Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Near and close (Facebook IPO)

I read some interesting posts on HN that argue the advertising merits of social media. With the Facebook IPO just past us, there has been a bevy of posts and articles on how social media advertising did not work for some particular organization. It isn't only Facebook this time. At least one poster reports disappointing results from Twitter's paid tweets. IIRC, Twitter's advertising platform is still technically in "beta" at this point. In any case, despite the frenzy over social media as the magic lamp for advertising, there are at least some who realize that it isn't a turnkey solution. Companies hire social media experts to get out the tweets, retweets, and likes. Newcomers come with a budget and a lot of faith in the seemingly magically benefits of viral channels. Alas, the viral coefficient has to be maintained. Moreover, as demonstrated in some of those posts, viral promotion does not guarantee sales.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Notes from the MacQueenFest

I had the excellent opportunity to attend the MacQueenFest a couple of weekends ago in honor of David MacQueen. The venue provided interesting insight into what the alumni of the ML community was up to these days. Many of the slides are now up on the website. The talks were scheduled roughly chronologically based on Dave's contributions. Most were looking forward as much as they were considering the historical significance of the contributions.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Artists and Scientists

Recently, I finished reading the acclaimed tome by Eric Reis, The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. The ending was the most impressive part to me. Reis is willing to submit his own ideas of innovation accounting and the like to rigorous testing in startup research labs in universities. A footnote mentions that Nathan Furr of BYU and Thomas Eisenmann of Harvard Business School are already studying lean startup management practices. In a startup world full of dogma, this is thoroughly refreshing. This has also helped me see that there is a continuum of startup ideation and management practices. On one end, there is the thoroughly scientific crowd, focused on meaningful metrics and rigid adherence to the rule of data, however interpreted. On the other, there are those who rely on epiphanies, intuition, and instinct. I certainly don't claim that these are mutually exclusive nor that one is necessarily superior to the other. Context matters.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Flash Crash Research, Part 2

A couple of papers I spotted a while ago:
Easey et al study a measure of order flow toxicity called Volume-Synchronized Probability of Informed Trading in The Microstructure of the ‘Flash Crash’: Flow Toxicity, Liquidity Crashes and the Probability of Informed Trading. Johnson et al considers a large number of mini-flash crashes from 2006 to 2011 in Financial black swans driven by ultrafast machine ecology [PDF].

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mobile App Builders

In this day and age of mobile ubiquity and ever shorter attention spans, it seems that everyone and his uncle are jumping on the mobile app bandwagon. I was doing a little investigating to see how much does it typically cost to build one of these apps. The anecdotal range floating about appears to be in the low tens of thousands. Unsurprisingly, a number of entrepreneurial people have sought to capitalize on this market.