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David Loshin

Welcome to my BeyeNETWORK Blog. This is going to be the place for us to exchange thoughts, ideas and opinions on all aspects of the information quality and data integration world. I intend this to be a forum for discussing changes in the industry, as well as how external forces influence the way we treat our information asset. The value of the blog will be greatly enhanced by your participation! I intend to introduce controversial topics here, and I fully expect that reader input will "spice it up." Here we will share ideas, vendor and client updates, problems, questions and, most importantly, your reactions. So keep coming back each week to see what is new on our Blog!

About the author >

David is the President of Knowledge Integrity, Inc., a consulting and development company focusing on customized information management solutions including information quality solutions consulting, information quality training and business rules solutions. Loshin is the author of The Practitioner's Guide to Data Quality Improvement, Master Data Management, Enterprise Knowledge Management: The Data Quality Approachand Business Intelligence: The Savvy Manager's Guide. He is a frequent speaker on maximizing the value of information. David can be reached at loshin@knowledge-integrity.com or at (301) 754-6350.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in David's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

Recently in Just for fun Category

Yesterday I read a great article about neuroscientist Craig Bennet who purchased an Atlantic salmon and put it under an fMRI machine to scan its (presumably non-working) brain. Oh, yes, by the way, it was a *dead* salmon. With the fish in the scanner, it was shown a series of pictures, and the salmon was "asked to determine what emotion the individual in the photo must have been experiencing."

While this already sounds like a fishy story, wait - it gets better: during the scanning, it appeared that "voxels" (video images indicating activity) showed up in the fish's brain. The simple conclusion? Dead fish can think!

Of course, that is ridiculous, and the purpose of the scanning was not to show that dead fish have brain activity when asked questions, but to look at how on occaision, random noise that creeps into these scans appears to show false positive information, with the objective to suggest more rigorous validation of statistical methods when attempting to filter out random noise so as to prevent drawing conclusions from what is potentially flawed data.

While I would call this a less orthodox process for establishing the value of data quality, it certainly provides a general lesson regarding quality of information on output from a reporting activitiy.


Posted September 24, 2009 6:09 AM
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An interesting article about people leaving facebook caught my eye because it resonated with some of the same issues I have had with it - inspired nosiness, misrepresentations of the concept of a friend (vs. connection), the way some people become obsessed and absorbed into it, and other observations.

After I had signed up (prodded by an old friend with whom I had fallen out of touch), I started to see others from my (growingly hazy view of the) past contact me asking to be connected. I guess I just said yes, and ended up with some connections, which led to other requests, etc.

So facebook is a little different than my other social network, linkedin.com, which is valuable to me as a business tool. Facebook does not provide that value, although it is interesting to see what people I used to know a long time ago are doing (hmm, a little nosy there, eh?).

The problem is that there are reasons that I stopped being in touch with a lot of former acquaintences, and getting back in touch with people that I no longer have much in common with is interesting at first but benign moving forward. And despite the few situations in which I am connectede with someone I regret losing touch with, it makes me have to actively ignore people that I have been able to passively ignore for a good twenty years or so.

On the other hand, there are some folks (like my friend Jeremy Epstein) who are building careers out of exploiting social marketing, and from an information perspective, there seems to be a lot of opportunity (check out Stephen Baker's book Numerati for some good examples as well).

I am interested - what is your experience with Facebook - as a connectivity tool, as a business tool, as an entertainment forum? post your comments!

Posted September 3, 2009 10:03 AM
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One place I like to frequent has adopted a green, eco-friendly attitude, and has started to transition to using paper goods that are described as being good for the environment. Apparently, their coffee cups are manufactured using recycled paper and are designed for rapid biodegradability.

So rapid, in fact, that the cups begins to biodegrade with your coffee still in it. Apparently, if you don't drink your coffee fast enough, it starts to seep out along the seam of the cup, and I have actually seen puddles of coffee growing under a cup.

Because of this, people have started to use *two* cups instead of just one cup, the outer cup to catch the coffee leaking out of th einner cup. In other words, providing a "green alternative" cup increases the tendency to use twice as much paper, a result that is probably the opposite of what they are attempting to achieve.

This is, in fact, a good example where attempting to optimize for one desired objective (biodegradability) leads to pessimization along other desired objectives (paper use).

Posted September 1, 2009 2:49 PM
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Yesterday we recorded the monthly B-eye-network radio program, and one of the questions Shawn asked was about our summer reading suggestions. The two books I mentioned are not business intelligence books, nor are they even business books, but rather history books about stuff that happened 800-900 years ago. The first book is about the life of Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan, while the second details Marco Polo's travels in the service of Asian emperor (and grandson of Genghis) Kublai Khan. These two Khans reflect two archetypical business leaders.

From (my spin on) a historical perspective, Genghis is the entrepreneur - he identifies with a clear business objective, develops a plan for executing against that objective, and replicates that execution over time and space to build a global enterprise enveloping multiple acquisitions. Genghis exploits the skills of his Mongol horde to instill fear in, overcome, and then embrace different cultures and regions as part of the Mongol Empire.

Kublai, on the other hand, tasks himself with crossing the chasm - developing a plan to effectively integrate those acquisitions into a cohesive operation. Brilliantly, instead of standing on ceremony in retaining his Mongol heritage, Kublai moves his headquarters to Cambulac (now known as Beijing) in the center of the Chinese acquisition and begins to align the Mongol operation to Chinese techniques. He transitions from a nomadic life style to one of techno-agriculture, enhances communication channels, standardizes paper money and monetary exchange, and engineers a hierarchical governing structure to manage the empire.

Different management styles for different types on environments, and different kinds of lessons. Enjoy!

Posted June 23, 2009 11:26 AM
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I just got a phone call from a telemarketer telling me that my company had a free listing on the "yellow pages on the internet." I told this person that I thought this was kind of a silly idea, and she said, "you know, you go to google and do a search to come up with the listing." I replied, "of course, anyone can go to google and find the company web site, so what do I need a yellow pages listing for?"

By the way, for those of you youngsters: the "yellow pages" used to be a book with many really thin pages, with telephone and address listings sorted by industry category. When someone had a specific need, he or she would take the book off the shelf, leaf through the pages trying to figure out what category their need fit into, and scan down the listings to find an appropriate match. Lots of advertisements on the nearby pages might have helped in that search also. Today those books are still occasionally distributed to your home, and are largely deployed as door stops, contributions to the municipal paper recycling effort, or (in a pinch), toilet paper. I have seen many deployed as soggy rotting piles at the end of a driveway, although I am not sure of that approach's specific utility.

Web pages with telephone numbers, though, can come in any color, and really clever ones might allow you to direclty connect to a provider directly through instant messaging or IP telephony.

Posted October 24, 2008 7:25 AM
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