Predictive Analytics and the worlds biggest database

As many of you know, I started working for a company called Tibco Spotfire. TIBCO Spotfire is a software platform that allows customers to analyze data using statistics. One of the cool things is predictive analytics. One of my older posts http://wp.me/p1gzQe-ao got me interested in this company after seeing the movie Moneyball with Brad Pitt…now here I am.

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So..the Yankees paid its players tens of millions of dollars and the A’s had a low payroll. How did they do it? How did they compete? You would think… they needed more money or miraculous sales strategies to sign top players for less money. Right?

Sure, they looked at RBIs, home runs, and ERA’s. They analyzed hundreds of detailed statistics from every player and every game, attempting to predict future performance and production. Some statistics were even obtained and understood by using video recognition techniques to sign lesser known but equally productive players. The A’s started a trend, and predictive analytics began to spread in the world of sports. Check out Billy Beane. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Beane

Predictive analytics continues to grow quickly. Moore’s Law comes in because it tells us how quickly data will continue to grow, and more new data gets produced when we use and learn from the old data. The better we can predict and the more types of behavior that can be predicted… means either more cash, more productivity..and less privacy. If you use a credit card or a coupon, or fill out a survey, or mail in a refund, or call the customer help line, or open an e-mail .. we’re forever linked to somebody’s database filled with insights about countless individuals. Big corporations, pharmaceuticals, banks, retailers, grocery stores, insurance companies are learning, handling and executing on predictive analytics. Predictive analytics is extremely valuable but so is the size of the database, which means anyone can be marketed for their habits, secrets or conscious behaviors. Cross selling. I could be marketed for music, food, pimple cream and clothes all in the same marketing campaign.

I have 2 concerns.

1) How precisely can companies really sell? 90% 95% 100%? Will we always be targets?

2)What if these expensive, fancy data/predictive analytics solutions were accessed as easily as downloading an app?

Let’s say I wake up on a December morning and my car insurance texts my phone and says traffic has tripled through the city and the probability of me getting in an accident has increased, so I stay home for an hour and my Asset Management company tells me ” buy” x amount of stocks quickly. I look at my iwatch and my Twitter feed shows trending stocks with a specific# hashtag and I immediately buy. I want to diversify because my risk management app recommended the best portfolios that give me the best return. I am happy so I go and do some Christmas shopping.

I have been marketed for a few years from my favorite store. I go there all time. I gladly give away information. I have given 100 likes on Facebook, I check in when I arrive, I fill out surveys and I do Groupon. But today, I go to their store and a secret alert goes off silently. I immediately get a greeting from the store clerk and win free diapers, baby clothes and child furniture. I guess they had a “predictive pregnancy” analytic campaign. Balloons and confetti fall from the ceiling. Their super smart mathematical analysts identified a correlation between my wife not buying birth control anymore and me establishing a trend  buying Disney movies on Blue Ray and purchasing a Thomas Train Set on their website and they assumed I was an expecting father. The new credit card that was pre approved and sent to my billing address was by a high level bank predicting I needed a higher credit limit based on last year’s spending.

Hopefully one day we could download one app and do our own analysis on simple tasks that will show us long term or short term gain.

When we set out to do a tasks….maybe, save a little bit of money, approach a girl to ask on a date, apply for a new job, drive in the snow, take a quicker route to work or shop for healthy foods, we look for answers. We could get insight into our ordinary lives and do more, when we didn’t think we were capable of it. Maybe we changed our college major and it predicted we had a better chance of landing a job. We could plug into our Facebook or Twitter accounts and use hashtags or posts, check ins, photos and other data activity to predict our own futures. Maybe I checked in at a Vegan restaurant 13 times in the last 3 months and I am predicted to lose 12 pounds by the middle of the year. Maybe, my shopping habits have increased, gas prices are going up and I am predicted to not meet my financial goals by the end of the year by 3%. Ultimately, I can’t get that single family home..that same single family home that is predicted to increase in value by .025% every year.

Maybe we see how many friends are doing well in life because of predictive analytics. I could share that I asked out a girl successfully, got a new challenging job, made some good investments and extended my life expectancy by buying a certain vitamin…all in one Tweet or Facebook Post.

More people would have more good news.  Jealousy would go away because everyone was taking risks, being rewarded, making less mistakes and succeeding more.

For now, should we be grateful as targeted consumers? Should I be concerned about privacy or was I too “inviting” to my favorite store?
If you had a super, predictive analytic app at the end of your finger tips, what would you ask yourself that would start the process to a win win scenario? Would you start small and then work your way up? Or start big immediately?

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25 thoughts on “Predictive Analytics and the worlds biggest database

  1. Data scientists are way under supply too and need help. All of the attention is on the end user experience..

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  2. 125% true…Huge, heavy focus on customers’ side especially with social media combining both external and internal data sources to get even a more complete picture of customers…Imagine the insight if we shifted a bit of focus to other areas. Watson is a great example

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  3. Thanks all for the comments…not sure how to comment now. Need to do more homework..As for Watson..servers start at $6k and integrate hardware and software derived from Watson…cheap eh?

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  4. Also i IBM will provide analytics capabilities to meet the budgets of smaller businesses….will us the little guy be next??

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