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User Generated Content

Posted in Amazon, Business Intelligence, Data, Data Mining by Pankaj Gudimella on March 27, 2009

Dave Winer says

The thing I like best about shopping at Amazon are the user comments. They really are good. And I often base purchasing decisions on what the other users say. It got so bad that when I went shopping at Fry’s for some sound equipment I fumbled around until I realized what I was missing was the advice of other shoppers. I did the unfair thing, listened to a bunch of stuff and then went home and bought what I liked and what the others liked, from Amazon.

The gold mine of data Amazon is collecting from its user’s via their reviews has been increasing their bottom line for years’ now. Amazon is very prudent in how it uses this data and provides it to the customer.

Facebook is the other company that is sitting on such a gold mine and will unleash its true potential soon. Here is a piece from Scoble about facebook and Zuckerberg and the phase the business is in.


History of Business Intelligence

Posted in Analytics, Business Intelligence, Microsoft by Pankaj Gudimella on March 26, 2009

A fascinating story from Nic at Microsoft BI

Hat tip:The BI Blog

Business of Excellence

Posted in Harvard by Pankaj Gudimella on March 19, 2009

At a well-known five-star hotel, I asked if I could extend my checkout time by two hours. I was told no; the hotel was full. Unless I paid for a half day; then they’d accommodate me.


If the hotel was full and needed my room, why would it make a difference if I paid them? And if they did have the ability to extend my checkout, why would they charge me? I spoke with the manager. Same answer.

That was the last time I stayed at that hotel franchise.

Contrast that to my recent experience at the Four Seasons in Dallas, TX, a hotel where I’ve stayed several times.

When I arrived I didn’t have to stand in line to check in; the valet simply handed me the key to my room. Which was set-up exactly as I like it: a yoga mat and an exercise schedule on the bed; a bowl of fruit on the table. And they automatically extended my check out time.

I am a customer for life.

More here from Peter Bregman.

Quantitative Easing

Posted in Finance by Pankaj Gudimella on March 18, 2009

Finally the Fed pushed the much dreaded red button today.

Reminds me of the following words from Bill Fleckenstein:

America is now well down the path of trying to print its way to prosperity. Of course, the reason we are trying to print our way to prosperity is because initially, in the late 1990s, we tried to speculate our way to prosperity via the stock bubble. After that didn’t work, we attempted to borrow our way to prosperity during the real-estate bubble.

Those two bubbles ended in the epic disaster of today. Now the United States and other countries will attempt to print their way to prosperity, which also won’t work.

The world at your fingertips

Posted in TED by Pankaj Gudimella on March 17, 2009
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The analytics behind user interface

Posted in Uncategorized by Pankaj Gudimella on March 17, 2009

In 2008, Amazon brought in $19 billion, of which 70% came from media products, such as books, movies, and music. It’s not an accident that these products also make the best use of the reviews feature.

As we’ve watched Amazon customers make purchases on the site, we can clearly see that promoting the most helpful reviews has increased sales in these categories by 20%.(One out of every five customers decides to complete the purchase because of the strength of the reviews.) From this, we can project it has contributed to Amazon’s top line by $2.7 billion.

This is a case of a simple question – asked in the right way at the right time – that can have a dramatic affect on the success of the organization. Simple, subtle design once again proves it has great magical powers (and, in the right circumstances, very lucrative ones).

More from User Interface Engineering here.

NYSE Equities

Posted in Uncategorized by Pankaj Gudimella on March 16, 2009

44% of NYSE Stocks under $10 is Shocking

Louise Yamada talking to Tom Keene on Bloomberg.

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Posted in Presentation by Pankaj Gudimella on March 14, 2009

Presentation skills are very necessary to be a good data miner/business intelligence analyst. A good presenter would have attention to detail, including the typeface used in his presentation. Helvetica is the most widely used sans serif typeface and has been a very popular choice of many corporate wordmarks. Below is a cool periodic table of typefaces created by Squidspot and all the typefaces are ranked on popularity (based on several sources of data) and Helvetica is Number One.


Click here for a full resolution image.

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Systemic Failure

Posted in Finance by Pankaj Gudimella on March 14, 2009

Barry Ritholtz on factors which led to systemic failure

The perfect-storm metaphor is imperfect; rather, what led to the current situation were numerous legislative, ideological, and business decisions that worked together to create a systemic failure. Consider each of the following:

* The Commodities Futures Modernization Act (2000) allowed unregulated derivatives to run wild.
* The repeal of Glass-Steagall (1999) allowed depository banks to become far more intertwined with Wall Street.
* From 2001-03, Fed Chair Alan Greenspan took rates down to unprecedented levels, causing 1) a mad scramble for yield and 2) an enormous housing boom.
* In 2004 the SEC allowed the five big investment banks to leverage up from 12-to-1 to 35-to-1 or more.

Reverse each of the above and the total systemic damage is far, far less. There were several other factors—the changing business model of the ratings agencies from customer-financed research to a form of payola and the misaligned compensation system on Wall Street that pays people for short-term gains despite ongoing long-term risks. There’s a lot more, but I cannot forget the misguided deification of markets—a false belief system that led to a radical deregulatory philosophy that ignored the abdication of lending standards (“Innovative,” said Greenspan) among the subprime lenders.


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Posted in Visualization by Pankaj Gudimella on March 13, 2009

Trillion is the new billion. This is my favourite picture which helps visualize a trillion dollars.

More from Mint.