This quote, from statistician George Box, is one of my favorites, because of its far reaching implications.  It serves as a reminder to me that whether it’s a predictive model written in Python saved in a Jupyter notebook or a mental model based on personal experience and encoded in the wet-ware of my brain, it’s still wrong – in some way and to some degree that I may not be aware of or even able to discern.

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This coming Tuesday, September 12th, I’ll be speaking at Product School in Santa Monica on data’s role in product development.  To help me prepare, I wanted to start exploring the topic first here with a post.  (Writing always helps me to structure my thinking.)

Consider this your preview of what I hope will prove to be an engaging discussion, and if you’re in the LA area, come out to join us in person.  All the details are available through Eventbrite.

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I recently finished a fascinating and provocative book by Jonathan Taplin called Move Fast and Break Things.  Taplin cast the storied tensions between creatives and technologists in a new light and changed my perspective on some contemporary issues such as safe harbor and the so-called YouTube value gap.

Although spiritually I might identify more with creatives, intellectually and professionally I am unquestionably a technologist.  In truth, I fancy myself something of an intermediary, and in this blog, I have often tried to reconcile the disparate interests of the two group.  So after reading Taplin’s book, it seemed only appropriate, once again, to update the views I have expressed here in light of some of the points that he made.

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The recorded music industry has entered a new era.  Paid streaming recently passed a symbolic threshold of 100 million listeners, and with ad supported listening included, streaming now accounts for approximately half of all recorded music revenues in the US. Inflection points are opportune times to revisit old assumptions and update hypotheses for what the future still holds. So with all that in mind, I wanted to look back at some of my older posts, now with the benefit of hindsight, and consider some of the latest tech trends influencing where the music industry is headed in this new era. Continue Reading »

SXSW is in full gear right now in Austin.  As both a Texan and a music fan, SXSW holds a special place for me (and I’m sad to be missing out on the magic).  Jazz Fest in New Orleans is the only thing I’ve experienced that seems to come close to the same magic, and I say that as someone who has been to around 20 different music festivals.

What makes SXSW so unique and great isn’t the headliners.  In many ways, those have been an unwelcome recent addition to the affair.  SXSW is about the undiscovered talent – undiscovered by you, undiscovered by me, and undiscovered by the major labels.

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Long before Steve Jobs or Bill Gates were even twinkles in their fathers’ eyes, the word computer was a job title for someone who computes or performs mathematical calculations.  Depending which online resource you trust most, its use dates back to the 1600’s.  Not until much later, sometime in the 1800’s, did it come to refer to a device rather than a human.  From what I can gather, the word calculator underwent a similar evolution.

I’ve taken you on this little jaunt back in time in part because I’m under the influence of a book that I’m currently reading, Etymologicon, but mostly to make the point that another title – “data scientist” – is likely to follow the same trajectory.

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I’ve taken a long hiatus from posting on here while I immersed myself in the burgeoning world of data and analytics, and today, I’m finally back.  Around the time I left off, I was just starting to explore two new areas of interest: quantitative models as a way to prototypes business model designs and the parallels between programmatic advertising and my former life in algorithmic equities trading.  Both interests quickly converged for me in a new role for me at a marketing analytics company, and soaking up all the knowledge I could has been my focus ever since.

A life not lived isn’t worth examining so I’ve just been living.  Equally true, though, the unexamined life isn’t worth living.  Before this blog, I was in business school, learning as much as I could.  When I entered a period of reflection, this blog became a mechanism by which I continued to evolve my thinking.  I’m entering a new period of reflection with lots of excitement about what’s beginning to percolate.  Stay tuned . . .

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