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The Future of Statistics….. Back to the Basics

THE FUTURE OF STATISTICS…BACK TO THE BASICS

August 11, 2014

Last fall, Simply Statistics held an interesting panel discussion on the future of statistics and data analytics. Overall, I thought the discussion had a lot of great insights and gave an idea of where analytics is headed in the near future. This post explores some key-takeaways and implications.

1. We’re gaining the ability to do large scale experiments (think 6 degrees of separation at a massive scale). This will allow us to better understand the cause and effects of different actions.

2. Data analysis is about telling stories. It involves seeing a problem, using analysis to understand its moving parts, and expressing the findings through visuals or models that are easy to understand.

3. There is a growing synthesis between statistics and computer science. The ability to prep and build models to solve real-world problems is becoming a valued skill set.

4. More and more people are expected to become comfortable with using data analysis tools or at least be critical consumers of data (i.e. can interpret results and gauge the quality of the analysis).

5. More data is becoming available to the public every day. This will improve our ability to discover and share insights, review data quality, and synthesize different data sources to understand the bigger picture.

“Currently, large scale analytics is great at predictions but poor at inference.”

In many ways, this stresses the importance of fundamentals. For instance, if you shop at Amazon, you’ll notice that it recommends other items to purchase. This recommendation is based on your search and purchasing history as well as those of people who purchased that item. This is basically a traditional customer profile but on steroids.

Making recommendations is essentially a “prediction” problem and while making recommendations is great, it doesn’t tell us “how likely” your are to actually purchase those items (which is really what businesses want to know). That question is an “inference” problem and has more to do with the level of confidence we have in our tools and models.

From my personal experience, inferences are a fundamental part of good analysis. Looking at relationships and associations between different variables is where analytics offers true insight. The fact that large scale analytics have not matured the ability to make inferences tells me this is really where focus is needed.

This development is particularly interesting for the future of retail analytics. Using indicators like p-values, confidence intervals, and coefficients, can help us better understand the connections between different products.

For instance, lets say we have excess inventory of red shirts that we need to sell. A predictive model will show all the things people purchased with red shirts. Inferences will show which of those relationships are significant and how strong is the relationship.
In other words, we might find that people who bought blue jeans and Nikes were the most likely to buy red shirts. We can then target that demographic with discounts and increase overall sales.

At the end of the day it’s all about looking at data from different perspectives, finding interesting insights and trends, and translating those insights into reliable actions that enhance our relationships with customers, keep inventory moving, and improve the flow of revenue.

Needls : Get Notified of Leads in Real Time

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We had an interesting chat with Mr. “Justin Hartzman”, Founder and CEO – of the Toronto – Canada based start-up “Needls.”

Below is the interview we conducted with him:

1- What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?

 

Along with my partners Jeremy Poriah and Michael Koral, I’m one of the co-founders of needls.com. I’m also the company’s CEO. What needls does is find and deliver targeted relationship-based sales leads in real time to our users. They choose their target keywords (they can come up with their own or choose from amongst our many suggested keywords) and the needls proprietary algorithm scours Twitter and Facebook and finds them potential new customers. Needls users are notified of these leads in real time (or in daily roundup notifications if they prefer) and can then reach out to close a sale long before anyone else is aware of the prospect. To sum it up, needls monitors social media networks and alerts you instantly when someone is looking for the kind of services or goods you can provide and allows you to easily contact these prospective clients.

 

2- When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at? [Read more…]

Bankymybiz : Matching Network of Business Owners and Lenders

http://www.new2nytours.com/

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We had an interesting chat with Mr. “Nathan DauSchmidt”, COO of the Madison – US based start-up “Bankmybiz”

Below is the interview we conducted with him:

1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?

Bankmybiz.com is a matching network of business owners and lenders. We save business owners time and help get them the financing they need by informing them about which funding products they qualify for and then connecting the business owners directly with local and national lenders.

2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at? [Read more…]

New 2 NY Tours : Tour Guide in NY

http://www.new2nytours.com/

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We had an interesting chat with Ms. “Pamela Fisher”, Co-Founder of the US based start-up “New2NYTours”

Below is the interview we conducted with her:

 

1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about? 

I am a certified tour guide in NYC and offer my guests “outside the box, off the beaten path” walking tours to see how the coals live in NYC. we do not see the typical tourist attractions, but instead go to the heart of each neighborhood and talk about the culture, the food, and the people that make NYC so unique.

2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at? [Read more…]

Virally helps marketers track and amplify their content marketing.

http://virallyapp.com

 

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We had a quick chit chat with Mr. Alex Clifford; Marketing Executive at VirallyApp

Many companies invest in content marketing e.g. blogs, guides, white-papers and infographics. But many marketers don’t know how to prove its ROI. They can’t show how their content has helped customers make a purchase.

Virally tracks ‘who’ has seen ‘which’ pieces of content, so marketers can measure the impact of their content marketing. Virally helps marketers justify the budget they have spent on producing content.

Virally encourages viral sharing, which helps content reach a much larger audience. When a visitor downloads a piece of content such as a white-paper, Virally gives the visitor an option to make a status update about it.

Virally works by using social logins to trace visitors’ interaction with pieces of content. Marketers now know more about their leads.

This is extremely powerful when integrated into CRM and email marketing software. Virally integrates into Salesforce and Mailchimp to help marketers and sales people understand their leads more, and guide them through their sales cycle. Then this extra data from Virally helps them ultimately make more sales.

 

100% Free. You invited to join our new Ethical Businesses Catalogue!

The International Business Standards Organization (IBSO) invites you to be one of the first participants in a free project meant to promote sustainable and positive business practices with an emphasis on social and environmental values.
By joining the Worldwide Charter for Fair International Commerce, you can make a formal statement of your organization’s support for a fair and ethical worldwide business community.
As a participating organization, you will be listed in our online Signatories Catalogue and can display Charter Signatory logo on your website to publicly demonstrate your commitment to mindful business practices. Join the new Global Initiative and let us promote your company for free!
www.standardizations.org/charter
Regards, IBSO Team

The Briefcase : Tool That Exposes Students To All Jobs

http://briefca.se/

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We had an interesting chat with Mr. “Caleb Philippi”, Co-Founder of the US based start-up “TheBriefcase”

Below is the interview we conducted with him:

 

1- What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?

Briefcase provides colleges with a tool that exposes students to all jobs relevant to their individual career paths, while maintaining a clean, easy to use platform. The Briefcase platform also gives school administration a way to monitor student experiences and gain valuable insight into their students’ career aspirations through understandable metrics.

2-When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at? [Read more…]

VaporWare : Building, Testing, and Running Lean Cloud Software

http://vaporwa.re/

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We had an interesting chat with Ms. “Jeff Schroeder”, Co-Founder of the US based start-up “vaporware”

Below is the interview we conducted with him:

1.    What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?

Vaporware is a company that specializes in building, testing and running lean cloud software.  We help our clients learn from each iteration of development that we do, which we integrate into the next iteration. We work closely with a variety of community experts, to ensure we are providing all the services you need. For example, we can create an app that provides business process automation.

2.    When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?    [Read more…]