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Posts Tagged ‘big data’

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 have been learning a lot about digital advertising and mobile as my interest in music has expanded into video and media more generally.  Along the way, I’ve been struck by the resemblance the evolving digital advertising space bears to the early days of electronic trading on Wall Street (naturally, I’m also not the first to make this connection).

I thought I would try unpacking the analogy a bit here to see how well it holds up and whether there are any lessons that could be learned from the equities markets.  (This thought exercise takes up some space so for those so inclined, I’ve made it easy to skip to just the predictions and/or the lessons.)  For an interesting read on the advent of electronic trading, I highly recommend Michael Lewis’s Flash Boys – very entertaining, even for someone like myself who lived it first hand.

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