What I learned today

One of the advantages of editing Analytics (as well as OR/MS Today, the membership magazine of INFORMS) is I learn something new every day, thanks to the wide array of contributed articles we receive. For example, just in preparing this issue, I learned:

Dark Side of the Digital World

Nearly 20 years ago, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said that Amazon intended to sell books at or near cost as a way of gathering data on affluent, educated shoppers, as reported by George Packer in The New Yorker. The implication: The data, once analyzed, had more value than the loss-leader books, which proved absolutely correct when Amazon began selling everything under the sun to well targeted consumers. Drawing on Packer’s article, as well as a couple of books (“Who Owns the Future?” and “The Ethics of Big Data”), Vijay Mehrotra explores the dark side of technology, big data and analytics – and the perceived and/or potential threat it poses – in his Analyze This! column. Don’t miss it.

Pit Stop Analytics

A Formula 1 pit crew, working in an optimized, well-coordinated fashion, can change a set of four tires in less than two seconds. That means that unless you’re Evelyn Wood, that crew can change 12 tires in the time it takes you to read this sentence. For the story behind the motorsports magic, check out Andy Boyd’s Forum column. Seeing is believing, so don’t miss the amazing videos referenced at the end of the article.

"It's Their Time to Shine"

We all know the digital/technical world will come to a wordy end without acronyms, but do you know what MOOC stands for? I do (“massively open online course”), thanks to an interview I did with executive search honcho Linda Burtch regarding the red-hot analytics job market.

Finally, I also learned from Linda that in today’s dynamic world, young people should plan on three or four careers during their lifetime. “It’s not good to specialize in one thing and try to stick with one company or one industry or one vertical application for your entire career,” she says in the Q&A. “It’s incredibly dangerous, and it likely won’t carry you through a 35-year career. You need to be continuously learning something new.” I got that last part going for me, every day.


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Ashley Kilgore
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