When Data Science Alone Won’t Cut it: Deriving Signal from Observations in the Maritime Domain

I recently read an article (paywall) in the WSJ about Paul Allen’s Vulcan initiative to curb illegal fishing. It's insightful and sheds light on Big Data techniques to address societal problems. After thinking on the story, it struck me that it could be used as a pedagogical tool to synthesize data science with domain knowledge. … Continue reading When Data Science Alone Won’t Cut it: Deriving Signal from Observations in the Maritime Domain

You Say Predicting, I say Reporting

The more the world of Big Data/novel analytic techniques/machine learning is internalized, the greater the likelihood assumptions move to presumptions and technical terms unwittingly become marketing terms. The Gartner Hype Cycle is a great illustration. In the context of "predictive analytics," it's worth knowing what people actually mean. First, predictions--obviously the term is about the future, … Continue reading You Say Predicting, I say Reporting

Idea Graveyard: Leadgen for Cloud Infrastructure

[This is the first in a series of posts about businesses that weren't for a variety of reasons. You can read about others in Projects and Ideas.] In October 2016 I spent a few months with my friend and former board member/employee Jake Baillie looking into building a service that would offer a cloud computing estimation/calculator to help … Continue reading Idea Graveyard: Leadgen for Cloud Infrastructure

Government Stats Are Ready for Change (Book Review)

For those of you similarly interested (obsessed?) with the changing role of government statistics relative to the explosion of highly dimensional private sector data, I recommend having a look at Innovations in Federal Statistics: Combining Data Sources While Protecting Privacy from the National Academy of Sciences. It's an easy read and offers a solid foundation for those who seek a … Continue reading Government Stats Are Ready for Change (Book Review)

Talkin’ Geo

Thanks to James Fee for the reboot of Hangouts with James Fee, a geo-centric podcast. The backstory to this goes back close to ten years when Steve Coast started This Week In Maps, a sort of weekly roundtable recorded call (pre podcast, via Skype!) of some ole grumpies (Marc Prioleau Di-Ann Eisnor, Steve and James) … Continue reading Talkin’ Geo

Proxy Indicators: beware of spurious claims

I recently stumbled across a research paper, Using Deep Learning and Google Street View to Estimate the Demographic Makeup of the US, which piqued my interest in derivative uses of data, an ongoing research interest of mine. A variety of deep learning techniques were used to draw conclusions about relationships of car ownership, political affiliation … Continue reading Proxy Indicators: beware of spurious claims

Fake Stats

With the recent spate of fake news (why can’t we just call them lies?), I started thinking about the growing chasm between statistical/fact creators and media consumers. Historically we have put our trust in the Fourth Estate to analyze, filter and present to an audience. For better or worse, today anybody can call themselves a journalist– … Continue reading Fake Stats

Data-derived Products

I love creating data-derived products. I’ve been saying one man’s metadata is another’s data for years, and now that we are in a golden age of data brought on by cheap cloud storage/compute, sensors/devices everywhere and the rise of data scientists, the age of data is upon us. However, getting past the high fives and … Continue reading Data-derived Products

Prop Trading, Hedge Funds and Startups: Looking for Alpha in All the New Places

High-tech startups, hailing from Silicon Valley, and large, well-established banks, hailing from Wall St couldn’t be more different. Yet the golden opportunity of FinTech holds the promise of (somehow) bringing them closer together. This post isn’t about disruption, executive pay, alternative credit scoring models or other topics du jour. It’s about a possible future where … Continue reading Prop Trading, Hedge Funds and Startups: Looking for Alpha in All the New Places

Freedom of Information Act at 50 and Newly Improved

For those of you who care about access to government data for reasons of transparency, feel-good openness, competitive advantage or other, June 30 was an overall ok/good day.Obama signed the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 in an attempt to solidify his administration’s legacy as the most transparent in US history. Many are skeptical, including your author, … Continue reading Freedom of Information Act at 50 and Newly Improved

Finally, Skepticism in Open Data

Over the past 10ish years I’ve often spoken critically of the hand-wavy open data love fest. Stumbled across an article today that does a great job of putting into context the rhetoric v reality. Centering on toilet usability data, Giuseppe Sollazzo makes a solid argument for rethinking the definition of value in opening data to the … Continue reading Finally, Skepticism in Open Data

Derivative Data

Since selling Urban Mapping last year, I’ve spent more time thinking about how data is can be and is used for alternative purposes. To me, the idea of packaging up organisational data exhaust and redirecting it to non-adjacent markets is an opportunity hidden in plain sight. I’ve been whining that one person’s metadata is another … Continue reading Derivative Data

“Metadata”

When The Guardian broke the story about the NSA demanding 'telephony metadata' from Verizon, a new word was introduced into the public lexicon. In the world of enterprise data management, metadata gets a bad rap. It's generally perceived as a pain in the ass-- something that must be tended to, like a perpetually leaky tire or cleaning up … Continue reading “Metadata”

The Long and Short of Geo (Part 1)

In my 10+ years growing Urban Mapping, the web-mapping business I started in 2005, I've seen history repeat itself. A lot. As a self-proclaimed member of the georatti, this current wave of geotech euphoria is nothing new, but product and corporate development tend to go through the same cycles over and over again, choosing to … Continue reading The Long and Short of Geo (Part 1)

The Death of Relationships?

This is a strange post to write. It makes me feel old, like that crusty-old attorney who swears he’ll have his secretary print out every email until the end of time. Except now I’m that guy whining. But I digress… Since starting my business close to a decade ago I’ve done dozens of enterprise deals … Continue reading The Death of Relationships?

Web Summit Recap

Spent the last week talking startups, entrepreneurship, tech and Guinness in Dublin this past week. The 4th annual Web Summit attracted some 22,000 people, and while it was overall a great event, the sheer size and lack of planning experience led to a few major kinks with the event. Ditto with the weekend after-party, aka … Continue reading Web Summit Recap

Postcode Blues

Get ready for change in postal delivery in mid-2015 in Ireland!! How can a country live without a postal code system, you ask? The US didn’t have a nationwide program until the early 1960s and change is a hard thing to achieve in government. Ireland is the last of the OECD countries to get a … Continue reading Postcode Blues

Time for a Diet

When we think of dieting, it’s usually to combat some short term phenomenon (eg, I want to lose weight). Diets are by definition temporary. Longer term approaches that seek to modify behaviors can be more enduring and pay handsome dividends (increased confidence, lifespan, health, etc…) but they take real commitment. As I think about diets and commitment, … Continue reading Time for a Diet