Instructor: David Schuff, Section 003

Kevin C Lynch

Is your TV watching you?

TV ratings have historically been the number one measure used in determining how successful a show is, and therefore the price to advertise during that show. However, in recent years, marketers are turning to new measures promising to provide information regarding user attention and even emotion. Companies like TVision are using cognitive computing to train facial recognition software to recognize attention and emotion of users watching. These companies will pay samples of people to simply keep a camera on while they watch TV, often the Microsoft Kinect Sensor. The software behind the sensor is constantly learning more and more how to identify emotions through facial expression. This leads to data on what shows viewers are more engaged with while watching, and even what show’s viewers are more engaged with commercials. After all, if you were an advertiser wouldn’t you rather pay to show your commercial to people you know are watching? Many people turn shows on and don’t pay attention, or they leave them on as they do other things around the house. These shows may have high viewership, but the viewers may not actually be paying attention. For example, one study done by TVision showed that Shark Tank ranked amongst the highest in their attention rating. This makes sense because viewers are highly engaged with new business ideas and the suspense of a potential offer. Also, as you can imagine, commercial attention scores during the Super Bowl were very high. The more the AI software learns the more accurate and reliable this data will become. This system could potential replace ratings as the primary source of determining the value of an advertisement slot.

Systems Thinking in Disney Land Fast-Pass

This past summer I had the pleasure of going to Disney Land. This was my first time ever going and one thing I found very interesting was their Fast-Pass ticket system. For those of you that do not know, the way it works is you go to a ride and pick up a fast pass and it tells you a window of time when you can come back ans use the fast lane. Then you go on a different ride and come back during your window. This is an example of systems thinking because the solution they have considers the whole system of waiting in line for the rides. The fast-pass make the ticket holder happy because they get to bypass the line of every other ride they go on. Also, the wait time in the regular line is less because people who would normally be in line are getting a fast-pass and riding a different ride.

Because I Said So

In the past, when an employee questioned someone “above” them they were told “because I said so”. Corporate hierarchy meant if I am higher up the ladder than you my choices are better and should be the ones we listen to. In recent years that is rapidly changing. Companies are beginning to realize you may not need extensive knowledge and experience to realize a flaw in a decision a person is making. Often times people are too close to the decisions they are making to see obvious problems that will occur down the line. It is becoming increasingly popular to collaborate and “get another pair of eyes” on each decision you make. This flat leadership model is especially popular among start-ups and millennials. The open environment encourages anyone with a piece of input to speak their mind, where in the past they may have stayed quiet out of fear of insulting someone “above” you. I have personally experienced this at the job I have now. I love the company I work at because collaboration is encouraged, and people are not insulted by you helping them with a project they are working on. For example, a co-worker of mine had begun implementing google-tag manager on our site, a tool used to better track user engagement.  He had been struggling for some time a could not figure out why tags were not firing and asked me to take a look at it. It turned out that it was simply an issue of case sensitivity and he needed to capitalize the first letter of each trigger. He was too close to it to realize such a simple solution, he was overthinking it. Bringing in a fresh pair of eyes allowed for a fast realization of the issue and moved the project along.

Where and when do we meet?
Alter Hall 603
12:30-1:50 Tuesdays and Thursdays
Office Hours
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-3:00 PM