Data Science and the Art of Winning (and Wedding?) in Las Vegas
Forbes’ Dan Woods has a great series on data scientists. A couple recent spotlights are Monica Rogati and Daniel Tunkelang, data scientists at LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s data scientists “turn big data into big value, delivering products that delight users and insight that forms business decisions.” It’s this type of “big value” that leads to innovative products like the professional networking company’s “People You May Know” feature.
From medical researchers to social and mobile app developers, we’re all trying to interpret data as fast as we can, to make better business decisions as fast as we can. That’s why people like Rogati and Tunkelang are imperative to bringing much-needed order to the information chaos.
Data scientists give you more focus on the massive amounts of data now available—what slice(s) of data you should be honing in on, what the data is telling you, how to predict what’s going to happen next based on historical data. Data is useless without science.
Google VP of Consumer Products Marissa Mayer and Baynote Systems CEO Doug Merritt were recently part of a panel, “Computer Science or Data Science? Panning for Gold in the Information Stream.” When it comes to data, the panelists all agreed:
The better a company can understand who a consumer is, the more usefully it can offer what a customer is actually interested in. Not a week later, but right then and there.
Whether you’re trying to find customers with the highest lifetime values (LTV) in social or mobile analytics or you’re looking for love, data science (and the predictive analytics that comes from it) is everywhere these days. In fact, banks are doing it; they say they can predict your divorce. Even fashionistas are entering the fray, using big data to design their wardrobes. Successful companies need to embrace the power of big data.
Need another example? Caesars Entertainment Corporation understands the importance of the data scientist. It hired former economics professor Gary Loveman away from Harvard Business School to run the gambling juggernaut.
NPR ran an interesting story this month on Loveman, From Harvard Economist to Casino CEO. Loveman is credited with improving Caesars’s profits. Caesars is also entering the social and mobile space; it purchased social gaming company Playtika earlier this year. Playtika relies heavily on user analytics—and data science—to develop its games. (Disclaimer: Playtika is a Kontagent customer.)
Listen to the entire podcast:
Ceasars—and all the companies using data to beat the competition—aren’t leaving anything to chance. Loveman says he’s been able to drive profits because he runs the company like an economist, using data to make EVERY. BUSINESS. DECISION. Right down to that Celine Dion concert you’re dying to see.
What about you? Do data scientists play a role in your business?
About the author: Catherine Mylinh is a member of Kontagent’s storytelling team, where she is head of PR, brand and content marketing. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of kScope. In her former life, Catherine was a news anchor for CBS and NBC. She credits her journalism and computer science roots—she was once a programmer!—for her love of learning and writing about all things high tech. You can contact Catherine at @cat_mylinh.