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Everything We Wish We'd Known About Building Data Products - First Round Review
Quote: "Where to Start Building: A lot of people choose to start building by modeling the product in question. Some start with feature discovery or feature engineering. Others start with building the infrastructure to serve results at scale. But for Belkin, there's only one right answer and starting point for a data product: Understanding how will you evaluate performance and building evaluation tools.
“Every single company I've worked at and talked to has the same problem without a single exception so far — poor data quality, especially tracking data,” he says.“Either there's incomplete data, missing tracking data, duplicative tracking data.” To solve this problem, you must invest a ton of time and energy monitoring data quality. You need to monitor and alert as carefully as you monitor site SLAs. You need to treat data quality bugs as more than a first priority. Don’t be afraid to fail a deploy if you detect data quality issues."
assessments_&_evaluations  control_systems  dashboards  data_quality  economies_of_scale  instrumentation_monitoring  testing  tracking  information  infrastructure  via:ajohnson1200  massive_data_sets 
september 2015 by jerryking
Let me see
Posted by Seth Godin on July 08, 2008.

Passive contributions of public behaviour information to traditionally-sorted data
data  ideas  information  inspiration  Seth_Godin  social_data  datasets  open_data  social_physics  massive_data_sets  wisdom_of_crowds  thick_data  public_behavior  sorting  value_creation 
january 2015 by jerryking
Fresh Produce Group Chooses NetSuite Over the Competition
Challenges:
Previous systems provided limited visibility into company financial performance.
Vital information had to be retrieved from multiple sources, leading to frustrating delays in financial and management reporting.
High levels of manual processing were required to maintain spreadsheets for forecasting and inventory management, which was costly and prone to error.
An inefficient paper-based inventory management system meant perishable produce was regularly wasted.
Hours were also lost every week locating pallets on the warehouse floor.
Non-financial staff had very limited access to vital business data needed to be more accountable in their roles.
fresh_produce  ERP  challenges  information  IT  perishables  OPMA  spreadsheets  inefficiencies 
june 2014 by jerryking
Lessons I learned from SNC-Lavalin’s woes
Jul. 26 2013 | - The Globe and Mail | by GWYN MORGAN.

Information is key

Because directors get most of their information from people within the company, they need to do everything they can to build and diversify their sources. There should be a robust whistle-blower system, independent of management, so employees can pass on information to directors without fear of reprisal.

Financial reporting structures matter. Internal auditors should report directly – and only – to the chair of the audit committee, not to management. The chief financial officer should have a direct reporting relationship to the audit committee chair. Operating division comptrollers should report to the CFO, not to the division leader or the business-unit head.

Focus on leadership

It’s important to have strong financial controls and ethical codes, but they will fail unless all people in leadership roles, from the CEO on down, follow them diligently and consistently.

Culture, culture, culture

It is said that corporate culture is defined by how people act when no one is looking. But it is also defined by how employees react when they see behaviour that is inconsistent with the values of the organization. When their reaction is, “We’re not going to let this happen in our company,” the organization is built upon a solid ethical foundation.
Gwyn_Morgan  boards_&_directors_&_governance  lessons_learned  SNC-Lavalin  scandals  engineering  information  information_flows  financial_reporting  financial_controls  auditors  CFOs  leadership  organizational_culture  whistleblowing  ethics  information_sources  reprisals 
july 2013 by jerryking
The ‘new cold war’ is an information war -
Aug. 25 2012 | The Globe and Mail | Anne-Marie Slaughter.
In the many manifestations of the ongoing and growing information war(s), the pro-freedom-of-information forces need a new weapon. A government’s banning of journalists or blocking of news and social-media sites that were previously allowed should be regarded as an early warning sign of a crisis meriting international scrutiny. The presumption should be that governments with nothing to hide have nothing to lose by allowing their citizens and internationally recognized media to report on their actions.

To give this presumption teeth, it should be included in international trade and investment agreements. Imagine if the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and regional development banks suspended financing as soon as a government pulled down an information curtain. Suppose foreign investors wrote contracts providing that the expulsion and banning of foreign journalists or widespread blocking of access to international news sources and social media constituted a sign of political risk sufficient to suspend investor obligations.

Americans say that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Citizens’ access to information is an essential tool to hold governments accountable. Government efforts to manipulate or block information should be presumed to be an abuse of power – one intended to mask many other abuses.
accountability  information_flows  information  journalists  censorship  political_risk  warning_signs  freedom_of_information  information_warfare  IMF  World_Bank  Anne-Marie_Slaughter  presumptions  transparency 
august 2012 by jerryking
Making Sense of Ambiguous Evidence
September 2008 | HBR | A Conversation with Documentary Filmmaker Errol Morris.

The information that top managers receive is rarely unfiltered. Unpopular opinions are censored. Partisan views are veiled as objective arguments. Honest mistakes are made. The manager is then left to sort it all out and come to a wise conclusion.

Few people know how to get an accurate read on a situation like documentarian Errol Morris. He is the award-winning director of such films as The Thin Blue Line and this year’s Standard Operating Procedure, an exploration of the elusive truth behind the infamous photographs taken at Abu Ghraib prison. The Guardian has ranked him among the world’s top 10 directors, crediting him with “a forensic mind” and “a painter’s eye.”

In this article, Morris talks with HBR’s Lisa Burrell about how he sorts through ambiguous evidence and contradictory views to arrive at the real story. “I don’t believe in the postmodern notion that there are different kinds of truth,” he says. “There is one objective reality, period.” Getting to it requires keeping your mind open to all kinds of evidence—not just the parts that fit with your first impressions or developing opinions—and, often, far more investigation than one would think.

If finding the truth is a matter of perseverance, convincing people of it is something of an art, one with which Morris has had much experience not only as a documentarian but also as a highly sought-after director of TV ads for companies like Apple, Citibank, Adidas, and Toyota. He holds up John Kerry’s 2004 bid for the U.S. presidency as a cautionary tale: Kerry struck voters as inauthentic when he emphasized only his military service and failed to account for his subsequent war protest. Morris would have liked to interview him speaking in his own words—natural, unscripted material—so that his humanity, which seemed to get lost in the campaign, could emerge.
anecdotal  HBR  executive_management  CEOs  contradictions  information  information_flows  evidence_based  objective_reality  information_gaps  authenticity  sense-making  ambiguities  uncertainty  persuasion  forensics  postmodern  filmmakers  documentaries  judgment  cautionary_tales 
august 2012 by jerryking
Go Ahead, Take a Risk
June 22, 2004 | WSJ | By ADRIAN SLYWOTSKY

What are the risks you should be taking but aren't? Most managers treat risk as an unwanted byproduct of the business. They think narrowly of financial, operating, and hazard risks, such as currency fluctuations, employee fraud, and earthquakes. And they defend themselves through practices like hedging, internal controls, and insurance.

But disruptive strategic risks can be a much larger source of value destruction for a firm. I looked back to the bull market of the 1990s to analyze movements of the Fortune 1000 stocks; even then, before the market collapsed, 10% of stocks lost over one-quarter of their value in a single month, primarily because of strategic-risk events.

The most successful companies do not try to simply minimize strategic risk; they embrace such risk by making prudent bets in their growth-oriented strategies. Strategic risks include not just the obvious, high-probability events that a new ad campaign or new product launch will fail, but other less-obvious risks as well: Customers' priorities will change quickly -- as when baby-boomer parents quickly migrated from station wagons to minivans, catching most automakers off guard. New technology will overtake your product -- as mobile telephony has stolen market share from fixed-line voice. A one-of-a-kind competitor will render your business model obsolete -- as the Wal-Mart tidal wave has washed over mid-range department stores.

Although insurance and hedging can't address strategic risks, there are an array of countermeasures that can, including these three:
1) Smart sequencing for new growth initiatives. Look for incumbents that are moving deliberately, leveraging existing assets and customer relationships to gain the experience, knowledge, and reputation necessary to take the next step with confidence.
2) Proprietary information to reduce the risk of each new initiative. Gather and generate proprietary information that produces a depth of insight into the customer's needs and activities that traditional suppliers cannot match. This will make you a supplier of choice, reducing bidding volatility and allow you to plan with greater certainty.
3) Double betting to minimize the risk of obsolescence. When several versions of a new technology are competing to become the standard, it's impossible to predict which will prevail. So smart managers make double bets. Betting on both Windows and OS/2 positioned Microsoft to be the winner, regardless of which operating system prevailed.

Traditional risk management seeks to contain losses. But that's just one-half of the growth equation. By embracing strategic risk, Cardinal, JCI, and other risk-savvy companies have raised their growth potential in addition to reducing their economic volatility. That's important at a time when aggregate market growth is sluggish: The biggest risk of all is not to take the right growth risks for the business.
leaps_of_faith  Adrian_J._Slywotzky  risk-taking  proprietary  sequencing  scuttlebutt  information  growth  strategic_thinking  Mercer  Oliver_Wyman  product_launches  nonpublic  low_growth  slow_growth  insights  customer_insights  value_destruction  disruption  insurance  new_products  obsolescence  countermeasures  volatility  customer_risk  one-of-a-kind  hedging  overly_cautious  risk-aversion  de-risking  double_betting  risk-management  bull_markets  customer_relationships  dark_data  risk-savvy  internal_controls  financial_risk  risks 
june 2012 by jerryking
Markets Information
Fresh Produce Alliance
www.freshproducealliance.com
markets  information  farming  agriculture  Canadian  Ontario  pricing  decision_making 
may 2012 by jerryking
Google carrying real-time data from EU exchanges
Associated Press | Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Google's real-time stock quotes are a potential threat to financial information providers such the Thomson Reuters Corp. and Bloomberg L.P., which earn revenue through the provision of up-to-second market data to traders and analysts. Units of Reuters and Bloomberg compete with The Associated Press.

In an email, Google said it was trying to "provide consumers with the best information as quickly as possible."
data  competingonanalytics  stockmarkets  EU  Thomson_Reuters  Bloomberg  Google  disruption  information  information_flows  real-time  financial_data 
february 2012 by jerryking
Crovitz: Unilateral Information Disarmament - WSJ.com
MAY 9, 2011
Unilateral Information Disarmament
Could Osama have been found under Obama's rules?
By L. GORDON CROVITZ

"The war on terror is an arms race for information. Terrorists must keep
their plans, weapons and sleeper cells secret. Prevention requires
knowing about plans before they are carried out....To his credit, CIA
Director Leon Panetta acknowledges that now-prohibited interrogations
played a key role. Mr. Panetta last week said that the agency had "used
these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of these
detainees," adding that "whether we would have gotten the same
information through other approaches I think is always going to be an
open question." Mr. Panetta's immediate predecessor, Michael Hayden, has
estimated that half the agency's knowledge about al Qaeda came from
interrogations of several dozen terrorists.
arms_race  OBL  L._Gordon_Crovtiz  information  Leon_Panetta  CIA  interrogations 
may 2011 by jerryking
Take a page from spy manuals: Grade your informers
September 9, 2006 | Globe & Mail | AVNER MANDELMAN. If
you invest like a sleuth you need informers -- the better they are, the
better your chance of making money. But how to separate good information
sources from the mediocre and the bad? After all, info and advice are
everywhere -- brokers' analysts, newspaper columnists, industry experts,
and best of all, corporate personnel and customers who know the real
score. Lots of sources, not much time to digest them all....view
informers as intelligence sources and grade their performance, as
intelligence services grade theirs. Just how do professional
intelligence services manage it? Here we must go into the realm of
hearsay. The best intelligence services, it is said, rank their
informers by two categories. First is the informer's reliability, based
on his or her record. Second is the informer's own confidence in this
particular info. The first "letter grade" is given by the case officer
-- the agent-runner; the second by the agent.
Avner_Mandelman  security_&_intelligence  information  informants  grading  spycraft  performance  rankings  reliability  confidence_levels  information_sources  assessments_&_evaluations  intelligence_analysts 
may 2011 by jerryking
Designing a Better Presidential Daily Brief
May 4, 2004| Wall Street Journal pg. B.1| by Jessica Mintz.
"Graphic designers who specialize in written communications have been
trying to get the point that documents should be easy to scan to find
the main point. "Information architects," as they are also known, say
far too many e-mails, memos and presentations make the same design
mistake the original PDB did, burying the point behind...a "giant wall
of text." Instead, documents should highlight key data using clear
titles and subtitles; large, readable fonts; bullet points and shorter
paragraphs more conducive to skimming."
design  POTUS  Communicating_&_Connecting  PDB  Edward_Tufte  visualization  information  briefing  memoranda 
september 2009 by jerryking
Easy Credit and the Depression - WSJ.com
MAY 5, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | by L. GORDON CROVITZ.
Judge Richard Posner's "A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of '08 and
the Descent into Depression". Explains behavior that looks irrational in
retrospect shows that it was logical, based on incentives at the time.
Prevention requires regulators with access to public and private
information to track systemic risk and clear, predictable rules for how
the Federal Reserve and other regulators would respond to various risk
situations.
L._Gordon_Crovtiz  economic_downturn  Richard_A._Posner  risks  book_reviews  credit  predictability  failure  U.S._Federal_Reserve  regulators  incentives  information  information_flows  irrationality  systemic_risks  causality  public_information  private_information  hindsight  rules-based 
may 2009 by jerryking
Pandemics and Poor Information - WSJ.com
MAY 11, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | by L. GORDON CROVITZ.
Whenever there's a threat of epidemic, alongside early deaths comes the casualty of information. Asian governments at least learned from their recent experience of bird flu and SARS the importance of not covering up outbreaks. The still open question is how to assess warnings that health professionals make based on inadequate information. Almost by definition, the risk of an epidemic occurs when the one thing disease experts know for sure is that they don't know for sure what will happen.
"What new information would be sufficient to change your decision?"

Alexander's question (AKA 'Dr. Alexander's question') is a question used to uncover assumptions and associations that may be confusing your judgment. Asking what information would be needed to change your mind can help bring faulty reasoning to light, and it can also point out what facts you should be researching before committing yourself and others to a course of action.

The uncertainty about the longer-term threat of the current swine flu is a
reminder that nature is more complex than mathematical models.Scientific
hypotheses can then be tested, but this approach has limits when it
comes to predictions.
"Alexander's Question," named for a physician who had posed a canny
question of his fellow experts: What information might make the group
change its mind about the need for immunization? Focusing on it would
have led to more focus on uncertainties: the trade-off between side
effects and flu, the difference between the severity of the flu and its
spread, and the choice between mandatory vaccinations and stockpiling in
case of later need. Decision makers should ask themselves what new
"knowns" would change their views.
pandemics  epidemics  risk-assessment  L._Gordon_Crovtiz  information_flows  information  decision_making  immunization  critical_thinking  uncertainty  assumptions  questions  Dr.Alexander's_Question  information_gaps  hidden  latent  facts  change_your_mind  problem_framing  tradeoffs  flu_outbreaks  side_effects  vaccines  stockpiles  information-poor  CDC  unknowns 
may 2009 by jerryking
visualcomplexity.com | A visual exploration on mapping complex networks
Manuel Lima, the founder of the information graphics website
Visual Complexity, believes "One of the big challenges we face now is
dealing with all the data around us, and finding ways to make it
useful."
visualization  graphics  mapping  networks  data  inspiration  design  information  complexity 
april 2009 by jerryking
Visualizing the Economic Stimulus
Feb 13, 2009 at 11:49 AM |Fast Company| by Cliff Kuang

Manuel Lima, the founder of the information graphics website, Visual Complexity,
visualization  design  information  Edward_Tufte  Cliff_Kuang  graphics 
april 2009 by jerryking
Seeking an Edge, Big Investors Turn to Network of Informants - WSJ.com
NOVEMBER 27, 2006 WSJ article by LAURIE P. COHEN profiling Mark
Gerson and his research firm, Gerson Lehrman. The firm is an
information broker to hedge funds and private-equity firms. These
private investment firms, which are loosely regulated, have Gerson
Lehrman Group, for information they hope will provide them with an
investing edge
research  investing  information  Gerson_Lehrman  proprietary  inequality_of_information  scuttlebutt  due_diligence  expert_networks  market_intelligence  slight_edge  private_information 
march 2009 by jerryking
Information Wants to Be Expensive - WSJ.com
FEBRUARY 23, 2009 WSJ op-ed by L. GORDON CROVITZ arguing that newspapers need to act like they're worth something.


Time magazine published a cover story earlier this month headlined "How to Save Your Newspaper." In it, former Time Managing Editor Walter Isaacson noted how odd it is to charge for subscriptions in print but not online. "Even an old print junkie like me has quit subscribing to the New York Times, because if it doesn't see fit to charge me for its content, I'd feel like a fool paying for it. This is not a business model that makes sense."......People are happy to pay for news and information however it's delivered, but only if it has real, differentiated value. Traders must have their Bloomberg or Thomson Reuters terminal. Lawyers wouldn't go to court without accessing the Lexis or West online service..........By 2007, the Journal's Web site had reached one million paying subscribers who value full access and convenient navigation to its unique business news. Another 20 million people each month read Journal articles made available free. Likewise, the Financial Times and ESPN generate significant online revenues from subscribers, along with free content. So do consumer services such as Consumer Reports and Zagat. Steve Jobs proved we'll pay up to $1 for digital songs on iTunes, and Amazon's Kindle established $10 as reasonable for a digital book. .........For years, publishers and editors have asked the wrong question: Will people pay to access my newspaper content on the Web? The right question is: What kind of journalism can my staff produce that is different and valuable enough that people will pay for it online?..........newspaper journalists still report the key local news. American Lawyer founder Steven Brill argues that "local newspapers are the best brands, and people will pay a small amount to get information -- whether it be a zoning board or a Little League game -- that they can't get anywhere else." A few local newspapers, such as the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, charge for access online, knowing their news can't be found elsewhere...........When author Stewart Brand coined the expression "Information wants to be free," he focused on how technology makes it cheap and easy to communicate and share knowledge. But the rest of his quote is rarely noticed.

This says, "Information also wants to be expensive." The right information in today's complex economy and society can make a huge difference in our professional and personal lives. Not having this information can also make a big difference, especially if someone else does have it. And for valuable information, online is a great new way for it to be valued.
asking_the_right_questions  Bloomberg  brands  differentiation  digital_media  information  iTunes  journalism  L._Gordon_Crovtiz  Lexis  local_journalism  newspapers  op_ed  questions  Steve_Jobs  Steven_Brill  Stewart_Brand  subscriptions  Thomson_Reuters  TIME_Inc.  traders  Walter_Isaacson 
february 2009 by jerryking
Battle Stations - Sunoco's Peter Whatnell talks about how IT departments can help their companies succeed in tough times
Dec. 8, 2008 WSJ interview of Sunoco's Peter Whatnell by Ben
Worthen. The source of competitive advantage is knowing how IT can help
your business. You should to be able to ask any CIO: Are you able to
describe in three minutes or less how your company makes money? To me
that's where it starts. And the answer isn't "we're in retail" or "we're
in the insurance business" or "we're an oil company," because everyone
is in retail or the insurance business or is an oil company.....We have three measures when we are looking to approve a project: First, what does this project do to support the company's strategy. The second is what is the business case. And the third is around risk. One of the components we look at under risk is organizational change. The more change that a project would introduce, the more risky we consider the project. That doesn't mean that you don't do it, but the attention you give to the change-management activities has to be far higher.
information  technology  competitive_advantage  Ben_Worthen  change_management  change  Sunoco  think_threes  corporate  CIOs  IT  hard_times  value_creation  organizational_change  risk-assessment 
february 2009 by jerryking
Information Age: Bad News Is Better Than No News - WSJ.com
Jan. 26, 2009 WSJ column by L. Gordon Crovitz focuses on the
role that information gaps have played in fomenting the financial
crisis.
L._Gordon_Crovtiz  risks  news  VaR  crisis  information  uncertainty  information_gaps  bad_news 
january 2009 by jerryking
Cargill's Inside View Helps It Buck Downturn
Jan 14, 2009, WSJ article on Cargill.

"Cargill freely acknowledges it strives to profit from that information.
"When we do a good job of assimilating all those seemingly unrelated
facts," says Greg Page, Cargill's chief executive, in a rare interview,
"it provides us an opportunity to make money...without necessarily
having to make directional trades, i.e., outguess the weather, outguess
individual governments."
CEOs  Cargill  business_development  market_intelligence  scuttlebutt  insider_information  information  information_flows  commodities  grains  farming  agriculture 
january 2009 by jerryking
Information Haves and Have-Nots - WSJ.com
Sept. 22, 2008 | Wall Street Journal | by L. Gordon Crovitz.
Piece on the ramifications of not having access to good information has
had on pricing securities. No one asks the right questions as research
analysts desert Wall Street.
======================================
...The credit crunch can be reduced to a single word. Not "greed," which also exists in stable markets. The word is "information," the absence of which has put taxpayers on the hook for billions, ruined Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, and led to the fire sale of Merrill Lynch and AIG. The continuing absence of information about the true value of underlying securities means no one knows when the market has hit a new normal for the important purpose of rebuilding.

Why did so many smart people at so many top firms make dodgy investments? Why were there so many unknown unknowns, now at least becoming known unknowns? One explanation is the absence of warnings from research analysts. For decades, the large Wall Street brokerages had armies of analysts who, when they did their jobs right, asked the hard questions and issued tough reports that often alerted both company executives and public investors to market-moving issues.

There are now about half as many Wall Street analysts as in 2000......."Research analysts have gone the way of high-button shoes and buggy whips." Alas, unknown risks have not. The now-former senior executives at Bear Stearns, Lehman and Merrill must wish they had been able to retain all their star banking analysts. Those analysts just might have waved enough red flags -- in public or even in the hallways of the banks themselves -- to alert management to risks in their portfolios......a few of those analysts left these Wall Street firms for the "buy side," such as hedge funds, which keep their research proprietary, for their own trading. Predictably, it was well-informed short sellers at these firms who first alerted the market to the true value of credit derivatives and other mispriced instruments by driving down shares of firms such as Lehman.

At a time when real understanding is at a premium, we're increasingly in a world of information haves and have-nots......A corollary is that proprietary information will be more valuable than ever, giving well-informed traders an even bigger edge.

What's the solution? The temporary ban on short selling of financial firms will have the unintended effect of worsening the information gap. Professionals will perform the equivalent of short selling through nontransparent instruments and markets, leaving individual investors to be guided by public share prices that no longer reflect all known information......Part of the answer came in news earlier this month that Credit Suisse will make macroeconomic research from its analysts available to noninvestor clients of Gerson Lehrman Group, a powerful force in the world of independent research such as for hedge funds. Equity researchers from Credit Suisse joined the some 200,000 expert consultants that Gerson Lehrman has attracted to its network.......Clients of Gerson Lehrman pay hefty fees to tap this deep knowledge through one-on-one phone calls and meetings. Serving these clients will help Credit Suisse fund its 700-person research department.

When Gerson Lehrman launched a decade ago, it was to serve the deep information needs of investors in highly technical areas such as health and biotechnology. As Wall Street analysts began to leave the scene, it brought on experts in virtually every industry globally, with 150 research managers to help clients conduct more than 10,000 consultations monthly. These are often on arcane topics, such as the likely growth in salmon farming in Norway, or the odds of success for a particular drug trial. Perhaps some research was even done on, say, the proper pricing of derivatives.

Regulators can try to put genies back in bottles, but complex financial instruments that, when properly used, create value will only become more commonplace. Innovation will also be required for better-informed markets. By recruiting a huge number of experts and using online social-media tools to connect them to clients, firms like Gerson Lehrman can bring information, knowledge and insights to the people who most value and need it.
arcane  asking_the_right_questions  buy_side  equity_research  expert_networks  financial_instruments  Gerson_Lehrman  hedge_funds  information  information_gaps  information-poor  information-rich  L._Gordon_Crovtiz  market_intelligence  proprietary  regulators  research_analysts  selling_off  short_selling  uncertainty  unintended_consequences  unknowns  Wall_Street 
january 2009 by jerryking

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