to R packages and perform analyses like multidimensional scaling, bootstrapping, support vector machines, and modern variable selection methods. These really show the benefit of interactive visual analysis of coupled with modern statistical algorithms. We’ve packaged these scripts as JMP add-ins and made them freely available on our JMP User Community file exchange. Customers can download them and now employ these methods as they would a regular JMP platform. We hope that our customers familiar with scripting will also begin to contribute their own add-ins so a wider audience can take advantage of these new tools.
Ajay- Are there plans to extend JMP integration with other languages like Python?
Kelci- We do have plans to integrate with other languages and are considering integrating with more based on customer requests. Python has certainly come up and we are looking into possibilities there.
Ajay- How is R a complimentary fit to JMP’s technical capabilities?
Kelci- R has an incredible breadth of capabilities. JMP has extensive interactive, dynamic visualization intrinsic to its largely visual analysis paradigm, in addition to a strong core of statistical platforms. Since our brains are designed to visually process pictures and animated graphs more efficiently than numbers and text, this environment is all about supporting faster discovery. Of course, JMP also has a scripting language (JSL) allowing you to incorporate SAS code, R code, build analytical applications for others to leverage SAS, R and other applications for users who don’t code or who don’t want to code.
JSL is a powerful scripting language on its own. It can be used for dialog creation, automation of JMP statistical platforms, and custom graphic scripting. In other ways, JSL is very similar to the R language. It can also be used for data and matrix manipulation and to create new analysis functions. With the scripting capabilities of JMP, you can create custom applications that provide both a user interface and an interactive visual back-end to R functionality. Alternatively, you could create a dashboard using statistical and/or graphical platforms in JMP to explore the data and with the click of a button, send a portion of the data to R for further analysis.
Another JMP feature that complements R is the add-in architecture, which is similar to how R packages work. If you’ve written a cool script or analysis workflow, you can package it into a JMP add-in file and send it to your colleagues so they can easily use it.
Ajay- What is the official view on R from your organization? Do you think it is a threat, or a complimentary product or another statistical platform that coexists with your offerings?
Kelci- Most definitely, we view R as complimentary. R contributors are providing a tremendous service to practitioners, allowing them to try a wide variety of methods in the pursuit of more insight and better results. The R community as a whole is providing a valued role to the greater analytical community by focusing attention on newer methods that hold the most promise in so many application areas. Data analysts should be encouraged to use the tools available to them in order to drive discovery and JMP can help with that by providing an analytic hub that supports both SAS and R integration.
Ajay- While you do use R, are there any plans to give back something to the R community in terms of your involvement and participation (say at useR events) or sponsoring contests.
Kelci- We are certainly open to participating in useR groups. At Predictive Analytics World in NY last October, they didn’t have a local useR group, but they did have a Predictive Analytics Meet-up group comprised of many R users. We were happy to sponsor this. Some of us within the JMP division have joined local R user groups, myself included. Given that some local R user groups have entertained topics like Excel and R, Python and R, databases and R, we would be happy to participate more fully here. I also hope to attend the useR! annual meeting later this year to gain more insight on how we can continue to provide tools to help both the JMP and R communities with their work.
We are also exploring options to sponsor contests and would invite participants to use their favorite tools, languages, etc. in pursuit of the best model. Statistics is about learning from data and this is how we make the world a better place.
About- Kelci Miclaus
Kelci is a research statistician developer for JMP Life Sciences at SAS Institute. She has a PhD in Statistics from North Carolina State University and has been using SAS products and R for several years. In addition to research interests in statistical genetics, clinical trials analysis, and multivariate analysis/visualization methods, Kelci works extensively with JMP, SAS, and R integration.