Monday Links from the Bench vol. CXXIX
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    Default Monday Links from the Bench vol. CXXIX

    The weather threatens to become sunny again. Best to stay indoors and read this lot:
    • Tech Recruiters: I: "Desperate Times", II: "Fear and Loathing", III: "Holding the Fort" - The Kernel with a three-part report on "the questionable business practices of the recruitment industry." There may be a few iffy scams in here that you haven't yet encountered; part II also has a handy list of which companies are part of S3, who get ripped a new one in a comprehensive manner There are more articles on the subject at their Recruitment Report page.

    • Tales from the bushy-topped tree: A Brief Survey of Military Sketching - "This paper looks at an aspect of war art that has rarely been examined : reconnaissance and panorama sketches made by soldiers specially trained in freehand observational drawing. For over 200 years the discipline of field sketching has been an important element in fieldcraft, attracting professional artists (who were forced to learn a range of new technical skills) while giving artistically talented soldiers the opportunity to practice their hands in unusually demanding circumstances." Interesting piece of military history by P.J. Gough, originally published in the Imperial War Museum Review.

    • Walking Ulysses - "Enter into the world of James Joyce's novel, Ulysses, by following its characters as they walk the streets of Dublin on June 16, 1904." Cool map app from Boston College allows you to follow the perambulations in the novel, with a choice of historic or modern mapping.

    • How we reduced our cancellation rate by 87.5% - "I was stressing. We had seen 40% of our customers cancel, and it was eating me up inside." Kareem Mayan explains how he used cohort analysis to discover how to increase customer retention, with exceptional results. May be useful for helping a client, or for your own plan B.

    • This is the Food We'll Eat on Mars - "A crew of scientists and astronauts prepare to feed human colonists on the Red Planet." This Cornell University project includes teaching astronauts how to cook with the limited options available in a spacecraft on a lengthy mission. "Chickenish chunks" for you?

    • It All Began With a Strange Email - Academic economist Yanis Varoufakis explains how he has come to be an advisor to Valve Software on the virtual economies in their MMORPGs: "...the digital community they had facilitated into existence, was an economist’s dream-come-true. Think of it: An economy where every action leaves a digital trail, every transaction is recorded; indeed, an economy where we do not need statistics since we have all the data!"

    • Taster’s Choice: Why I Hate Raw Tomatoes and You Don’t - "I have a confession: I hate raw tomatoes. Really hate them. Really, really hate them. It’s a positively visceral reaction, beyond my conscious control. Even the smell makes me slightly nauseous." Jennifer Ouellette discovers why different people truly cannot tolerate certain foods. (I hate raw tomatoes too.)

    • A game theoretic approach to the toilet seat problem - "The toilet seat problem has been the subject of much controversey. In this paper we consider a simplified model of the toilet seat problem. We shall show that for this model there is an inherent conflict of interest which can be resolved by a equity solution." Good luck applying this solution in the real world...

    • A Scrabble®-Tile Poem - "Each tercet (three lines of iambic pentameter with ABA rhyme scheme) in the poem below is formed from the set of 100 Scrabble® tiles, which consist of 98 letters (including all letters A-Z) plus two blank 'wildcards' that can be assigned any letter. The poem is visually depicted using six sets of Scrabble® tiles, where the two blanks in each set are indicated by red tiles. In this challenge we deem it quite permissable to use different letters for the blanks in each separate set of tiles (each stanza)." Clever piece of work by Mike Keith.

    • Points in Space - "using 1050 individual a0 sized frames with long exposure photography, points in space presents melbournes cbd’s cycles of repetition by responding to the flow of traffic at key intersections." Cool combination of time-lapse and stop-motion animation.


    Happy invoicing!

  2. #2

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    Re. The toilet seat problem. The Cojak household has solved this problem by flushing with the toilet lid down ( the most hygenic method), thereby expecting both parties to lift something and maintain the equity of actions.


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    Quote Originally Posted by NickFitz View Post
    [*]How we reduced our cancellation rate by 87.5% - "I was stressing. We had seen 40% of our customers cancel, and it was eating me up inside." Kareem Mayan explains how he used cohort analysis to discover how to increase customer retention, with exceptional results. May be useful for helping a client, or for your own plan B.
    One thing that pisses me off about the IT business is people who make up new words for things and then try and pass it off as the next cool thing.

    What is described there is data mining and clustering. Its been around since the '60s, I guess it just didn't sound "cool" enough

    As for its usefulness. Yes it very ******* useful

    Excel 2010 has this functionality built in (although it might need an option analytics module installing). Give it a shed load of data and it will profile it for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacecadet View Post
    One thing that pisses me off about the IT business is people who make up new words for things and then try and pass it off as the next cool thing.

    What is described there is data mining and clustering. Its been around since the '60s, I guess it just didn't sound "cool" enough

    As for its usefulness. Yes it very ******* useful

    Excel 2010 has this functionality built in (although it might need an option analytics module installing). Give it a shed load of data and it will profile it for you.
    Cohort studies have been around for longer than that: Cohort study - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - it's a well-established technique, not something the chap is claiming was invented recently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickFitz View Post
    Cohort studies have been around for longer than that: Cohort study - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - it's a well-established technique, not something the chap is claiming was invented recently.
    They are subtly different and the blog poster has got the wrong end of the stick.

    Cohort study (as defined in your link) requires prior segmentation of the customer base and then tracking those segments over time. e.g. tracking patients who have received drug A vs patients who received drug B. Then seeing who has a better survival rate.
    Critically, population samples are chosen BEFORE the event (whatever the event might be)

    What they have done is found the customers who cancelled early (low survival rate) then gone back to find what commonalities the early cancellers had vs those who didn't.
    They are analyzing the data AFTER the event and are splitting the customers by the outcome of that event, not by some other demographic.

    This is even backed up here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retrospective_cohort

    However, the starting point of this study is the same as for all cohort studies. The first objective is still to establish two groups - exposed versus nonexposed; and these groups are followed up in the ensuing time period.
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    The big beast of tech recruitment is S3. It describes itself as a “specialist permanent and contract staffing business”. It’s made up of four main brands: Computer Futures, Huxley Associates, Progressive and Real Staffing Group.
    What a tag team!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacecadet View Post
    They are subtly different and the blog poster has got the wrong end of the stick.

    Cohort study (as defined in your link) requires prior segmentation of the customer base and then tracking those segments over time. e.g. tracking patients who have received drug A vs patients who received drug B. Then seeing who has a better survival rate.
    Critically, population samples are chosen BEFORE the event (whatever the event might be)

    What they have done is found the customers who cancelled early (low survival rate) then gone back to find what commonalities the early cancellers had vs those who didn't.
    They are analyzing the data AFTER the event and are splitting the customers by the outcome of that event, not by some other demographic.

    This is even backed up here:
    Retrospective cohort study - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Fair enough I posted it mainly for the fact that, whatever it may be called, the stuff he did has made a big difference to his business's bottom line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickFitz View Post
    Fair enough I posted it mainly for the fact that, whatever it may be called, the stuff he did has made a big difference to his business's bottom line.
    I share SC's viewpoint on it. But saying that, it was a good & timely reminder for something I'm working on, so cheers.
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