Section 004, Instructor: Laurel Miller

Weekly Question #3: Complete by February 4, 2016

Leave your response as a comment on this post by the beginning of class on February 4, 2016. Remember, it only needs to be three or four sentences. For these weekly questions, I’m mainly interested in your opinions, not so much particular “facts” from the class!

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In your opinion, what was the most important takeaway from Maurice Whetstone’s talk on Thursday? What did you learn about the way data is used to make decisions? Relate your observation to the class material if you can.  If you did not attend class you cannot answer this question and this will be the question that you can miss without penalty.

51 Responses to Weekly Question #3: Complete by February 4, 2016

  • One important take away from Maurice Whetstone’s talk was that data is not useful unless you know how to look at it and ask the right questions. He discussed how when he worked at Lenox he realized a huge problem in that none of their customers who were buying silver were buying silver polish. This had been in the data for months, but until he looked at it and asked the right questions about what the data was saying, Lenox was losing money on potential sales of millions of dollars. This ties back to class in that we have to learn to understand the data and the meaning of the columns in order for the data to be valuable. Otherwise, we just have a whole bunch of numbers that do not have any meaning to us.

  • Maurice Whetstone really emphasized on the idea of ‘Trust but Verify’. The example he gave of color versus the state coding was a great example. If data isn’t verified, it can make a lot of people angry when errors/false data start to show up. Verifying data can prevent issues, and it can allow data to be used most effectively when making decisions.

  • The most important information I took away from Maurice Whetstone’s talk was that one of the most important roles of a company’s IT department is taking data and applying it to other functions of a business. Applying data to other business functions can significantly improve a business’s success. Raw data can be insignificant, but it’s the clean, analyzed and applied data that contributes to a company’s success. You can use data to help you decide what products to continue selling or in Mr. Whetstone’s case, decide how long to keep a product on air for.

  • I was fascinated by Mr. Whetstone’s story about how his team was able to assist the broadcasters with the actual selling of items. By analyzing the data in real time, they were able to influence the consumers and increase sales. They were able to satisfy both their wants and needs as well as those of their customers. This applies directly to Customer Relationship Management by acquiring the necessary information to know a consumer and be able to provide an item they are destined to like. They are ultimately able to market directly to the consumers using this data and acquire them as a lifetime asset. This relates back to class because the data was out there, we just need to learn how to use it to our advantage.

  • Maurice Whetstone gave a very informative presentation on the applications of the material we have been learning in class. The most interesting topic that he mentioned was QVC’s acquirement of Zulily. This was part of an attempt to generate more returning customers, specifically in the younger generation. This directly relates to the personalization of web content that we discussed in class. QVC wants to make their webpage more personalized to each individual to retain their customers. By collecting data on what the customers search on their website, QVC will be able to cater to individuals rather than the general public.

  • My biggest takeaway was honestly the way that Mr. Whetstone described the sterling silver polish. I think we can all acknowledge that data can be very important and essential for any business, but when he gave an example of how the one piece of data made the company millions of dollars, it seemed much more real. It made me realize, not just in this Data Science class, but any situation, the importance of continuously checking work. This concept goes along with the ‘Trust, But Verify,’ essentially suggesting the importance of cross-referencing everything that we do to make sure that it is in check.

  • The most important part of Maurice’s presentation for me was his explanation of the different areas of QVC’s data science department. Data management, business intelligence, and data analytics are all separate but when making decisions with data, they have to come together. I never really thought about whether or not data science could be separated into departments and used in varied ways. Maurice explained that in order to be useful, data has to go through many different processes and be looked at in different lighting. I enjoyed his use of the term “data nugget”, as well.

  • Maurice’s presentation was more so a review of things that I have learned both on the job and through my schooling. I did learn about how QVC was leveraging data to improve its company though. I found it really interesting that they were concerned with data by the minute. When I worked in the oil industry we never looked at any data by the minute but always by the day. In class we have been provided data sets over a much longer period of time than a minute. I think it is neat that QVC analyzes data in minute intervals but also understand it is not good for all companies to try to emulate that. For example smaller companies wouldn’t analyze sales volume by the minute because they don’t have a high volume of sales and there wouldn’t be enough data.

  • Maurice’s presentation was very interesting and one big takeaway was when he talked about how he noticed customers buying the silver but not the silver polish. This intrigued me because many companies probably have similar situations and it would be amazing if I was the one that told the boss that I have found a huge problem with the data. The key takeaway is that workers always have to double or even triple check data. You never know what your going to find.

  • In my opinion, the most important takeaway from Maurice Whetstone’s talk on Thursday was the verification of trustworthy data. Knowing whether data is credible or not is extremely important to the success of an organization. If data is not credible and verified, it can potentially lead to further issues down the road. Additional research should always be performed to confirm that data is both accurate and trustworthy. Verified data will maximize both efficiency and success for all organizations.

  • Maurice Whetstone’s talk on Thursday was very interesting and one thing he said definitely stood out to me. He talked about the importance of trusting data but also verifying it. If everyone trusted data without verifying it first, there could be major errors in it which could set a company behind. One specific example that Whetstone mentioned, as to how data is used to make decisions, is when he said that QVC is now seeing questions that potential customers could have about a product via social media and telling the person on TV to address that question live.

  • In my opinion, I think the most important piece of information that I took away from Maurice’s presentation was his life’s philosophy of “trust but verify”. He explained to us the importance of verifying information in reference to data, because without verifying, many data sets can be biased or flat out incorrect. However, I think this philosophy can and should be applied in all other aspects of our lives, because we often believe everything we see to be true as long as the information “makes sense”, or comes from what we believe to be a reliable source. Maurice explained that human error exists in nearly every piece of data, so we should verify everything we read, hear, see, or do before believing it to be accurate.

  • One takeaway that I got from Maurice Whetstone’s presentation was how often data is analyzed in a business setting. His example of how QVC analyzes tweets about their live shows to help them determine what information the presenter should relay to the audience was very interesting. Clearly, QVS is constantly using data to give themselves an advantage. This relates to class in that we have learned about the importance of pinpointing useful data that can be utilized to make an impact.

  • Maurice Whetstone’s lecture was really useful and interesting, it indicated the importance of exploring the data by giving some specific examples. His example of the silver and the silver polish shows that the data cannot make any change by itself, the importance and the use of it only appears when a person realize what information it shows. Another example of the eyeliner shows us that plenty of datasets from different aspects are needed for one product. His lecture made me realize that data plays an important role in many different fields; however, we need to find it and analyze it to make it helpful.

  • I really liked how Maurice was transparent and generous with the information he knows. I felt as if he spoke to the class as true intellectuals who could really benefit from the information that he had. The most important takeaway from his talk, in my opinion, was the information about client security and protection. As a consumer it is great to know that somebody in Maurice’s position understands the importance of safeguarding information of clients as that is something that I am often hesitant about when purchasing goods or services.

  • There were a lot of useful stuffs that I could take away from the presentation of Maurice Whetstone on Thursday. One of them was when he explained about how QVC worked with data, how the company efficiently used the data and the different areas that contained the company. Various areas of data science with different positions; however, they all used data as the necessary tool in order to make decisions. From the presentation, I have had the much closer look on how data is used and managed in the real life. I could find some information that he talked related to what I have learned in class including metadata or open data.

  • I learned a lot from Mr. Whetstone’s presentation on Thursday. The most interesting aspect for me was the timeframe that he looks at data. From what I have heard so far in school, most people look at data by the month or by the year, while QVC is looking at it by the minute. I learned that when you are in the broadcast field, you need to look at the data and make split second decisions on what you will be showing on air to maximize your profits and revenue.

  • The presentation given by Maurice Whetstone was very interesting and easily grasped my attention. I really liked how Maurice gave countless real-world examples about data in the workplace. One of the things that really stuck with me after I left the classroom was how important data is to QVC, especially in terms of security. For companies that use traditional brick-and-mortar stores, data isn’t as important to them as it is to QVC, a company with countless amounts of data and information. With information in their database that includes so much personal information such as address, e-mails, and credit card numbers, he really emphasized how important data security is to a company like QVC. I was glad he touched on the topic of data security and how important it is QVC.

  • I believe that Maurice provided the class with some very powerful information concerning the use of data on a corporate level. First and foremost, data seems to be under-used in the business world, as there are many correlations that are often overlooked for companies that could easily improve their business processes just by analyzing data. I found it especially interesting that his QVC data was analyzed by the minute, which is something that not many companies do. His example with that information from QVC was key in showing us as a class how much the data truly matters, as Maurice showed that one can see its impact in real time!

  • The thing that took me away in Maurice’s talk is the fact that QVC looks at its data every minute, finds out how they work in that one minute, and change immediately, if there is something wrong. Usually, in most traditional companies, data will not be available until the end of a day, week, or month. If something is causing losses during the period, there may be little anyone can do to to minimize the damage and to come up with alternative plan to improvise the situation. His talk connects with the materials in the class in the actionable characteristic of data: People can based on data to predict the future, decide based on it and achieve the best outcomes.

  • As a risk management major, I found the most interesting part of Mr. Whetstone’s presentation to be when he spoke about data security. The story he recounted regarding one of his team members e-mailing himself a confidential list of QVC customer data horrified me. I would have expected that someone working in the field would have a slightly better understanding of what to do with confidential and proprietary information as far as security protocol is concerned. Working in a corporate environment with sensitive data, we always have to be cognizant of proper security measures and remember that there are a lot of criminals out there trying to get their hands on that information. I know I sure wouldn’t want to be the person responsible for the next Target, Sony, or Ashley Madison breach.

  • The most important takeaway from Maurice Whetstone’s talk on Thursday was that data are valuable assets to a company. With data, we can draw reliable conclusions and make more accurate decisions. Data are collected through the help of technology but that does not mean everything is automated. We need humans to turn data (as raw and unorganized facts) into meaningful information for decision making. The point of the role of humans was emphasized in both Maurice’s talk and our class discussion.

  • For me, the most essential takeaway from Mr. Whetstone’s talk is how one approaches data is sometimes more important than the data one can collect. One great example is QVC’s effort to standardize data sets and metadata so that it is easily understood by all of its analysts across the world. Another memorable example is Mr. Whetsone’ story about how he distinguished himself by identifying something others have not found out. He did not gather more data. He found a different way to read it, asked a new question, and revealed that a product line had the potential to be profitable. In the modern world where we are inundated with data, in order to make use of them all, we must learn how to look at them critically.

  • One key point that I took away from Mr. Whetstone’s talk was how each business is unique in how they manage and collect their data. Mr. Whetstone told us about how QVC is unique in that they collect data and analyze it by the hour or the minute versus the day because that is what’s best for the company. They use this method of analyzing the data to see where products are selling the most and when to take them down. This was very interesting because QVC is such a successful company and the methods they use to analyze big data are so important and unique to them.

  • I found Maurice Whetstone’s talk to be extremely interesting especially because I am interested in going into a data related field (MIS). I had no idea that some data was so private even just for business operations. The fact that he had to go through many different channels just to access data from Germany that he is technically responsible for really blew my mind. I also liked how he worked at a variety of companies such as QVC and Urban Outfitters and I had no idea that the employee discount was so high at those places! The most important takeaway that I found was that when doing a job, one should never just settle and rely on the data that was given to them. They should try and look at the data from different ways and make sure that everything is there.

  • The most important takeaway from Maurice Whetstone’s talk on Thursday that I received was when he discussed the blindness behind QVC in regards to their lack of sterling silver polish sales. This past Thursday, the 28th of January, Maurice went into detail about their astronomical sales and profits through their silver jewelry alone, and pointed out that consumers were buying QVC’s jewelry, while using another company’s polish. It is quite clear that this fostered a wasted opportunity to make an even larger profit, which made Maurice dig through the sales data in QVC’s jewelry to further reassure himself. Knowing that QVC would greatly profit from sales in polish, Maurice addressed his coworkers, which eventually led to QVC selling polish in the near future. This specific situation that Maurice told our class taught me that not only is data constantly changing, but that data continuously needs to be overlooked, and that data can always be improved.

  • The biggest takeaway from Maurice Whetstone’s talk is the concept of “trust but verify”. He wants us to understand that all data may seem credible at first glance but not to just assume it to be right but instead verify it just to make sure that what you are looking at is accurate. There have been many instances where people didn’t want to take the extra mile to verify the data and that led to many failures down the road. It is better to take the time to double check everything than face the consequences for not. Verifying data to make it more trustworthy and credible will make a company more efficient and successful.

  • I found Maurice Whetstone’s presentation to be very interesting and I received very valuable information from him. One key point I believe was very insightful was that all data is a valuable asset to a company. QVC has to manage, organize, and analyze their data in a specific way to take control of the high volume of data that is coming in every hour. With the data they collect they can make key decisions, for example whether or not to keep a product on the air for another five minutes or take it off. I believe these valuable conclusions can make or break a business. They company needs to know how they are performing at all times and ultimately if they are making money.

  • A significant takeaway I learnt from Maurice Whetstone’s presentation on Thursday was how much studying and questioning data can affect a certain company. The talk from Maurice Whetstone strengthen the believe that these days, where we live in a world revolved around a lot of information and data, data is very precious and can be used to make important business decisions. His example of studying live data while a QVC show was running shows how if we observe data critically, we can make decisions that would benefit the company. This reflects how important data is and how we can generate a simple data set into something valuable just by questioning the data and exploring it deeper, which is what we learned in class.

  • I thought the most intriguing takeaway from Mr. Whetstone’s presentation was about he helped his company make millions by simply trying new things and asking new questions. We talked about in class that sometimes one may have a large set of data, but will not know how to extract valuable information from it. Mr. Whetstone expressed to us it could have been anyone who found that the company was not selling silver polish, and that he just happened to discover it because he was thinking outside the box. He implied that the data is there, you just have to know how to navigate it and find what you’re looking for.

  • One important fact that I took away from Maurice Whetstone’s presentation was his own philosophy “Trust but Verify”. This is a very key concept since not all data can be trusted and the facts behind it must be confirmed. In order to fully trust a source of data it is often good to test that data to see if it comes up in any other instances in order to filter out “bad” data which would help validate the information which a source produces.

  • Mr. Maurice Whetstone’s was truly the epitome of someone who loves his occupation. Not only is he very knowledgeable in his field, he was able to paint a vivid picture of just exactly what must be done browsing through the countless amounts of data everyday. His favorite saying “trust but verify” resonates loudly with everything in life, but it also helps to better understand that not all data sources are credible or reliable. His stories of different experiences with well-known companies were phenomenal and his energy/passion is obviously a key factor. You can definitely tell he enjoys his job (and the retail discounts as well, just like anyone else).

  • One thing that I learned from Maurice Whetstone’s presentation is attitude towards the data. Bringing your purpose with the data observation and analyzation, then you would know exactly how useful your data is. However, be careful with data you are engaged, verifying data is way more important than that of mastering them. It was so amazing that such special institution has eyes on correctness of data, pending on such enormous work loads could not be imagined.

  • Maurice Whetstone’s presentation let me saw the strength of data. People are influenced a lot by data, so the most important thing is to make sure you are not fooled by the data or give other the wrong messages. You should have your own opinions about the data you get, and think it critically. But never doubt everything, because the data is changing and changing with the time going by. Hold the opportunity accurately.

  • One of the most important thing witch I learn from the presentation given by Maurice Whetstone is that the importance of data to make business success. There is no doubt that data is increasing significant in business activities today. Though data itself is not useful, companies can make right desicions and satisfy consumers by analysing them. Once you can using data appropriately, they can make huge value for you.

  • My takeaway from Maurice Whetstone’s talk on Thursday was how we have to verify the data we are looking at. I thought it was pretty cool how he talked about how QVC was innovating towards attracting a younger demographic. This is interesting because it shows how company’s have to continue to innovate to stay a top of there respected industry.

  • I think the most important takeaway from Maurice Whetstone’s talk on Thursday was how data mediums and measurements are always changing and growing. Data is heavy stored and pieced together like a puzzle almost to where it is pertinent. For instance, he spoke about huge data storage facilities to which data is looked over maybe days or weeks later after it’s initial collection. From there, the data may become useful in some form for some future project. Maurice covered it in his presentation and you made a point to say that it wasn’t planned, but metadata. Everything is really data of something was my biggest take away in relation to lecture.

  • I think Maurice Whetstone’s presentation clearly demonstrated how important and essential data is for any business in terms of data mining, collecting, analyzing and preserving. His example of the silver and silver polish sales made clear how proper data recognizing and interpreting could make huge improvement to a company’s profit. His experience with the complicated and difficult process to access QVC data from German also stuck out for me. From Maurice’s talk, it’s clear that data if properly treated could be a huge asset to the business.

  • He brought up a number of things I had not considered as far as data collection goes, his one website he worked for mentioned that they took in data by the minute, not by the day or week. This struck me as dangerous because of its cost of upkeep and the amount of sheer work that needed to be done. Also it made me think of the pros and cons in terms of the speed of which a company brings in data, and how too fast or too slow could help or hurt. His story with the rapid data seemed to be a success, but my question is what happens when the site slows down or data drops of all together? – Which must happen from time to time if the data is coming in minute by minute and the business model runs off of that minute by minute data.

  • Mr. Whetstone talked about some very important material in his lecture. There was not one thing that stood out the most to most. He just really helped me understand better how data is a crucial part of business. He gave an example of how data increase revenue when he realized that his company was not selling silver polish when they were selling a good amount of silver jewelry. He also recognized how to please customers with almost instant feedback when he saw that the description for a speaker did not include if it was bluetooth or not.

  • The biggest takeaway from Maurice Whetstone’s presentation was that the importance of data. Because of the importance, the way they collected data was different from most other companies, for examples, Macy’s collected its data every day, however, QVC collected its data every minute. He also told us that how interesting and useful he found the data is; he found the fact that nobody has ever noticed by looking at the data…. All in all, from his speak, I learned how useful and important the data is.

  • The presentation presented by Maurice Whetstone was quite informative. Even though some of the information in the presentation we had already learned in class, there some new and interesting things that i learned last Thursday. I can’t exactly remember of the top of my head but, One thing that was important to me was when he shared a story about his coworker sending himself an email of an customer’s information so he could fix their problem. That was not a good decision since that can possibly lead to leakage of that customer’s personal information and if it does, it wouldn’t be a good thing for the company.

  • The most important takeaway from Maurice Whetstone’s talk on Thursday is knowing the power of data. It is very useful and many things can be inferred from it. In a cmpany, the data can tell things like the preferences of products from customers, the efficiency of employees and the performance of a company to influence the fianl decision. It is also essential to know how to efficiently use the raw data. Definig the liability of data and not being biased by the data through sample researches are examples of what we learned in the lectures of using the data effectively.

  • During the presentation, Maurice Whetstone noted how QVC was trying to acquire a younger market and how much data is a factor in doing so. He described the factors that went into the acquisition of Zulily and the companies motivation to make browsing their website a more personal and individual experience, based on customer. I found Maurice to be a great motivational speaker because you can see his passion for his career and brought us through many of his unique experiences around different firms.

  • In my opinion, one of the biggest takeaways from Mr. Whetstone’s presentation was his maxim to “trust, but verify” the data within the system. In order to interpret data properly, it is vital for one to analyze the content of the data just to substantiate the information displayed. Another incredible thing I learned was that QVC analyzes data by the minute. This allows for the company to cut losses as quickly as possible, maximizing revenue and net gain in each of the products it markets (in terms of television). Another great thing about this is that the company would be able to advertise products that sell most at a specific time on the homepage (at those times). By doing this they are providing customers with a more intuitive experience, making shopping with the company an overall enjoyable experience.

  • In the speech, Maurice Whetstone show us the basic information of QVC, his real job environment. He specially mentioned that how he collect the data, use the data. He let me know how important the data is, which means each area cannot leave it. He pays attention to how to interpret the data and find out the signals behind the data . Then he can make a quick reflection according to the data. In this way, the data help him to master the latest tendency and help his company make more profit. His enthusiastic presentation conveys us a lot useful information! After the speech, he also shared some position requirements with me, which make me get to know more about the data analytic.

  • From my perspective, the most important takeaway from Maurice Whetstone’s talk on Thursday is data in very important. And we should Verify data and use data to make decisions. He explained about how QVC worked with data. And he pointed out his own attitude about data – “Trust but Verify”. Overall, I learn a lot about data in his presentation.

  • The most important thing which I learn from the presentation of Maurice Whetstone is that the value of data. In this society, every walk of life needs to collection many of data to prove their opinions or ideas. All data are really important to a research. Such as a company uses data to prediction market and gives direction of the development tendency. But actually not every data is valuable of the research. Maurice Whetstone states that every walk of life needs to filter different kinds of data which are not valuable, then though the valuable data to analysis, conclusion and decision.

  • The most important thing I learned was the importance of data. The data can do more thing that we even can’t imagine. Each area cannot leave the data. And I learned that QVC analyze data by minute. This can let the company make decision as soon as possible to loose minim profits.

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Office Hours
Laurel Miller (instructor) 9:30am-10:30am, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Speakman Hall 210 or by appointment.
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Zachary Cehelsky-DeAngelo (ITA) By appointment only. Email:
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