Archive for the ‘Data’ Category

Mark Cuban and Poverty Reduction

June 8, 2013

By Christopher “Happy” Tan, Grameen Foundation Asia Region CEO
Cross-posted from Qualcomm OnQ

After the Miami Heat won the 2012 NBA Championship, a Twitter exchange erupted between Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks; and Skip Bayless, sports journalist, TV personality and ESPN commentator. This led to a heated episode of ESPN’s First Take  that went viral. Cuban contested that Bayless and other sportswriters only spoke in generalities. Whether Bayless was speaking of Lebron James’ “biggest collapse of a superstar that we’ve ever witnessed” or praising the Miami Heat by saying “Miami wanted it more than Oklahoma,” Bayless’ comments, in Cuban’s view, were too vague for anyone to question. Unfortunately, the issue of using vague generalities to describe a situation reaches far beyond the basketball court.

Melinda Gates’s describes the way we, in the nonprofit sector, usually evaluate the success of our programs by analyzing data at the end of the project, if at all, instead of using real-time data throughout implementation—a practice she likens to “bowling in the dark.” Like Skip Bayless, we can make all sorts of subjective conclusions around the efficacy of our work if we are not expected to offer factual evidence to support our claims. However, unlike sportscasting, the consequences of not using data in our work can be considerably more harmful.

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Where is the data? Analyzing customer footprints for better product design

April 20, 2013

Jacobo Menajovsky, Senior Data Analyst – Grameen Foundation

Cross-posted from the Institute For Money, Technology & Financial Inclusion

These are my daughter’s old shoes.

We just took them out of the closet to pass them on to her younger brother who’s recently started walking, but when I took a closer look at them, I wondered if their best days weren’t behind them. Call me crazy, but I immediately started decoding all the signs and indicators of their usage. Yes, to me, data is everywhere.

We are constantly gathering, interpreting and acting on data. Think about it. Every time you walk into a new situation, your “decision support system” starts to process past data to help you adjust to the new experience. Your brain is actually modeling those signs and symbols (data), building connections and classifying them into categories.

What if you wanted to understand how these shoes were used? Do you think you could reconstruct the past simply by looking at them? There are lots of signs and indicators: a broken ankle wrap, a heavily-rubbed toe cap, and many holes.

Read the full post at IMTFI…