Saturday, October 22, 2011

eMetrics NYC 2011 Recap - three major takeaways

The eMetrics NYC conference / data driven business week, is said to have attracted some 1600 people. The WAA Industry meeting coincided with it. It was a success.

Three major takeaways that stick out in my mind.

Janus Faces for Janus Audiences

I've now seen two versions of Peter Fader. The academic Fader and the industry Fader. The one you see at an INFORMS Marketing Science conference is the academic Fader. He's the kind of guy that'll smile as he tells his skeptical detractors to take their perspectives and reconsider them. His insights into models and the way theories have been constructed are original. He doesn't mess around with the bits at the edges. He's good at the comparative method among models, even if that's not quite how he'd describe it.

Then there's the industry Fader. He's accessible and engaging, even for a Friday afternoon. He presented a pretty good case of the way that marketing scientists in academia work with industry practitioners, and went on to highlight a variant of the shop-till-you-die model. It was interactive and participatory - the very opposite of INFORMS MS - and it was excellent.

This is probably the most radical example of the 'know your audience and adapt' that I've ever seen. It's inspiring - just how far a model can be contextualized and explained to a very different audience - to that extent. Incredible.

(Finally, for me, it's a key datapoint for the evolving partnership between academia and industry, for mutual benefit.)


Mobile has arrived

It's notable just how little hype there was for mobile this conference. Every year is supposed to be the year that mobile breaks out. That it's going to be the year of the hockey stick. Discussions around app and tablet usage were muted, and rare.

I saw loads of tablets. Loads of smartphones in use. There was tremendous engagement on Twitter and Beluga throughout the conference.

The reason for the lack discussion, possibly, was that mobile has already broken though.

Have we started asking interesting questions yet?


We're well positioned to take advantage of the next 5 years

For most of us in the East, the October eMetrics is our major collaboration. Not everybody made it. Those that did included long time collaborators and conspirators. And it was intense.

I was very happy to share a stage with the only other data scientist there - Michael Healy - and that panel led to a very spirited discussion with Jim Novo and one of SAS's leading text miners (IE: Richard Foley). The debate changed an important perspective I've long held on data quality. That discussion couldn't have happened anywhere else.

The sophistication of discussion was high. I spoke to a number of directors about their challenges with social. They were having the same problems I was having, and I was happy to share how I worked with developers to solve them. Many of the solutions reside within Syncapse Platform, and are getting better every day. I found that others were also really forthcoming with the problems, solutions, and mistakes they had made, in a range of fields. Again, those discussions couldn't have happened anywhere else.

Based on the quality, caliber, and energy I felt at eMetrics, I'm certain that we're well positioned to take advantage of the next 5 years. We have incredible challenges, opportunities, and technologies to take advantage of.

What's next

Patrick and I thank, again, everybody who came out to the 'Communicating to designers' preso. June Li remarked that the style is completely different from talking to executives. And I'm inclined to agree. It was very unusual to have a design discussion at eMetrics, and yet, I wonder - why should that be the case?

I'm up for another six months of contributing to eMetrics Toronto. I'm particularly interested in stories from the client side that follow the dramatic structure. No, seriously. It's great storytelling.

The next WAWTO is October 26 at the Wellington. I'm looking forward to seeing many designers, web analysts, developers, hackers, IA's, data scientists and marketing scientists out for the event.


5 comments:

Jim Novo said...

Indeed.

The WAA and eMetrics will be seeing more of Fader, no doubt. He has a new book out - Customer Centricity Essentials: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and Why It Matters - that I think will shock some people, especially the "What It Isn't" part.

The discussion we had with Richard Foley of SAS was extremely helpful, finally was able to get down into what is really being measured in the sentiment and related spaces. I still maintain (despite some panel opinion to the contrary) that as long as you know what kinds of error you are dealing with, sentiment analysis can be useful. That error knowledge is, of course, the devil in the details. But surely, perhaps even if the "number" is not "accurate", dramtic changes in it can be used as a "tripwire" for inquiry into the details.

Did not go to any mobile sessions, but would add the number of folks who presented REAL attribution studies (as opposed to looking at media sequences) was surprising. Clearly, there are people out there with the chops to do honest controlled test / media mix models and if others do not start paying attention to this data, it's going to catch them leaning the wrong way. The consistent over-attribution to Display to pretty shocking, for example.

Good show, we're growing up just fine.

Christopher Berry said...

@Jim Novo

I'm told that Fader will bring some of his PHD candidates to SF. They're exceptional.

The trajectory is there.

Amanda Mork said...

Great post. Had lunch with Fader on Friday afternoon before his keynote, he is a perfect example of how academia and industry can work together with out compromising integrity. I look forward to what he and his incredibly talented students and faculty bring to the table next.

Cheers,
Amanda

Jim Sterne said...

I just got to share 22 pizzas with Peter Fader (and a couple of hundred Wharton students) and can assure you he will be back at eMetrics in SF in March with an almost-ready-to-be-announced partner with some delicious, specific data insights.

And yes, mobile is really here and there will be more at the next eMetrics and yes, I will be inviting a couple of Canadians to share their story about designers again... if they'll come....?

Thanks for the post Christopher!

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