Old Farts and Their Inefficient Ways


I attended a great lecture by Rayid Ghani yesterday on how Obama has won his presidency by relying on data science. He was chief scientist of Obama's 2012 campaign and the one who was ultimately responsible for the best use of huge data pile that Obama's campaign has gathered on American voters and their habits. By extensive use of data mining and machine learning techniques they have first maximized the amount of donations and, secondly, maximized the impact of the the billion dollars and two million volunteers on the success of the campaign. The success of data-driven decisions is undeniable. Regardless whether we're talking about tech-lead political campaigns, lean start-ups, or baseball the data always trumps intuition or human experience. This is causing huge problems to established political analysts, product managers, and baseball experts who have established their power and influence based on their charisma and not on rigorously proven hypotheses. I have no hope that established players in any industry will adapt to the new world of data. It's just to difficult for them to start doing things in an engineering/scientific way! But if you're a young expert or a manager there's no time like now to overtake your senior collegues. First, learn how to make most of data using many resource available on-line. Second, get your hands on any data available at your company (there's plenty of it lying around). Third, brace yourself for an explosive career!