Archive for the ‘Consumer Data’ Category

Holiday shopping? Caveat emptor

Have you been venturing onto the internet lately, or (shudder) actual mall stores in search of those killer holiday deals?  You might want to compare prices before you buy.  This New York Times article confirms what I’ve always suspected:  Most of those amazing deals are not so amazing after all. Researchers from The Wirecutter and The Sweethome found less than 1% of the 54,000 holiday deals they reviewed are actually good deals.  ”When we find a deal that we think is good, it’s a needle in a haystack,” says Editor in Chief Jacqui Cheng. ”We’re super-excited when that happens.”  Puts a whole new meaning on Black Friday, doesn’t it?

More Bliss For Your Buck

If you’ve ever bought a major appliance for no money down and no payments for 12 months, you already know the misery that comes from having to pay for something you’ve already “owned” for a year. But have you ever thought about the benefits of doing the opposite?  By prepaying, you psych yourself into feeling like you got something free. Paying in advance is just one of the 5 principles outlined by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton in Happy Money: The science of smarter spending. Endorsed by such luminaries as Dan Ariely, Dan Gilbert, and our own Chip Heath, Happy Money is full of amusing anecdotes and great advice on mindful spending.  Check it out and learn for yourself that “if you think money can’t buy happiness, you’re not spending it right.”

Happy Money is in the GSB Library stacks under call number HG 179 .D8587 2013.

What Happens in an Internet Minute?

Love all things data? Check out Intel’s Internet Minute Infographic. For more infographics, check out Daily Infographic, which features the best information design and data visualization from the internet. Still craving more tech and data visualization? Here’s a short list of other tech websites.


US economic health

The New York Times reports that the two indicators of economic health, modestly higher inflation and a more robust job market, that the Federal Reserve feels must turn around, are finally creeping up.

An “economic firming” is finally underway after a weather challenged start to 2014. Do these numbers signal an economic recovery?

If you’re of a mind to crunch your own numbers using the latest economic indicators, check out the GSB Library Topic guide: Economic Indicators and the link to U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis to find statistics such as GDP, Consumer spending and other related data  items.



No silver bullet

The “Big Data backlash” continues …  Authors Gary Marcus and Ernest Davis in the New York Times take Big Data to task, enumerating  the logical pitfalls that can bedevil answers and inferences. The authors provide several examples of ways that mistaken connections can produce meaningless conclusions. They also highlight the infamous example of the much-hyped Google Flu Trends, which came in with a roar but has left with a whimper. Big Data’s apostles are making Big Claims these days; some argue that we might be able to accumulate enough data to actually predict the future. But Marcus, Davis and many others are calling for restraint.  No silver bullet — not yet.

Big Data, Big Mistake?

Tim Harford explores the brave new world of Big Data in the March 29/30 Financial Times Weekend edition. In ‘Big Mistake?’, Harford ruminates on the claims and the pitfalls of what some are calling a new panacea for all past deficiencies of marketing, statistical gathering, government programs and more. He examines and challenges four major claims advanced by the proponents of Big Data, in the process recounting now-classic anecdotes, such as the famous example of Google Flu Trends, and the case of the father who discovered his daughter was pregnant when Target started targeting her with baby products. Is Big Data just the latest media darling — or does it have the potential to rock our world?

Cost of romance

I couldn’t resist checking out how much Americans will most likely spend today for Valentine’s Day. CNN has it broken down by the the numbers.

And if you want more numbers…the U.S. Dept. of Commerce weighs in on the day with Facts for Features.

Happy Valentine’s Day!



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