Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Roles in the Workplace of the Future

David Brooks sheds some light on the kinds of skills that the workforce of the future will need to be successful. As machines replace jobs like cashiers, phone operators, bank tellers, and more (see, skills of the future will involve more than number crunching or data processing. " It’s the kind of skill you use to overrule your GPS system when you’re driving in a familiar neighborhood but defer to it in strange surroundings." You can read more at

(courtesy Suzie Livingston)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Experimentation Beyond Product Management and Marketing Analytics

HBR has an interesting article on how experimentation can be used at a company beyond the boundary of product management or marketing analytics. For example, Google applies this to its People Operations.

(courtesy Saeyoon Baik)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Decline of Wikipedia

MIT Technology Review has an article on the decline of Wikipedia. The article summarizes the challenges faced by the 'The Free Encyclopedia' and one of the top ten most visited websites in the world as:
When Wikipedians achieved their most impressive feat of leaderless collective organization, they unwittingly set in motion the decline in participation that troubles their project today
Thanks to Melek Pelen for the link!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Rakuten’s CEO on Humanizing E-Commerce

HBR has an article which is interesting from a social commerce / personalized commerce perspective, particularly as it relates to the big data / recommendations.

Thanks to Justine Van Buren for the link!

The Risks of Big Data for Companies

The WSJ has an excellent article on the risks of big data for companies.

Thanks to Laura Numair for the link!

Example of Price Elasticity at Work

Mike Masnick writes an interesting piece on how dropping the price of an year old ebook to $1 catapulted it to the NYT Best Seller List.

Thanks to Ryan Borker for the link!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What The Times Can Learn from NPR

Ethan Zuckerman, director of the MIT Center for Civic Media has interesting proposition in his post, Members, fans and complementary revenue models for the New York Times:
I suspect the business folks at the Times are operating under the assumption that there are only two places to be on their subscriber/revenue curve – you can be a subscriber and pay $300-800 a year, or you can be an outsider and cover a tiny fraction of your free riding with ad views. But there’s another option: the Times could start thinking of its readers in terms of subscribers, fans and passers-by. The Times won’t monetize passers-by, except through ads – these are folks who stumble onto the site occasionally and may not even realize they are reading Times content. That’s frustrating, but that’s how the web works. And the Times should certainly cultivate subscribers and encourage more fans to become subscribers. But they might do a better job of that by courting their fans, instead of locking them out.
Fans could be encouraged to support content on the Times not through a threat of locking them out, but by encouraging them to support the paper, and especially, the parts of the paper they value the most. When I donate to WNYC, I always take the opportunity to tell WNYC that I’m not a customer of the station as a whole, but of On The Media, my favorite outlet for smart media criticism. I have to think that some Times readers would love the opportunity to give to the paper and say, “Please don’t give this to Maureen Dowd. I’m giving in the hope of more Ta-Nehisi Coates op-eds.”

Friday, October 25, 2013

When the Value of Information is Negative

It's 2023, and data scientists develop a DNA test that perfectly predicts each person's future disease and thus each person's exact lifetime medical expenses.
  • In one country, insurers price all "insurance policies" to fully reflect these future costs. Everyone pays exactly what they will get back.
  • In a second country, insurers are required to provide insurance at standardized rate which ignores the DNA test and everyone is required to buy it.
Question 1: Ceteris paribus, which country has better insurance? Which has higher overall welfare? If you haven't taken the DNA test yet, which would you rather live in?

Question 2: Would any of your answers change if the test was imperfect and only predicted some of your medical expenses?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

France Protects Booksellers from Amazon through Legislation

According to an article on today:
France’s parliament has passed a law preventing internet booksellers from offering free delivery to customers, in an attempt to protect the country’s struggling bookshops from the growing dominance of US online retailer Amazon.
The report highlights a risk that Amazon faces - its cost leadership in France is seen as a threat against which local bookshops need to be protected through legislation. Rather than be seen as an isolated incident, this perhaps is an indication that Amazon has reached a size where its action will attract law makers’ attention.

Is Mass Media a Myth in the Information Economy?

Hal Varian, Chief Economist at Google, recently gave an interesting speech where he discussed the economics of the newspaper industry. Varian proposes that tablets give newspapers a way to reclaim some lost audience.

Jeff Jarvis, author of the book entitled 'What Would Google Do?' takes an opposing viewpoint. He contends that that mass media is a myth and that newspapers should personalize content to stay relevant.