Ethics and Writing

A particularly prominent technology blogger ( see http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/michael_arrington_the_kingmaker_who_would_be_king.php )has now formalized his status as an investor (which he did even before) while relinquishing his editorial duties (which were not much given the blog’s acquisition by AOL and its own formidable line of writers, each one of whom is quite influential). Without going into either sermon mode (thou shall not have conflict of interests) or adulatory mode (wow he sold the blog for 30 mill and now he gets another 20 mill for his funds)- I shall try and present the case for ethics and ethical lapses while as a writer.

Continue reading “Ethics and Writing”

Interview Jaime Fitzgerald President Fitzgerald Analytics

Here is an interview with noted analytics expert Jaime Fitzgerald, of Fitzgerald Analytics.

Ajay-Describe your career journey from being a Harvard economist to being a text analytics thought leader.

 Jaime- I was attracted to economics because of the logic, the structured and systematic approach to understanding the world and to solving problems. In retrospect, this is the same passion for logic in problem solving that drives my business today.

About 15 years ago, I began working in consulting and initially took a traditional career path. I worked for well-known strategy consulting firms including First Manhattan Consulting Group, Novantas LLC, Braun Consulting, and for the former Japan-focused division of Deloitte Consulting, which had spun off as an independent entity. I was the only person in their New York City office for whom Japanese was not the first language.

While I enjoyed traditional consulting, I was especially passionate about the role of data, analytics, and process improvement. In traditional strategy consulting, these are important factors, but I had a vision for a “next generation” approach to strategy consulting that would be more transparent, more robust, and more focused on the role that information, analysis, and process plays in improving business results. I often explain that while my firm is “not your father’s consulting model,” we have incorporated key best practices from traditional consulting, and combined them with an approach that is more data-centric, technology-centric, and process-centric.

At the most fundamental level, I was compelled to found Fitzgerald Analytics more than six years ago by my passion for the role information plays in improving results, and ultimately improving lives. In my vision, data is an asset waiting to be transformed into results, including profit as well as other results that matter deeply to people. For example,one of the most fulfilling aspects of our work at Fitzgerald Analytics is our support of non-profits and social entrepreneurs, who we help increase their scale and their success in achieving their goals.

Ajay- How would you describe analytics as a career option to future students. What do you think are the most essential qualities an analytics career requires.

Jaime- My belief is that analytics will be a major driver of job-growth and career growth for decades. We are just beginning to unlock the full potential of analytics, and already the demand for analytic talent far exceeds the supply.

To succeed in analytics, the most important quality is logic. Many people believe that math or statistical skills are the most important quality, but in my experience, the most essential trait is what I call “ThoughtStyle” — critical thinking, logic, an ability to break down a problem into components, into sub-parts.

Ajay -What are your favorite techniques and methodologies in text analytics. How do you see social media and Big Data analytics as components of text analytics

 Jaime-We do a lot of work for our clients measuring Customer Experience, by which I mean the experience customers have when interacting with our clients. For example, we helped a major brokerage firm to measure 12 key “Moments that Matter,” including the operational aspects of customer service, customer satisfaction and sentiment, and ultimately customer behavior. Clients care about this a lot, because customer experience drives customer loyalty, which in turn drives customer behavior, customer loyalty, and customer profitability.

Text analytics plays a key role in these projects because much of our data on customer sentiment comes via unstructured text data. For example, we have access to call center transcripts and notes, to survey responses, and to social media comments.

We use a variety of methods, some of which I’m not in a position to describe in great detail. But at a high level, I would say that our favorite text analytics methodologies are “hybrid solutions” which use a two-step process to answer key questions for clients:

Step 1: convert unstructured data into key categorical variables (for example, using contextual analysis to flag users who are critical vs. neutral vs. advocates)

Step 2: linking sentiment categories to customer behavior and profitability (for example, linking customer advocacy and loyalty with customer profits as well as referral volume, to define the ROI that clients accrue for customer satisfaction improvements)

Ajay- Describe your consulting company- Fitzgerald Analytics and some of the work that you have been engaged in.

 Jaime- Our mission is to “illuminate reality” using data and to convert Data to Dollars for our clients. We have a track record of doing this well, with concrete and measurable results in the millions of dollars. As a result, 100% of our clients have engaged us for more than one project: a 100% client loyalty rate.

Our specialties–and most frequent projects–include customer profitability management projects, customer segmentation, customer experience management, balanced scorecards, and predictive analytics. We are often engaged to address high-stakes analytic questions, including issues that help to set long-term strategy. In other cases, clients hire us to help them build their internal capabilities. We have helped build several brand new analytic teams for clients, which continue to generate millions of dollars of profits with their fact-based recommendations.

Our methodology is based on Steven Covey’s principle: “begin with the end in mind,” the concept of starting with the client’s goal and working backwards from there. I often explain that our methods are what you would have gotten if Steven Covey had been a data analyst…we are applying his principles to the world of data analytics.

Ajay- Analytics requires more and more data while privacy requires the least possible data. What do you think are the guidelines that need to be built in sharing internet browsing and user activity data and do we need regulations just like we do for sharing financial data.

 Jaime- Great question. This is an essential challenge of the big data era. My perspective is that firms who depend on user data for their analysis need to take responsibility for protecting privacy by using data management best practices. Best practices to adequately “mask” or remove private data exist…the problem is that these best practices are often not applied. For example, Facebook’s practice of sharing unique user IDs with third-party application companies has generated a lot of criticism, and could have been avoided by applying data management best practices which are well known among the data management community.

If I were able to influence public policy, my recommendation would be to adopt a core set of simple but powerful data management standards that would protect consumers from perhaps 95% of the privacy risks they face today. The number one standard would be to prohibit sharing of static, personally identifiable user IDs between companies in a manner that creates “privacy risk.” Companies can track unique customers without using a static ID…they need to step up and do that.

Ajay- What are your favorite text analytics software that you like to work with.

 Jaime- Because much of our work in deeply embedded into client operations and systems, we often use the software our clients already prefer. We avoid recommending specific vendors unless our client requests it. In tandem with our clients and alliance partners, we have particular respect for Autonomy, Open Text, Clarabridge, and Attensity.

Biography-

http://www.fitzgerald-analytics.com/jaime_fitzgerald.html

The Founder and President of Fitzgerald Analytics, Jaime has developed a distinctively quantitative, fact-based, and transparent approach to solving high stakes problems and improving results.  His approach enables translation of Data to Dollars™ using methodologies clients can repeat again and again.  He is equally passionate about the “human side of the equation,” and is known for his ability to link the human and the quantitative, both of which are needed to achieve optimal results.

Experience: During more than 15 years serving clients as a management strategy consultant, Jaime has focused on customer experience and loyalty, customer profitability, technology strategy, information management, and business process improvement.  Jaime has advised market-leading banks, retailers, manufacturers, media companies, and non-profit organizations in the United States, Canada, and Singapore, combining strategic analysis with hands-on implementation of technology and operations enhancements.

Career History: Jaime began his career at First Manhattan Consulting Group, specialists in financial services, and was later a Co-Founder at Novantas, the strategy consultancy based in New York City.  Jaime was also a Manager for Braun Consulting, now part of Fair Isaac Corporation, and for Japan-based Abeam Consulting, now part of NEC.

Background: Jaime is a graduate of Harvard University with a B.A. in Economics.  He is passionate and supportive of innovative non-profit organizations, their effectiveness, and the benefits they bring to our society.

Upcoming Speaking Engagements:   Jaime is a frequent speaker on analytics, information management strategy, and data-driven profit improvement.  He recently gave keynote presentations on Analytics in Financial Services for The Data Warehousing Institute, the New York Technology Council, and the Oracle Financial Services Industry User Group. A list of Jaime’s most interesting presentations on analyticscan be found here.

He will be presenting a client case study this fall at Text Analytics World re:   “New Insights from ‘Big Legacy Data’: The Role of Text Analytics” 

Connecting with Jaime:  Jaime can be found at Linkedin,  and Twitter.  He edits the Fitzgerald Analytics Blog.

Analytics 2011 Conference

From http://www.sas.com/events/analytics/us/

The Analytics 2011 Conference Series combines the power of SAS’s M2010 Data Mining Conference and F2010 Business Forecasting Conference into one conference covering the latest trends and techniques in the field of analytics. Analytics 2011 Conference Series brings the brightest minds in the field of analytics together with hundreds of analytics practitioners. Join us as these leading conferences change names and locations. At Analytics 2011, you’ll learn through a series of case studies, technical presentations and hands-on training. If you are in the field of analytics, this is one conference you can’t afford to miss.

Conference Details

October 24-25, 2011
Grande Lakes Resort
Orlando, FL

Analytics 2011 topic areas include:

Movie Review- X Men First Class

This is a movie that restores faith in the good old art of story telling with completely realistic but not in the face Computer Generated Effects.

Both Charles (as Prof X) and Erik (as Magneto) are awesome, but Erik steals the show as Michael FAsbbender plays the avenging Holocaust victim with complete and ruthless abandon. The use of Mad Men like costumes, and the flashback to history was awesome too, but the Russians were bad- same old chaps we have seen playing Russians in dozens of movies , slurring over their Rs. The interpolation of JFK, Cuban Missile Crisis and even the 1960’s chauvinistic humor really add on to this movie.

Watch it- good for both family and friends. Kevin Bacon is a steal, and lots of talented actors now join the Kevin Bacon game.

x1

 

Movie Review Ready

Picture of Asin Thottumkal, an Indian actress
Asin- Indian actor

I just saw the Bollywood Movie , Ready (2011) starring Salman Khan and Asin.  Salman Khan has been the Charlie Sheen of Indian Cinema for some time now, and the movie plays up to his charm, slapstick humor and slap full action.

Asin is a great actor, and this is not art for the sake of art- it is art to make the people laugh.

Enjoy it but with tempered expectations that you are in for some stupendous Bollywoodish humor.

Related articles

 

Love Bytes- a modern Indian play

Review= Love Bytes

I was here in Taj Vivanta,Mumbai India, as a guest and I caught up with a lovely new age play called Love Bytes.

Directed and written by Divya Palat http://www.divyapalat.com  , this play explores the emotional turbulences of the digiterati, the Facebook status changes, and the complete life cycle of the supply chain of love.

From teenage puppy love, to double income 1 kid, to geeky nerd afraid to talk to the beauteous girl in office,and the live in couple with no pressure to marry – this s when Harry met Sally  plus Its Complicated all mashed together with anthemic rock songs between the acts.

I loved the humor and the satire though the second act did drag on my nerves with the puns on African American rappers,  extinct parsis  species, and mild homophobia in father son relationships. One solo act stood out for the funny words..

Welcome brave new world of Bollywood.

Or maybe I should say Bollyway-wood.

Interview David Katz ,Dataspora /David Katz Consulting

Here is an interview with David Katz ,founder of David Katz Consulting (http://www.davidkatzconsulting.com/) and an analyst at the noted firm http://dataspora.com/. He is a featured speaker at Predictive Analytics World  http://www.predictiveanalyticsworld.com/sanfrancisco/2011/speakers.php#katz)

Ajay-  Describe your background working with analytics . How can we make analytics and science more attractive career options for young students

David- I had an interest in math from an early age, spurred by reading lots of science fiction with mathematicians and scientists in leading roles. I was fortunate to be at Harry and David (Fruit of the Month Club) when they were in the forefront of applying multivariate statistics to the challenge of targeting catalogs and other snail-mail offerings. Later I had the opportunity to expand these techniques to the retail sphere with Williams-Sonoma, who grew their retail business with the support of their catalog mailings. Since they had several catalog titles and product lines, cross-selling presented additional analytic challenges, and with the growth of the internet there was still another channel to consider, with its own dynamics.

After helping to found Abacus Direct Marketing, I became an independent consultant, which provided a lot of variety in applying statistics and data mining in a variety of settings from health care to telecom to credit marketing and education.

Students should be exposed to the many roles that analytics plays in modern life, and to the excitement of finding meaningful and useful patterns in the vast profusion of data that is now available.

Ajay-  Describe your most challenging project in 3 decades of experience in this field.

David- Hard to choose just one, but the educational field has been particularly interesting. Partnering with Olympic Behavior Labs, we’ve developed systems to help identify students who are most at-risk for dropping out of school to help target interventions that could prevent dropout and promote success.

Ajay- What do you think are the top 5 trends in analytics for 2011.

David- Big Data, Privacy concerns, quick response to consumer needs, integration of testing and analysis into business processes, social networking data.

Ajay- Do you think techniques like RFM and LTV are adequately utilized by organization. How can they be propagated further.

David- Organizations vary amazingly in how sophisticated or unsophisticated the are in analytics. A key factor in success as a consultant is to understand where each client is on this continuum and how well that serves their needs.

Ajay- What are the various software you have worked for in this field- and name your favorite per category.

David- I started out using COBOL (that dates me!) then concentrated on SAS for many years. More recently R is my favorite because of its coverage, currency and programming model, and it’s debugging capabilities.

Ajay- Independent consulting can be a strenuous job. What do you do to unwind?

David- Cycling, yoga, meditation, hiking and guitar.

Biography-

David Katz, Senior Analyst, Dataspora, and President, David Katz Consulting.

David Katz has been in the forefront of applying statistical models and database technology to marketing problems since 1980. He holds a Master’s Degree in Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley. He is one of the founders of Abacus Direct Marketing and was previously the Director of Database Development for Williams-Sonoma.

He is the founder and President of David Katz Consulting, specializing in sophisticated statistical services for a variety of applications, with a special focus on the Direct Marketing Industry. David Katz has an extensive background that includes experience in all aspects of direct marketing from data mining, to strategy, to test design and implementation. In addition, he consults on a variety of data mining and statistical applications from public health to collections analysis. He has partnered with consulting firms such as Ernst and Young, Prediction Impact, and most recently on this project with Dataspora.

For more on David’s Session in Predictive Analytics World, San Fransisco on (http://www.predictiveanalyticsworld.com/sanfrancisco/2011/agenda.php#day2-16a)

Room: Salon 5 & 6
4:45pm – 5:05pm

Track 2: Social Data and Telecom 
Case Study: Major North American Telecom
Social Networking Data for Churn Analysis

A North American Telecom found that it had a window into social contacts – who has been calling whom on its network. This data proved to be predictive of churn. Using SQL, and GAM in R, we explored how to use this data to improve the identification of likely churners. We will present many dimensions of the lessons learned on this engagement.

Speaker: David Katz, Senior Analyst, Dataspora, and President, David Katz Consulting

Exhibit Hours
Monday, March 14th:10:00am to 7:30pm

Tuesday, March 15th:9:45am to 4:30pm