PASS Business Analytics Conference – Live Blogging – Keynote Day 2
Greetings. Time for another live blogging entry from the PASS Business Analytics conference. This time it is Dr. Stephen Levitt, University of Chicago Economics Professor and author of Freakanomics and SuperFreakanomics.
About to get started!
Dr. Stephen Levitt taking the stage!
Dear Presenters: please note that Dr. Levitt is NOT reading to us. :)
About 1 in 10 children reported on tax forms were fictional. Ended up causing the loss of billion in revenue for IRS.
In 1987, when the SSN of children was required on tax forms for deductions, 7 million children vanished from the face of the Earth.
What reasons do people have to innovate? Necessity. Business Pain. Lost Revenue.
Simplicity returns to the discussion. SSN on tax forms is obvious. But it wasn’t there until 1987.
Dr. Levitt: “Most people in Business don’t have time to think.” #ouch #TrueStory
“I spend 500 hours per year thinking about new ideas. It’s a great year when i get one.” ROI requires the I(nvestment).
Dr. Levitt studied things like Prostitution and Drug Cartels, things other economists wouldn’t touch. #innovate
When you see a stranger that clearly knows YOU, GATHER DATA. Turn it into insight. You might get lucky and remember them. :)
Dr. Levitt hated math. He is a noted economist, professor, and author. Path from A to B may not be a straight line.
Dr. Levitt: Sometimes clarity only comes from having the courage to ask the right question.
Incentive can lead someone who doesn’t like math to become an economist. How bad to you want your goals?
Dr. Levitt’s Dad: “I have not talent; you have not talent. Take on topics no self-respecting person would tackle.”
Dr. Levitt: If nobody is willing to defend a group of people, perhaps there are too many misconceptions about that group.
“If you have the choice between walking drunk and driving drunk, driving is far safer, at least according to the data.”
Following the Grateful Dead for 6 months can be an excellent primer for Grad School in Sociology? Think outside the classroom.
Dr Levitt telling about a Sociologist who stumbles into a Street Gang and how it made is career. #Innovation #TackleToughTopics
If you write down the organizational chart of a street gang, and removed the names, it could look just like corporate America.
The economics of street gangs amazingly similar to that of the “legitimate” business world. #ThinkAboutIt
Dr. Levitt: According to the data, It was 7 times more dangerous to sell crack in Chicago than it was being in combat in Iraq.
If you showed gang members the data, how many would still choose that life?
Are drug gangs a new, up-tapped market for Business Analytics? #TongueInCheek
Dr. Levitt: Business People LOVE to buy books. Don’t know if they read them….
Dear Presenters: Note how Dr. Levitt is making eye contact with people ALL OVER THE ROOM. #ConnectWithYourAudience
Dr. Levitt: Asking questions is worthless if you don’t correlate it with data to see what answers are correct.
Misconceptions can cripple you. Let the data speak, even when it might be difficult. #TrueStory
Dr. Levitt: Experimentation with data is vital. That’s where insights come from.
“Do you want the TRUTH?” How often to we find ourselves wanting to ask this of our clients/customers?
Dr. Levitt: “We got fired and all of our projects were cancelled. It was the best day our consulting company ever had.”
“Why in the world would you work for a company that when you tell them the TRUTH, they don’t want to hear it??”
Awesome: Dr. Levitt has opened the floor to questions.
Q: What kind of research are you doing now?
A: We have a “Parent Academy” and are teaching parents about things they can do to help their kids succeed.
Dr. Levitt: 5-10% of people we survey about tough decisions are swayed by a toss of a coin and actually take that action.
Dr. Levitt: Everybody and their brother is telling me I should use R right now.
Q: What kind of newly available data sets are you REALLY excited about?
A: Business data is FAR more interesting than Government data right now. Much more fun to be in the data generation business.
Dr. Levitt: Connect the data together and let people play with it. Sounds like using Excel for analytics.
Dr. Levitt: In shortest supply in Business is people who know how to think about data. #THIS
Dr. Levitt: “It turns out I am much better at telling funny stories than solving big problems.” Sometimes the data’s story leads you to ROI.
Dr. Levitt: Economists and Prostitutes have this in common – the word “Can’t” is not part of our vocabulary.
Dr: Levitt: “If you know a Prostitute, you send her my way. I guarantee I can affect her bottom line.”
That wraps up the Live Blogging for the conference. Thanks for following. And thanks to PASS for inviting me to participate.