Analytics Strategist

September 14, 2007

business ecology

Filed under: business strategy, Random Thoughts — Tags: — Huayin Wang @ 3:40 pm

On Aug 16 2007, Q Interactive reinvested in Didit for SEM. Both are excellent companies.

In thinking about business ecology, there are many dimensions, layers, and spaces to consider: companies in markets (both horizontal and vertical) are competing and cooperating, selling and buying, and otherwise connected in numerous ways, forming a complex and dynamic picture.

Within this metaphor, there is an “ecological divide”, a separation that often escapes our attention: good companies compete, cooperate, transact, and connect with good companies while the hopeless ones live amongst themselves.

Why is this?

In truth, it is not all that puzzling. Business are social animals just like human beings are social animals. They survive better and are happier when they are connected. The desire to connect, relate, share and transact with each other is there by nature. The order of separation comes not from lack of intention, but from the barriers that prevent the actuation of it. In this case, there is the technological barrier, the capability barrier, the communication barrier, even barrier in business cultures! All of these together contribute to a much higher transaction cost for the relationship.

It makes sense.

What about the vendor-client relationships?  Why would a vendor care if the client is competent or not in their relative marketplace? There seems to be no problem for sup-bar vendors to take on sub-par clients, rights?

My experience tells me that it is in fact very expensive to serve sub-par clients; some costs are explicit, while others are hidden/latent/opportunity costs. It would certainly take another post to full elaborate this point.  Suffice it to say that I am now very sensitive to how my clients stand in their respective markets during project/relationship evaluation.

What’s been your experience?

March 26, 2007

What’s next after search?

Filed under: Business — Tags: , — Huayin Wang @ 6:27 pm

In other words, what’s next after Google?

I believe it will be a technology that allow social search – an IM like application which has the following feature:
interface with Web, SMS, IM, CellPhone etc.
you can ask any question and get answers instantly, from people. The underlying technology optimally select channels to broadcast your questions, where people can subscribe to the channels they like.
Method of earning points, through activities and feedbacks. The point can be earned, purchased and used to purchase priority services.

Business model? Oh, I can’t even begin to think all the money that wanting to get in 🙂

March 13, 2007

Leadership meta skill set

Filed under: Business — Tags: — Huayin Wang @ 10:00 pm

There is a need to define the set of meta-skills.

Most of the leadership skills that people use fall into two categories: that they are too general making it almost as empty as “skills to do the right thing”, or too concrete so that none of them are really critical under most circumstances.

What I wrote in the early post is really about the meta-skills.

On Leadership

Filed under: hbr review — Tags: — Huayin Wang @ 3:27 pm

Just what is need for a business leader, in fact, any leader? Two things: know the right things to do and has the ability to do it.

The knowing is more important than the ability of doing: if you do not know the right thing to do, the ability to do anything is irrelevant! While in case you do not have the ability to do thing right, the knowing may lead you to know how to get it done, maybe in a detoured way.

Game provides a great context to understand the basics of “knowing the right move”.

I used to play the game of Go, which is an ancient Chinese board game, popularized later in Japan, South Korea and China. The rules are simple to learn but the strategies are difficult to master. There are things I learned from playing Go, that I think are generally useful.

Recognizing that the heart of decision making is evaluating and balancing alternative strategies, evaluating the set of the following 4 questions has been my guide in many decision makings:

1) How big is the issue – scale/impact?
2) What’s the chance for success – each outcomes?
3) What’s the optimal measure – passive/aggressive, qty of investment?
4) When is the right timing?

The 4 questions must be seriously asked and played with, in that order.

The outcome strategy, when passed through the above process, will have less of the common problems which infect many organizations:

1) wasted resources working on small issues. While the results could be clear, convincing and even beautiful, it is nonetheless minor.
2) wrong estimations on potential outcomes caused by wishful thinking and others
3) over/under investing
4) wrong timings, prioritizing and sequencing

Coming back to the leadership quality. As I see it, the ability of the leader to intuitively grasp and making right judgment on the scale/impact of an issue is top most important.

June 30, 2006

On Bullshit

Filed under: Business, Random Thoughts, reading — Tags: — Huayin Wang @ 3:55 pm

I read On Bullshit by Harry Frankfurt some time ago. It was a Sunday afternoon, at a Borders bookstore, and I was attracted to it by the very first sentence of it:

“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bulklshit.”

The second sentence is “Everyone know this.”

The book then tours me with its interesting mix of academic and satire style prose. The apparent seriousness has an undertone of absurdism.

A few pages from the back:

“Bullshit is unavoidable whenever circumstances require someone to talk without knowing what he is talking about. Thus the production of bullshit is stimulated whenever a person’s obligations or opportunities to speak about some topic are more excessive than his knowledge of the facts that are relevant to that topic. This discrepancy is common in public life, where people are frequently impelled — whether by their own propensities or by the demands of others — to speak extensively about matters of which they are to some degree ignorant. Closely related instances arise from the widespread conviction that it is the responsibility of a citizen in a democracy to have opinions about everything, or at least everything that pertains to the conduct of his country’s affairs. The lack of any significant connection between a person’s opinions and his apprehension of reality will be even more severe, needless to say, for someone who believes it his responsibility, as a conscientious moral agent, to evaluate events and conditions in all parts of the world.”

“The contemporary proliferation of bullshit also has deeper sources, in various forms of skepticism which deny that we can have any reliable access to an objective reality and which therefore reject the possibility of knowing how things truly are. These “anti-realist” doctrines undermine confidence in the value of disinterested efforts to determine what is true and what is false, and even in the intelligibility of the notion of objective inquiry. One response to this loss of confidence has been a retreat from the discipline required by dedication to the ideal of correctness to a quite different sort of discipline, which is imposed by pursuit of an alternative ideal of sincerity. Rather than seeking primarily to arrive at accurate representations of a common world, the individual turns toward trying to provide honest representations of himself. Convinced that reality has no inherent nature, which he might hope to identify as the truth about things, he devotes himself to being true to his own nature. It is as though he decides that since it makes no sense to try to be true to the facts, he must therefore try instead to be true to himself.”

So what’s the philosophical arguement he made in the book? Ask and you lost it.

May 20, 2006

If you say ROI one more time, I will spank you

Filed under: Business — Tags: — Huayin Wang @ 11:57 am

afterall, ROI is nothing more a profitability measure.

The evil of ROI is that it is replacing Decision Sceince, it gives all the idiots an excuse for pretending to be able to make good decision without knowing what is good — well,  at least in some cases.

Never mind.

May 19, 2006

No free lunch theorem

Filed under: business strategy, Datarology, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized — Tags: , — Huayin Wang @ 2:06 pm

There are many forms of NFL theorem. I particularly like the one when applied to optimization/search algorithm. In one version, it can be stated as ” all algorithms that search for an extremum of a cost function perform exactly the same, when averaged over all possible cost functions. In particular, if algorithm A outperforms algorithm B on some cost functions, then loosely speaking there must exist exactly as many other functions where B outperforms A.” [Wolpert and Macready (1995)], see also No Free Lunch Theorem

It is a humbling experience when meditating on it, to be reminded of the importance of contextual knowledge of the problem.

May 18, 2006

sale tips

Filed under: Business, Random Thoughts — Tags: — Huayin Wang @ 3:35 pm

Disclaimer:
I have never been a saleman in my whole life, even for a day.

– in random order …

* no rush in presentation
* being flashy is less important then being helpful
* no bs, particularly when intellectually challenged
* honesty is your best friend

– selling is a process of finding/gaining an advocate on the client side.

May 15, 2006

HBR is great – well at least sometime!

Filed under: Business — Tags: , — Huayin Wang @ 8:57 pm

I have never read anything like it before, and well, that’s probably because I do not read much either. It is thought stimulating, or I should say sometimes thought provoking.

I am refering to Harvard Business Review.

March 9, 2006

A leader is a container

Filed under: Business — Tags: — Huayin Wang @ 3:46 pm

The value a leader comes from its service, as a container’s value comes from how well it holds valuables, not from how valuable itself is.

when the things it contains are more valuable than the container, somethings felt not right.

The volume of its space is the important measure.
The material is important, but depending on what things it suppose to hold:
when holding on fluid, a rigit container is better.
when holding on rigid stuff, flexible container has merit.

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