Latest Read: Keeping Up with the Quants

Have been looking forward to Tom Davenport’s Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics for longer than I care to admit. I throughly enjoyed his book Competing on Analytics all the way back in 2008. His followup Big Data@Work provides the same scope for business regarding the emerging era of Big Data.
Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics Tom has truly mastered the role of business analytics for well over two decades. He is acknowledged as revealing the path of metrics and just as important how success can be defined by adopting a mindset of analytics over intuition. It should be no surprise that I am a big fan of Tom Davenport.

Seems like a lifetime ago in the competitive and fast changing world of analytics. Quantitative analysis with a side of regression is not a diner order but a key skill to identify patterns in data.

An easy read with great common sense approaches for leaders to understand and professionals to embrace it proves not only how business gains insights but how to defend Kobe Bryant.

On the heels of reading Nate Silver’s bestseller The Signal and the Noise, Davenport reveals how quants have not only broken down NBA basketball defensive measures to each quarter when playing Bryant and the Lakers but how to guard him in a last possession game scenario.
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Latest read: Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Wharton’s Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner is another great read addressing analytics, human behavior and analytic technologies for establishing and sharpening forecasting abilities for any organization.

superforecasting the art and science of predictionThe book title is a wonderful attention grabber for me that demonstrates we live in the era of big data with business driving the age of immediacy.

Superforecasting acknowledges data lessons supplied by Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise as helping to define standards to data and how it misled the national media.

Yet just into the second chapter Tetlock and Gardner point to the research by Daniel Kahneman excellent work Thinking Fast and Slow to help determine behaviors shaped over time that have fundamentally changed how we predict success.
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Introducing the AWS IoT cloud

The emerging IoT developer community received a much anticipated jolt of news when Amazon finally announced new enterprise services dedicated to the AWS IoT cloud launch at their 2015 re:Invent conference.
AWS IoT Cloud PlatformThis new AWS IoT cloud service will permit web based interfaces to manage IoT events from various devices: sensors, wearables, drones, and of course mobile tools and apps around an established AWS ecosystem.

The AWS IoT cloud emerges as Amazon’s long term platform following the SalesForce Thunder platform announced last month. Both vendors look to establish key IoT cloud solutions in the corporate enterprise space. They join Cisco’s IoT, Microsoft’s Azure IoT, Oracle’s Movintracks along side GE’s energy launch of Current IoT. The race is now on to process millions of data events from light bulbs to dishwashers and cars over the MQTT protocol and process those messages in their respective clouds.

Amazon is leveraging 11 services around their IoT Cloud strategy to include existing AWS services: Kinesis, Redshift, S3, SNS, SQS, ML, DynamoDB and Lambda. A key investment to this strategy was the recent acquisition of 2lemetry, a IoT enterprise company tuned for transforming raw data from IoT devices onto their ThingFabric platform.
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LMSaaS

Over breakfast this weekend at a popular farmhouse two high school teachers sat next to me to discuss how their respective LMS solutions made teaching difficult. Both were from wealthy suburbs outside Milwaukee. What really peaked my interest was hearing how one spent over 45 minutes trying to add polling for in-class feedback.
LMSaaSI helped lead the adoption of a Moodle LMS at a private Wisconsin college in 2007 that is still in use today and also had the pleasure of attending a conference at UW-Madison with Martin Dougiamas the founder of Moodle.

Yet over that breakfast I was intrigued by their difficulty with all things LMS for the upcoming school year. Frustration ranged from how one teacher received no LMS training (poll example above) while the second teacher spoke about her district migrating to a new LMS vendor over the summer.

Of course no technology discussion can avoid a teacher mentioning K12 servers going offline for hours during the school day making their teaching even more difficult. Seems like teachers have a lot to confront on a daily basis in delivering education to a classroom of twenty plus students. A local LMS run from an empty closet is no longer acceptable.
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Latest read: Learning with Big Data – The Future of Education

Big Data has changed education forever. Learning with Big Data reveals If your school has not fully embraced big data you should consider moving your child’s education elsewhere. In higher education its fully integrated across the institution from the admissions office all the way through the office of alumni relations.
Learning with Big Data – The Future of EducationThis short e-read builds upon the success of Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think released in 2013. This book is not about MOOCs, but does dedicate pages to the background and success of Khan Academy.

Authors Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation from Oxford and Kenneth Cukier from The Economist introduce Learning with Big Data by way of the role of machine learning at Stanford. The course is taught by Andrew Ng, cofounder of Coursera.

Ng has brought to the globe the ability to teach a world class curriculum in machine learning from California to students in Tibet. In many ways this very idea is threatening to close minded administrators sitting in their siloed office.

The focus in this special book is how big data, which reveals to educators what works and what does not is reforming education. The ability today to interactively track the performance of each individual student in real time throughout the semester can make a big difference because the data drives how focused, dedicated administrators can more effectively budget extremely tight dollars in guiding a campus forward.
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Latest read: Too Big to Ignore The Business Case for Big Data

Phil Simon’s book Too BIG to IGNORE: The Business Case for Big Data is another well written primer for Big Data in business. The focus is NOT the programmer’s dilemma of Hadoop vs. NoSQL vs NewSQL. Simon richly documents how Big Data has forever changed business and society.
Too Big to Ignore The Business Case for Big DataThe core message of Too BIG to IGNORE: for the first time we have a very inexpensive ability to data mine a wealth of information. Organizations that tap into this new capability can execute their business more accurately than ever before. However Simon also acknowledges the obvious fact that companies must understand the format of their data while the leadership understands the benefits of pushing big data solutions throughout the organization.

Too BIG to IGNORE begins by telling about the success of MoneyBall by noted author Michael Lewis. Too Big to Ignore reveals how sports franchises exploit data to win on the field and for the worse how Las Vegas casinos have been using A/B testing to pinch every penny out of their best customers. Probably the best but sad example. Similar to the approach by other authors addressing Big Data the focus is on the explosion of data from Google, Facebook, Apple and Netflix as the smartphone and wireless technologies began to change society in ways that drive unstructured data well beyond traditional structured environments.

Simon walks through the history of big data from Web2.0 to Predictive Analytics and touches The Internet of Things. Simon address the tool Hadoop lightly enough as to not scare off any non-database programmer to understand how this free tool is used by Yahoo, Google, Facebook and Apple just to name a few successful highly profiled companies. The growth of Hadoop and the emerging role of Cloudera is addressed in greater detail for the non-technical audience.

Latest Read: Actionable Intelligence: A Guide to Delivering Business Results with Big Data Fast!

Actionable Intelligence: A Guide to Delivering Business Results with Big Data Fast! falls into the must read category for leaders of any organization. Actionable Intelligence is in the Lean model well beyond the vanity metrics that so many leaders have embraced. Lessons on implementing a secure framework comes from lessons including Estee Lauder, Procter & Gamble, Lifetime Brands and the CIA. Yes the CIA.
Actionable Intelligence: A Guide to Delivering Business Results with Big Data Fast!Reading this book I have found tested lessons by Keith B. Carter regarding the lack of Actionable Intelligence in many organizations. The start always seems to be the lack of organized data and determining which is the most pressing to actually use in order to be successful in a fast changing world.

Maybe his most powerful work revolves around how executives at any company (or university) even question the value of actionable intelligence regardless of the tools already in place. Too many silo examples reinventing the wheel while overlooking the need to understand their own data reporting methods.

Sustaining delivery of actionable intelligence by the evolution from Dashboards to Cockpits. IMHO to many university leaders are just beginning to understand the Dashboard and their tools miss the Cockpit opportunities.

Business lessons alone describe how to mine actionable intelligence prove the validity of this book. Lessons from Estee Lauder include how the company was able to leverage secure data reporting in order to adjust following the powerful Japanese earthquake and tsunami that triggered the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. And in some ways Carter points to a crisis in order for executives to embrace actionable intelligence:

People do not trust data, they trust other people and their opinion of the data. So when the data owners, the people who input the data and/or use it, raise their hands and say, “This data is good; I trust it,” that will make it more likely for other people in the organization to believe it. It also means that it’s clear. It’s not just that they trust it from the point that 1 + 1 = 2. It is also clear how the data has to be used, and the definition of the data is clear.

Carter helps breakdown the old data principle “People don’t trust data – they trust other people.” Its true. Estee Lauder’s use of actionable intelligence is such that every organization should be striving towards in order to stay competitive.

Latest read: Big Data Using smart big data analytics and metrics to make better decisions and improve performance

There is nothing boring in the established insights and support for Big Data Using smart big data analytics and metrics to make better decisions and improve performance.
Big Data Using smart big data analytics and metrics to make better decisions and improve performanceRead one big data book you’ve read them all right? Not so fast. This book reveals how a well planned understanding of your business can better embrace select data sets for your company, organization or school to not only remain competitive but thrive in the new global economy.

For all of the Big Data blogs, books and white papers that I have read Big Data by Bernard Marr is one of the better written books. Many will benefit from this knowledge.

Bernard Marr’s challenge continues to be what most senior managers do not understand about Big Data. And he does an admirable job in chapter six: Transforming Business. There are so many examples of how Big Data can actually re-define your objectives, but many are surrounded by a sales approach I recall from work Apple’s Michael Mace.

Michael was Director of Competitive Analysis at Apple and eloquently addressed FUD at a sales conference in the 90s. The same lessons apply today regarding Big Data. FUD is Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt.
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Latest read: Numbers Rule Your World

I have enjoyed Kaiser Fung‘s blog JunkCharts for some time. He provides insight regarding data visualizations. His book Numbers Rule Your World: The Hidden Influence of Probabilities and Statistics on Everything You Do reveals how statistics and data mining find insights too good to pass up. Numbers make good stories even more compelling.

Numbers Rule Your WorldKaiser Fung takes an excellent approach to confirming that data analysis is now key to improving outcomes and discovering insights.

Fung outlines the use of big data analysis to solve five problems:

1. Fast Passes/Slow Merges: managing traffic patterns by the Minnesota DOT. This chapter reveals how frustrating statisticians can become when confronting politicians who ignore data.

2. Bagged Spinach/Bad Score tracked a deadly E. coli outbreak that caused three deaths across 23 states.

3. Item Bank/Risk Pool is a fascinating chapter about Florida insurance policies. Hurricane seasons come and go and yet an established city mayor and established businessman could not maintain an ongoing insurance business even with years of experience in state government. I found this chapter interesting to discover how the state games the insurance system say for say….Hurricane Wilma. For Higher Education this chapter also reveals Admissions related stories that are most interesting when compared to hospital billing. Fung also brings into focus the Golden Rule lawsuit that successfully charged discrimination against minority applicants in the insurance industry.
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Latest read: The Changing Role of the CIO

We live in a world of constant change in IT. O’Reilly’s The Changing Role of the CIO provides a foundation regarding Big Data for any IT team and every manager, executive or board member. Today if your not embracing change your getting run over by it whether you know it or not.

The Changing Role of the CIO From the corporate boardroom to the campus research lab we indeed are undergoing a fundamental paradigm shift in our digital lives.

Without a doubt it is also an educational shift. Questions of Excel cubesets in a world of unstructured big data analytics will be a much needed training opportunity not for your IT team but actually or your entire workforce.

The Changing Role of the CIO is about the opportunities to engage your IT team over data. Today data is fueling actionable analytics not just vanity metrics. The IT team needs to embrace the idea that data is the new oil.

After leading your organization to a cloud solution that eliminates in-house, legacy enterprise systems you never can look back. Helping my organization migrate to a CMS public cloud that reduced just one enterprise service $400,000 annually resulted in our senior leadership never looking at me the same way. You gain a seat at the table.

And due to the nature of the mobile beast, The Changing Role of the CIO shows its now easier than ever to measure quality engagements in real time with your customers. The future of data, how it can be measured, immediately reported within your office or from the other side of world is a game changer.

Latest read: The Numerati

This is not a book about Dan Brown’s character, Robert Langdon and his fight against the Illuminati in Angels & Demons.  This is The Numerati, a slight spin on very advanced mathematics and high performance computing, the future of shopping, medicine, safety, sex, voting and yes …. even work.
the numeratiThe Numerati is a great read regarding the impact of advanced analytics across the board.  I was impressed with mathematicians Baker interviews and the surprising number who eventually work for IBM or the NSA.  Baker has written a book about how the best mathematicians are changing the way we live by processing amazingly vast amounts of data and simply detecting patterns.  The data comes via mouse-clicks, cell phone calls and credit card purchases just to name a few.

It sounds simple.  On the surface with today’s high performance computing and powerful consumer technologies.  But Baker shows how mathematicians are working to draw upon extremely high levels of computational power to deliver products and solutions that will dramatically impact our lives.

At the same time some of the projects mentioned seems more ‘wonderland’ in design. Yet consider the amount of data created by the Large Hadron Collider for example, the emerging world of Big Science is just starting to take off.

Chapters tackle different subjects (mentioned above) and as others. Many have indicated the shopping chapter is the best of the book. It was very enjoyable to read.  Some of the ideas and inventions about health were interesting, some ideas a bit hard to wrap around your brain – like the ability of a floor tile to detect if your elderly father has a change in an existing medical condition.  Another example, how a computer can analyze a sequence of video (over time) and determine in your are prone to suffering Parkinson’s disease.

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Is Google Wave a “failure” ?

I cannot help but share my thoughts about all those who are predicting the stillbirth of Google Wave. Since this topic frequently hits the popular list at del.icio.us more than I care to see, its worth reminding everyone that beta or “limited preview” as Google refers to Wave is just that – a preview of the technology product.

waveinvite2Their only “failure” is the current lack of a wider test audience. Wave has a lot of promise but during it’s current limited preview its simply not as widely available to the average Google user.

Google Maps was a different type of beta release.  Anyone could login and test their mapping features.  Wave is an initial different product and audience.

I know PLENTY of people who want to kick the tires and engage Wave but they do not have an account.

If your not a Google user (Gmail, Docs, Analytics) then you may feel like you must extend your “Yahoo life” in order to test Wave. The same can be said for those who want to test Wave within an organization or company.

Google has been more relaxed about giving away invites.  In early 2009 it was extremely difficult to find an invite.  I noticed that this process turned into a “power struggle” for some who where begging for Wave invites on twitter.

This also makes me wonder if all those tweets about Wave’s failure belong to people who really do not understand the limitations of beta software.

A simple query at amazon.com reveals a number of Wave books are not even shipping yet.  Another Wave book that I’m interested in is also not shipping yet.

Are there any Wave Wave torrents?  So to all those on the cutting bleeding edge: how well do you actually know Wave?  If you need a book to read check out The Complete Guide to Google Wave.

Tags: Google Wave, beta software, Collaboration, email, IM, test audience, limited preview, trends