Category Archives: Efficiency

The Sad Personal Truth of Big Data

We’ve been talking about big data for quite some time.  In conversations with sales and marketing professionals, I have spent more than a little effort discussing how “big data” is much more nuanced than just predicting sales.  (Although it’s really good for that.)

I read a piece on Wired today about the Netflix algorithm.  It’s a discussion about how Netflix uses data from your viewing history to predict what you will want to watch next.  In the article, Carlos Gomez-Uribe, VP of product innovation for Netflix says, “A lot of people tell us they often watch foreign movies or documentaries. But in practice, that doesn’t happen very much.”

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The Speed of Knowledge

Genetic Code June 2013In 1987, the US Department of Energy announced a 15-year project to map the human genome, with a projected start date of 1990.  By 2000, scientists working on the project submitted a draft of the human genome, and submitted the final fully-mapped genome by April of 2003.

Yesterday, Eric Lander spoke about the project at the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival, illuminating the stunning progress that has been made in the decade that has passed since we completed the first map of a single human being’s genome.

That’s what I want to write about here.  Not just the progress of this particular scientific achievement, but the exponential speed of progress when a community is focused on a goal.  And the economics society experiences as products and services move from invention to mass production. Continue reading