"House Of Cards": The Triumph of Creativity Over Big Data

Image Credit: Netflix

Image Credit: Netflix

Two years ago, for the first time ever, Americans watched more movies legally via streaming than on DVDs. The shift signified more than a simple change in formats; it also made a huge difference in how much information the providers of online programming can gather about our viewing habits. Netflix is in the vanguard of this revolution, a pioneer overlapping the intersection where Big Data and entertainment media meet.

Netflix has always been very explicit about its plans to exploit its Big Data know-hows to influence its programming choices. “House of Cards” is one of the first major test cases of this Big Data-driven creative strategy. When the program, a remake of a BBC miniseries, was up for purchase in 2011 with David Fincher and Kevin Spacey attached, Netflix executives simply looked at their massive stash of data. And data clearly showed that subscribers who watched the original series were also likely to watch movies directed by David Fincher and enjoy ones that starred Kevin Spacey. Considering the material and the players involved, Netflix was sure that an audience was out there. Therefore a remake of the BBC drama with Spacey and Fincher attached was a no-brainer, to the point that the company committed $100 million for two 13-episode seasons as well as total creative control of the production to David Fincher. Read More..

Is your Twitter Sentiment Analysis Telling You The True Story?

Image Credit: http://spotfire.tibco.com/

Image Credit: http://spotfire.tibco.com/

With 15 million people now actively using Twitter in the UK, representing around a quarter of the population, this offers huge potential for marketers to glean customer insight like never before. By mining text in the micro-blogging stream, subjective information can be captured and analysed, and if done right, it can provide valuable information that can be used in business planning to improve customer service, develop propositions and ultimately increase sales.

Sounds easy doesn't it? However, it can be all too easy to draw the wrong conclusions. Here are ten top tips to help marketers understand how good Twitter sentiment analysis works and how to make the most of the data. Read More..

Turning Your Video Audience into Share Freaks

It’s 2014 and if you have read any industry updates about this year, you will know that it is the year of the Video. Industry experts and digital marketing experts alike have all expressed their predictions that 2014 will be solely focused on video marketing. I could bring in stats like how 52% of marketing professional worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI, 93% of marketers will be suing video for online marketing, sales and communication, or the fact the they predict that 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video but that’s not really the point of this article.

Now let me clarify.

Like any new product that is becoming a trend, there will always be marketers or clients jumping on the bandwagon. As the popularity of video creation continues, imagine the amount of online video content that will increase as people will try to capitalize. Like all things, the good will always come with a heap load of bad. Google helps to filter low quality content and duplicate content, but how will they do it actively and accurately for videos other than the obvious social share metrics. Will this even be possible? (just an off-topic thought) Read More..

Will The Internet of Things (IoT) Enable Restaurant Brick/Morter to Predict Daily Sales?

Image Credit: Forbes.com

Image Credit: Forbes.com

Editor - as a restaurant management professional with over 20 years experience, I often ponder how emergent tech impacts today's restaurants, both indie and multi-unit. This Information Week Executive Insights article provides great background questions to consider on how the Internet of Things exploding across the business world and society will impact the restaurant industry. For a great simple article explaining the Internet of Things, click here. I'd love your thoughts in the comments.. Jeff

Internet of Things Done Wrong Stifles Innovation

Anticipate and embrace the changes the Internet of things will bring or it will do more harm than good.

The concept of the Internet of things (IoT) dates back to the early '80s when the first appliance, a Coke machine at Carnegie Mellon University, was connected to the Internet to check its inventory to determine how many drinks were available. But IoT wouldn't become practical until IPv6's huge increase in IP address space allowed us to assign an IP address to every "thing."

The emerging IoT market we see now is all about a new way of connecting people with products and how products will connect with each other. Before long there will be more "things" on the Internet than people, according to Gartner, with over 26 billion connected devices by 2020. Investors are taking note – pouring $1.1B in financing across 153 deals across the IoT ecosystem in 2013, a rise of 11% year-over-year.

While much opportunity and innovation will result from IoT, there's a dark side that should be addressed early on in the adoption cycle. Read More..

Big Data for Restaurants



I wrote a guest post for the team at Swipely on big data for restaurants.

I’m pretty happy with the angle on that one, and at the risk of sounding extremely self-adulating, I’m going to quote myself from it for just a sec.

And then I’m going to share with you, as Paul Harvey used to say, the REST of the story about why “data isn’t a four-letter word,” with three specific opinions about big data and the restaurant industry.

The quote:

The key, in the future, isn’t whether you should jump on board the Data Bandwagon. It’s how you’ll jump on board. Read More...

Big Acquisitions Show Restaurants, Retailers Are Latest To Crave Data Analytics, Mobile



There has been a wait for a table just about every night since Tico, the latest restaurant along 14th Street NW, opened its doors earlier this month. The high demand is a positive sign for an establishment vying for patrons in one of the city’s newly flourishing corridors.

It also means Operations Director Steve Uhr needs to keep diners cycling through the restaurant at a steady clip. For that, Uhr turns to OpenTable, an online reservation system, that allows him to optimize seating so that as many people as possible are served throughout the evening.

Hashtags: What Restaurants Need to Know

Hashtags might have begun life as easily referenced Twitter subjects, but they do more than merely function as the punchline of a Jimmy Fallon video. They have evolved into a unique communication platform that can serve as the connective tissue between social media channels—and demographics. They can instantly contextualize, categorize and connect your social media posts to your customer base as well as tap into a larger conversation.

Hashtags can create compelling conversation points that invite participation and focus dialog around your messaging. They can also serve the dual role of connecting your posts to a larger online community, while also inviting that same group in to see how your post relates to their interests. A good example might be a post about your restaurant’s patronage of a local farmers’ market with a geo-specific tag such as #NYCLocavore—relating to the subject and furthering the conversation. Read More

How To Handle A Negative Review

Customers love to share their dining experiences on social networks and review platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Yelp. The restaurateurs that provide outstanding service are often able to tout five-star ratings across these sites. But when you come across a reviewer who called your food plain and your customer service nonexistent, what do you do?

Don’t panic. Nearly every negative review provides an opportunity to make a positive impression on current and potential customers. When you respond to a negative review and address the upset customer on these review platforms, hundreds of other consumers can see how you conduct business. People understand that mistakes happen, so when they see a restaurant owner or manager trying to do the right thing, it builds trust in the brand.  Read More

The Old Adage Is True: It’s All About Location, Location, Location

Image Credit: http://m.clickz.com/

Image Credit: http://m.clickz.com/

When it comes to mobile, location is just as important as timing, but there's still a lot of work to be done until marketers have a firm grasp on location data.

We all know the importance of location - especially when it comes to mobile. However, as with many things in our industry, the full potential of location remains stunted amid a lack of transparency, understanding, and guidance. This year, we've worked on addressing these issues in order to help marketers make sense of the current state of location data. Below are some of the chief concerns we've heard and what we're doing to address them. Read More..

How the Hospitality C-Suite Leverages Big Data and Analytics

Big data and analytics are a natural fit for the highly competitive hospitality industry, where success is defined by delivering a positive guest experience. By collecting information about how individual guests and groups make choices on where to stay, what guests like and don’t like, and why they return (or don’t), analytics can help hoteliers be more effective across the board – from defining their acquisition strategy to tailoring offers for individual guests.

Here’s a look at the Top 5 ways executives in the hospitality sector can use big data and analytics.

1. Identify growth and investment/divestment opportunities. Big data and analytics can... Read More..

Food Retailers Carrefour and Nisa Track Shoppers via Bluetooth Beacons in Carts and Baskets

Supermarket giant Carrefour and convenience store group Nisaare piloting a new technology that uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons attached to trolleys and baskets to track a shopper’s journey around the store.

Three Carrefour locations in Madrid are participating in the trial along with three Nisa stores in London.

The beacons on the shopping trolleys and baskets work in conjunction with sensors attached to the ceiling of the store that pick up the signals emitted. Location data collected by the sensors is then fed to a cloud-based server for analysis. Read More..

Will PR Tech Be the Next Marketing Frontier?

As automated software solutions have taken off for everything from email marketing to digital advertising to customer relationship management, the business of marketing has shifted from mostly "guesswork" to a data operation in the cloud.

If Adobe's acquisition path and Oracle’s recent, significant enhancements to their marketing cloud operations are any indication, the automated marketing business is booming, driven by the rapidly growing digital environment.

Digital advertising —with its ability to serve up numbers and charts and graphs that showcase the customer acquisition process down to a decimal point — is increasingly where the money flows in terms of marketing budgets. Read More..

Using (Restaurant) Social Business Intel for Predictive Analytics? Six Teamwork Tips

Image Credit: creditcards.com

Image Credit: creditcards.com

Editor - When we work with foodservice brands here at RSMI Restaurant Social Media Index and DigitalCoCo, we query the data pools with an eye on predictive analytics - we can successfully tell restaurant operators if they are likely to experience sales ups or downs. This article describes six best practices that medium/large businesses implement - we can bring this ability to any size restaurant operator. 

Predictive analytics is fast becoming a mainstream technology tied to business outcomes, so the playing field is expanding from data science labs into the business and even corner offices.

According to TDWI 's Predictive Analytics for Business Advantages 2014 survey, business analysts will soon overtake statisticians and data scientists as the top users of predictive analytics tools. To prepare for this transformation, where data teams and business managers work closely together, here are six tips to help companies take advantage of predictive analytics:

1. Pinpoint the need
Too often, teams try to aggregate interesting data sources and see where it takes them. Data scientists and business managers need to define their problem as well as what they 're testing for and their desired outcomes. Only then should the data team start building a model. Read More..

Foursquare’s Dennis Crowley On The Future Of Location (Full Video)

Image Credit: technmarketing.com/

Image Credit: technmarketing.com/

At our ReadWriteMix event in San Francisco in early June, Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley and I talked about the new app economy. We covered a range of topics, from why he’s splitting his signature check-in app in two to how his location data is powering a range of highly valuable new app players like Uber and Pinterest.

I’m also pleased to report that Girls Who Code, our nonprofit partner for ReadWriteMix, raised $2,100 from attendees of ReadWriteMix. That's enough to fund 100 hours of computer-science education for one of the young women who attend the organization's summer immersion programs, which are expanding this summer to 19 classes in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Miami, Boston, and Seattle. Read More..

This Top Turns See-Through If You Leave Personal Data Exposed

Image Credit: wired.co.uk

Image Credit: wired.co.uk

Editor - the debate around personal data privacy affects not only our relationship with governments, but also our relationships with businesses. This article exposes some ethics questions for restaurant operators.

A Brooklyn-based designer has created a 3D-printed sculptural boob tube to spark social commentary on the state of privacy in a data-driven world -- by making the top gradually more sheer.

X.pose's striking black webbed rubber structure was engineered using a Stratasys printer, moulded to the body to ensure comfort and very much inspired by creator Xuedi Chen's previous work, Invasive Growth (moss-grown jewellery based on the parasitic cordyceps fungus). But underneath, its layers tell another story about our lack of control and veritable vulnerability when it comes to who uses our data, what for and how much they take. Read More..

Why Location Intelligence is Not Part of Everyone’s Business & The Pathetic State of Dashboards

Editor - A rather technical article, and deep dive into Location Based Actions data and how this data is consumed by organizations.

Few market reseachers have the insights about how businesses use technology than Mark Smith (@marksmithvr) chief research officer and founder of Ventana Research. And, for good measure, his experience in the applications of GIS in business are unmatched, which is why his opinions, provided by way of his keynote at the MapInfo Users Conference, held last week in Memphis, are so compelling.

He began his comments by way of suggesting that most of today's technology in use by businesses touch an entire suite of enterprise wide applications and processes but most of the methods they are exploring do not engage location technology.  He said that visualization is driving a lot of the technological advancements and its forcing software vendors to put money into visualization solutions. But, excluding the issue location technology ignorance, there is a problem. Read More..

How Data Visualization Helped Me Run Faster

Image Credit: informationweek.com

Image Credit: informationweek.com

Editor - we are always seeking ways to help foodservice operators understand how big data can be used - and hope it helps to look at methods outside of hospitality.

Could you use a data visualization lift in your life and work?

I never thought I'd be that guy who tracks his fitness data. But a few months ago I tapped on the Nike+ app on my iPod Nano and after about a mile I was a running data junkie.

The lure of easy information sucked me in. I now knew -- through a simple app UI and voice prompts -- my average pace per mile, distance, time, and calories burned for every run. How had I spent all those years slogging through my runs unquantified? 

Of course, just knowing basic numbers wasn't enough if I wanted to run faster, which is really the point. What got me hooked is how the Nike+ website and mobile app crunch those numbers for me and display them in such a powerful way. To understand the data -- and to really get addicted to the data, enough to change my behavior -- I need to see it. Read More..

Compete On Your Data (Or Die)

Image Credit: Dreamworks movie Gladiator

Image Credit: Dreamworks movie Gladiator

Keeping Big Data Small - Beware the temptation of open-ended projects.

In 1973, the British economist E.F. Schumacher published a popular book whose title became a rallying cry for those who thought the overuse of technology was destroying the earth’s resources: Small is Beautiful. With much of corporate America on the verge of plunging into projects involving “big data,” finance chiefs are being advised to take Schumacher’s dictum to heart.

Urged on by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, companies in industries ranging from health care to breweries are indeed looking into ways to turn their caches of information into money-saving or money-making assets. At a recent Bloomberg CFO conference, for example, Todd Papaioannou, chief technology officer for Splunk,  a San Francisco-based, big-data-oriented software firm, warned finance chiefs to “compete on your data, or you’re going to die.” Read More..

The Emerging Science of Computational Anthropology

Image Credit: technologyreview.com

Image Credit: technologyreview.com

Location-based social networks are allowing scientists to study the way human patterns of behaviour change in time and space, a technique that should eventually lead to deeper insights into the nature of society.

The increasing availability of big data from mobile phones and location-based apps has triggered a revolution in the understanding of human mobility patterns. This data shows the ebb and flow of the daily commute in and out of cities, the pattern of travel around the world and even how disease can spread through cities via their transport systems.

So there is considerable interest in looking more closely at human mobility patterns to see just how well it can be predicted and how these predictions might be used in everything from disease control and city planning to traffic forecasting and location-based advertising. Read More..