Tag Archives: Wisdom of crowds

Big data is becoming bigger than Texas!!

18 Jun

I’ve been meaning to write this one for quite some time and maybe by writing about it, i can forget about it.

Let me explain, i was going to write about ‘Big data’ after hearing about it through Craig Rispin’s mentoring group.

In case your not familiar with this term, ‘Big data‘ is all about making sense of data sets so large that before could not be processed with previous technology. And now, not only that, this data can be visualized, its quite amazing stuff, some examples would be.

In America, Target know when women are pregnant before they do, one guy rang Target to tell them his daughter was only sixteen, turns out she was pregnant. Target have a stragety of getting pregnant women into their store three times before they have the baby, so they like to get a jump start on things.

Someone is pregnant in there, can you see it?


But dont believe me, check out David Mc Candless, you might like to check out his ‘The meaning of colours in cultures’ or ‘The consensus of the 10 top top 100 book charts’

Check out the full list here

Big data

Law firms are now mining big data to understand aspects of law they could before never imagined, mining without getting your fingers dirty, nice!

Not the kind of mining i’m on about


James Surowiecki wrote a book about ‘The wisdom of crowds’,

The opening anecdote relates Francis Galton‘s surprise that the crowd at a county fair accurately guessed the weight of an ox when their individual guesses were averaged (the average was closer to the ox’s true butchered weight than the estimates of most crowd members, and also closer than any of the separate estimates made by cattle experts

If you can measure the crowd, your on to something.

In England, they can track crowds from helicopters to understand what people are doing, where to put services and how better to serve the tax payer, big brother is watching and he’s watching what you ‘Like’ on Face book too, but thats another story…



This is beautiful people, one of the the application for this in medicine

Just think, there are:

  • 19, 599 genes in your body (mine too)
  • Genes make up your gnome
  • Proteins in your body make up your proteome (which is called ‘proteomics’)
  • 200,000 types of RNA are produced in your body
  • Each RNA strand encodes 200,000 proteins

Genes in themselves dont make us who we are, instead they produce proteins, that are dispatched in the body to the genetic will

Its a geometric expansion that gives you 40 billion proteins, and this is why you need big data, there are hundreds of different varieties of proteins in a different cell.

Mapping the gnome consumed terabytes, proteomics will easily reach petabytes (ouch, that a lot of bytes, more than a mosquito in your tent on a summers night!!)

This of this, for hundreds of years, the progress of medicine was restrained by the lack of information. Today, we have so much data, not enough information, the amount of data at the molecular level is beyond the analytical capabilities, and now this data can be turned into knowledge.

And it continues, Epigenetics is the mechanism which the environment alters the behaviour of our genes, it involves a process known as methylation, which occurs when a chemical known as ‘Methyl’ which floats around inside of our cellsattaces to our DNA.

When it does, it turns down the activity of a gene and blocks it from making a particular version of protein in our genes.

All sorts of things can affect DNA methylation in our bodies, such as:

  • Diet
  • Illness
  • Aging
  • Chemicals in the environment
  • Smoking
  • Drugs and medicines

Big data can make sense of it all!!!

And this morning i read how the police are able to use SAP big data analysis of mobile phone tower information in conjunction with reported crimes and come up a list of one or two possible suspects, you wouldn’t need a police force, just one guy to go out and arrest the gulty guy as soon as he did something!

Oh, the savings to the tax payers!


There is no point running criminals, just give up!


The Australian Tax office was using this technology years ago to prove cases of fraud without any proof

And maybe i can forget all about Big data, but i’d seriously doubt it…

You have to Innovate 20% of the time

26 Nov

I was watching a video of Craig Rispin last week, he talked about how you have to innovate 20% of the time to stay ahead of the game, to be future proof.

What does that mean to you or i? Well it means we have to try new things, do things differntly, you wont be successful all the time, this is ok, but you will find an idea that will give you a big return and here’s where you bring in the 80/20 rule.

In is a book called ‘The artists way’, Julia Cameron says you have to be prepared to make bad art to make good art, you simply cant just wait to feel inspired, the day you get the perfect paint brushes or that new laptop you always wanted to write the book you want to write.

Julia promotes a form of stream writing called ‘Morning pages’ where you write 3 pages of A4 foolscap of what ever is going through your mind, it’s nothing new, this technique was first discovered by Leonardo Da Vinci, Its about thinking different, here are some steps to think like Mr Da Vinci

Leonardo had many good ideasImage

Morning pages and stream writing are techniques of tuning into your subconscious that many find helpful in their lives.

I once watched an artist sketch his ideas on an old newspaper, with a pen he borrowed, that i feel was innovative, i would never have thought of that, maybe it was intuitive to him or maybe he was resourceful, before long i could see his idea, it was a lesson for me, if you want to do something, just start and your halfway done

80% of the wealth you generate comes from the 20% of you effort, you’ve heard all this before, i know did, somehow in the modern age we live in, it was a rule that didn’t apply these days, i haven’t heard it in a while.

Expressed another way?


Well if you find the 20% of your effort thats giving you the 80% return and you double the effort (the 20%), before long you are getting a return of 160%, it doesnt take a genius to figure this out.

When Craig Rispin worked with Steve Jobs, they set aside Fridays to ask themselves one question.

That one question is…

‘Is there a better way?’


It’s interesting that these guys that were so busy, probably had endless people they had to meet would set one daya week to this, but i guess if you have all the answers maybe your asking the wrong questions

Everyone’s heard the stories of google employees having 20% of their time dedicated to their own side projects.

Blogger and twitter came about as side projects, noone could have though they would have been as popular as they have become, one of the pratical applications of twitter was notifing people of the Calafornian bush fires, technology is being developed to predict these fires through crowdsoursing and social media 

All of a sudden having a side project sounds like a thing you should be doing?

Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi, one of the world’s leading creative organizations says his number one innovative company is Apple.

Apple spend 10% a year on research and development of their products, all of it is self funding.

I read a while back the biggest threat to companies was the the fear of failure, or to put it another way, the fear of failing at something new was hampering the success of the companies, it would seem some people are so afraid to be seen as failures, this is why they do not succeed?

The simple fact is, you will fail at some things, but seen in another light, there are no failures, only stepping stones.

I read in a the Smh.com.au an article by Harold Mitchell on the weekend

Inaction is action and inertia is not an option

Where ever talent and innovation goes, innovation, creativity and economic growth are sure to folow

What are the 2 major trends right now in Technology?

  1. Transperancy,
  2. Crowdsourcing

Transperancy is how experiences the information they view online, in the video below Craig demonstrates how a user can view a movie, pause the movie, search for a seafood restaurant, find the nearest one on google maps and call the restaurant to order food.

Never has the consumer been able to search so much data, extract the valuable information and go back to watching a movie, so many difficult, complicated and valuable tasks completed through an interface anybody can use.

With Crowdsourcing, in the video below, Craig gives an example of how end users collaborated to design a hotel in a computer game, half life.

This design was such a success, the hotel was built and then the people that collaborated to design the hotel, including Craig Rispin went to stay in the hotel

Since his input was part of the output, he had an emotional attachment to this hotel.

Wisdom of crowds? This is one of Obama’s crowds


Craig mentioned James Surowiecki and his book ‘The wisdom of crowds’, it encapulates three parts

1, Cognition     

Thinking and information Processing Market judgment, which he argues can be much faster, more reliable, and less subject to political forces than the deliberations of experts or expert committees.

2, Coordination

Coordination of behavior includes optimizing the utilization of a popular bar and not colliding in moving traffic flows. The book is replete with examples from experimental economics, but this section relies more on naturally occurring experiments such as pedestrians optimizing the pavement flow or the extent of crowding in popular restaurants.

He examines how common understanding within a culture allows remarkably accurate judgments about specific reactions of other members of the culture.

3, Cooperation

How groups of people can form networks of trust without a central system controlling their behavior or directly enforcing their compliance. This section is especially pro free market.

People have an emotional attachment to devices/products which is hard to believe.

This innovation didn’t happen by accident, it was planned


Craig Rispin says:

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