Sumit Sharma

Is analytics an art or a science?

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I’ve already written about how Facebook could do a much better job at providing me relevant information and as I increasingly ignore whatever ads that Facebook presents to me on my homepage I ask the question of Facebook, and other large hoarders of data (they know who you are…): whats the point of protecting your data? Wouldn’t it be that much more helpful if analytics were applied, not just to Facebook’s silo’d data, but to Facebook+Amazon.com+Google data for example? Perhaps, the pressures to produce revenue are clouding the minds of the product managers and marketers and inhibiting a purer, more deliberate effort, at providing relevance. Right now, this wave of advertising gains through silo’d data is well and high, but it is my humble prediction that unless more intelligent analytical decisions are made, this (dare I say) bubble of advertisers’ excitement of Facebook’s internal analytics applied on their own internal protected data will give way to that next new start-ups innovative way of applying analytics to a much broader set of data. I’m being dramatic I know Facebook won’t drop the ball, but you hopefully get my point….

Sometimes I wonder what is needed more: Statisticians or Psychologists? In my opinion, I think its an art, and so psychological analysis will entail how humans behave, why and probe deeper into our behavior which will be the foundation for providing …relevant material to us, and of course to influence serendipity. So hopefully all these incumbent search engines, content aggregators and friends realize that one day, people are going to get tired and frustrated with the imperfect results in terms of relevance of data and information and begin to share APIs and their protected valuable data which I think will continue to lose value and hold back innovation. So, in essence the emergence of search engines and content aggregators may be the start of a sort of bubble (how big this bubble gets remains to be seen) – my prediction is that once this bubble bursts we’ll see headless chickens running around (those that didn’t put a lot of effort into creating relevance through using creative analytics and appropriate metadata filters) and the strong survivors will be those that have gotten their analytics right by putting in artistic and creative effort  and in trying to aggregate as much data as possible from as many APIs as possible.

So to all those that feel that Facebook and Google have already won the game, I strongly disagree…yes they’ve got volume and hence plenty of traction, but sources of disruption never care about how big the incumbents are…lets see…

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Written by Sumit

February 8, 2010 at 5:18 am

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