Instructor: David Schuff, Section 001

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.

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

  • I recently read an article, coincidentally for last week’s weekly question, about how corporations do not realize how much the data they have is actually worth. In Mr. Whetstone’s example of how an employee almost emailed a work related data file to himself and did not realize its importance is a prime example supporting that workers in companies truly do not know the value. From what Mr. Whetstone said about his experiences, I feel that data from corporations can be used in multiple ways from deciding when to air certain products on TV based on their popularity to appealing to a diverse audience. I also found it interesting that the term “metadata” was brought up in the talk. I felt that after listening, I realized the terms we learn about in class are more than just facts we have to memorize, but rather terms used in the workplace.

  • On of the most interesting takeaways from Maurice’s talk today was how there are so many different areas of business that deal with the handling of data. He talked about how his job was comprised of three areas: data warehousing, business IT, dat analytics. Something that I learned today about data and decision making is that social media data can play a big part in the success of a business. Maurice spoke on how looking at social media post regarding a product helped identify a problem. Once this problem was identified, they were able to then fix it to help customers and the sales of the product. When thinking about data I often think of numbers in spreadsheets, but this shows data can come from anywhere. In class we spoke about how data needs to be extracted, turned into knowledge, to then used. Maurice further touched on this point when he discussed the idea of ETL (Extract, Transform, Load).

  • The idea that seemed most important to me about Maurice’s presentation was the importance of recognizing and utilizing data to improve your business. As he mentioned, retail is an ever-evolving business, and it is crucial to extract knowledge from data to be able to adapt your business to keep customer loyalty. The data QVC collects is used to improve customer happiness, boost efficiency, and innovate. The article, “In Data We Trust” mentioned that 1 in 3 business leaders do not trust their data; I think this is a mistake after learning that data is a huge asset to any business.

  • I think Mr. Whetstone made clear how important data in today’s society really is. He gave a lot of interesting examples how data is used and what people are able to do with it. For example, when he spoke about those persons can predict at which certain time a bottle of water is sold because of data. That is pretty amazing. It shows that data is about the very little details. We did the same thing in class when we looked for data from Philly. For example, we saw datasets about when and where crimes happen in Philadelphia. Of course, it is not as deep as the work of the specialists, but it goes in the same direction. A citation that stands out for me is “Trust data but verify”. He explained that this is the most important thing to work with data successfully and I think it is always good to verify things before you work with it.

  • I think it was an important takeaway of how they use data to engage customers. He described how during the show they watch data as they say certain things and how it effects the buying of customers during the show. I like how they are able to customize deals and ads for products on their own page based on customers preferences and also I thought it was important that he said they do not compete with Amazon or Ebay because there is always somebody who may be able to do something better so its more profitable to focus on themselves.

  • Maurice definitely shed light on the importance of data in business decision making. I personally think that the major takeaway from Maurice’s presentation was that data is literally everywhere in regards to business. Someone who is able to properly collect, analyze, and interpret data for a business can play a huge role in a company by figuring out where the company is doing well or where it is lacking. I also thought it was funny how he mentioned personalization of customer experience on QVC, just after we had read the article about the filter bubble which kind of put online personalization in a negative light.

  • An important takeaway is that retailers with diverse product lines, such as QVC, find it essential to use data analysis to customize the shopping experience of their individual customers. For instance, Mr. Whetstone told us that if a young customer visits the QVC website and sees an ad for wrinkle cream on the first page they may leave the website and never return. Instead, retailers like QVC are using customer data to predict which items will be most relevant to each customer and design a shopping experience around those predictions. Of course we have recently discussed the importance of data quality in class (connected to the article “In Data We Trust”). If the validity or reliability of the measures being used are compromised, then the predictive models based on those measures will lack veracity. If predictive models of what customers will find relevant are severely inaccurate, then the retailer risks alienating their customer base.

  • Personally, I think the part of his speech when he told us the story about how he used online live data to influence the commercial was wonderful. The concept of marketing was always surrounded by the idea that the commercial should predict what the costumers want to see and then show them. But why not feed them what they ask for? We never have any means to actually archive live opinions from customers. But nowadays, we are able to do so. And also a special thing about QVC is that it runs live, it could make the changes and customer connections that no other commercials could. Therefore, I really think that the idea of feeding live opinions into live commercial is genius.

  • “Trust, but verify” was my biggest takeaway from Maurice’s talk. In class, we learned that bias is an inherent part of data and information. Because of this, minimizing bias should be the goal of every data scientist.

  • I found it very interesting when he told us the story about how they used the data to directly influence the live shows, while they happened. In his speech, he really made me realize how data is becoming more useful by the day. Even with him at QVC, his department at that company seems to have grown and become more important as time goes by. Also, by the success that it seems his data has given the company, it really shows that the data does not lie (usually).

  • My biggest takeaway is the value of data and the degree of which employees outside of the data spectrum do not realize the value. Having industry experience in accounting and finance, i found this to be an interesting contrast to the way data is typically viewed from the finance lens. The true value of data leads me to wonder if companies can/will start to use this to their advantage as far as finance and tax decisions go. If a company could figure out how to make data an asset on the balance sheet and subsequently expense it, it could use this expense to further offset reported earnings and therefore pay less taxes. This is a common practice but, as far as my knowledge goes, has yet to be applied to data.

  • My most important thing that I learned from Maurice’s talk is data can be so helpful when it comes to connecting the buyer with the seller. When he was telling the story how he was able to help the person sell the product on live TV by using data to see what questions buyers had and relaying the message to the person on TV.

  • What stuck out most for me was the story of the employee who was about to email himself a QVC data file to work on at home, not realizing the importance of said file. It’s weird to think that some people working in such a large company as QVC don’t realize the importance data holds in today’s business world. In terms of learning how data is used, I liked how he talked about how QVC collects data constantly during the QVC live shows, which is something I didn’t consider. That means they are collecting data and making decisions based off of it (whether it be something as simple as what commercial to target to a customer) literally every minute.

  • From Maurice Whetstone’s talking, i know that QVC use the web data to predict what goods is relevant to a potential customer that he/she may buy it. Also they collect data from customers surfing on their website in order to help customers accurate position what merchandises is exactly what they are looking for. We talking about the Uncertainty of data in class, just like we did, we tried to find data sets, but can not pretty sure the data is 100% exactly relevant to what we need. So, the point is we have to verify the veracity of data rather than completely trust data we found.

  • The most important take way from Maurice Whetstone’s talk is the importance of data mining, data collecting and preserving it, and it has become an essential part of the business. Data is and should be treat like assets because it holds valuable information on the company and their customers. Metadata is about data on data; also, business intelligence uses Data Warehouse’s existing data to improve different aspects of the company by analysis consumers and the market demand’ patterns. They could learn about customers’ purchasing habits and frequencies which it give companies more lead ways to profit maximization.

  • One thing I found particularly interesting was when he said they were watching the chatter on social media and finding trends within what the broadcaster said and how the audience reacted. This was a perfect example of how deep companies are digging to get the most out of the data available to them. This also shows how strong of a tool social media can be in today’s business world, being that people like to post about their experiences as consumers whether they realize they are doing so or not.

  • The most important take away from Maurice’s presentation was how QVC uses data to their own advantage as they met the needs of costumers at the same time. I learned that the people selling the product on air decide what they say and how often they say it based on the data they receive. The data correlates the frequency and amount which the product is bought to key words that may trigger the action of buying. QVC also uses data to answer frequently asked questions that potential buyers have.

  • The most important takeaway I received from Maurice Whetstone’s talk on Thursday was trust but verify. This was the most important to me because he said it should be so I paid attention carefully. Just because someone told you information doesn’t mean it is always the right information. It could get a business burnt in the long run so it is always better to check and make sure that information is correct rather than not and be wrong. The article we read “In Data We Trust”, it said that a third of business leaders do not trust their data which means they are probably verifying, while the other two thirds are not.

  • The most important thing I took away from Mr. Whetstone’s talk on Thursday was that data is everywhere. Especially that data is everywhere in business. I know we’ve talked about this before in class, but as someone who works in business using this technological skill, he really broke it down into a way that made sense. I knew all about QVC before he came in, so I had an idea of what he would be discussing on Thursday, but to me he really reinforced the truth that every business, every school, every company, and every person uses data. I thought it was interesting when he explained how QVC uses the data they collect, and I was surprised that they look at how they do each day, instead of how they do for the week or for the month. After his talk I think I’ll be paying closer attention to data and how it’s used and how it can help businesses and company’s like QVC continue to grow.

  • So since I was extremely sick on the day that Maurice Whetstone was in class and couldn’t make it, I took it upon myself to read everyone’s comments and just pictured the type of information that Maurice was sharing with the class. Also I did some brief research of what Maurice Whetstone does and how he is successful. One thing that I read that really interested me was when Maurice spoke about how data is so important to a business. I agree with this because I think that every business needs legit data to refer to for their business. Also I think that data does help a business grow because it shows the weak points in where the business should grow.

  • Maurice Whetstone had some pretty helpful insight on working with big data. One thing that caught my attention was with one of the live broadcast they were monitoring social media to see how people were reacting to the show. They were able to use the data they collected to tell the presenter the answer of some of there questions. Also how you should always check the work before finishing the project because one small mistake can make cost the company a lot.

  • My biggest takeaway was that big data is becoming the way of the future. If we can analyze the data we have and gain insight from it, we can make better decisions based off the intelligence we have gathered from the data. More and more businesses are implementing big data into their business plans. Data analysis is going to be very important in our careers.

  • Maurice Whetstone’s presentation explained why data is so useful, and how it is used in business. Specifically, Mr. Whetstone detailed his experiences using data with QVC, as well as some of his previous positions, for example, Coach. Mr. Whetstone explained how QVC uses data to organize their website, and how they accommodate to the needs of different demographics. In class, we discussed similar scenarios where data can be used to determine target markets. The most important takeaway from his presentation in my opinion was when he said, “trust data, but verify”. This quote is significant because although there are uncountable datasets on almost anything in this world, you must always be sure the data is reliable.

  • I was excited to learn from Maurice’s guest lecture that data analysis software we are learning about in the MIS program is commonly used out in the real world, at least in the retail industry. He recommended learning about and working with SAS and Tableau. As Fox MIS students we will have experience with both of these programs by the time we graduate!

  • After listening to Mr. Whetstone’s presentation, I thought it was very interesting how they used data to sell products the way they did. QVC was not suing data to see how much they sold and what products they needed more of, but they were using live time data to see which words would sell certain products and trying to answer questions about products that people had on blogs so that way they could sell more of them and help the consumer get answers. This was, what I thought to be, extremely valuable information to how business and corporations are going to be successful in the future with sales and how each business and consumer will advertise in the upcoming years.

  • The most important thing I took was from Maurice Whetstone’s story about the employee who emailed the entire customer list to himself, so that he could work with it from home. The customer list was a valuable asset to QVC and that employee put the asset at risk. The value of that list and the inherent risk of putting it on an insecure email server seemed like commons sense. That fact that the employee didn’t realize this showed me that security protocol must be spelled out, so everyone is on the same page.

  • One of Maurice Whetstone’s story that stuck out to me was about one of his employees trying to send the customer’s information through his personal email which can be dangerous and if the customers’s data were seen by the wrong people, the company’s clients and customers may suffer due to lack of security in handling the information given by customers.

  • The most important take away I had from Mr. Maurice was that QVC is not in competition with Amazon. I always wondered how did they maintain an actual profitable business with huge retail giant Amazon down their back.I also didn’t know that they used data for much more than viewing what sales and what doesn’t but for more things like finding a correlation between customers and the things they buy to recommend future purchases. Furthermore, I will honestly say that I really thought QVC was for an older crowd, like my mother and grandmother but come to find out they actually offer some really cool things.

  • The most valuable thing Maurice Whetstone said during his discussion with our class was to make sure you love what you do. He said once you find something you love, you’ll be good at it. This is wildly important because it pertains to every single person with any given major. It was apparent that Maurice truly loves his job at QVC. It was really interesting that Maurice gave us information about his workplace, but also cool that he observed us as the millennials. He explained that it is hard to alter the target audience for QVC, while keeping the one they have now.
    It was also cool to see how data is applied in the business world. I feel like I got an inside scoop of how all of these jobs work together for the same ultimate purpose.

  • His lecture enlightened me of the power of data, and the influence of meta data in real time. An example of this is when they were using live feeds on social media to answer questions to increase the amount of products being sold. Data is in constant evolution, which is why their company measures productivity by the day, and not quarterly. Maurice was also insightful about life decisions. He warned us to make sure we love what we do, and find something that we can wake up enjoy doing every day as opposed to doing it just for the paycheck.

  • One of the coolest takeaways for me was that Maurice Whestone really showed that what the MIS department has been emphasizing and teaching to us is really what is wanted in the business world. He named many skills and programs that would be useful to know when looking for a job/internship and those skills and programs are taught here at Fox. Also he hit on the idea of having the perfect crossbreed between a purely computer science or data-science/statistics background and a business background. The MIS program gives a lot of exposure to computer science and data analytics but also we learn the same business skills as the rest of the students at Fox and from what he said that broad skill-set is very useful in actually being able to explain the data and why it is important from a business-decision standpoint.

  • I think the most important part of the presentation by Mr. Whetstone was the story about his live-data analysis. Monitoring the data started as a sort of game, a fun activity for the IT group, but then it was such useful information that the company executives embraced it. Based on the way that the data manager didn’t expect any real attention to be given to the live analysis, it seems as if data is usually given minimal importance in businesses. But when he got to work, the data was being given a huge importance by executives who had set up a special room for the live analysis. This showed how the relationship between data and business is changing as they become closer connected.

  • I enjoyed the story Maurice Whetstone shared with the class about how QVC uses real-time data from social media platforms such as Twitter to make more informed consumer buyer decisions during live testimonials for products like Bluetooth headphones. I think this insight is what gives QVC a competitive edge against organizations such as HSN. The key takeaway I got from this presentation was the importance of data quality and maintaining metadata. Metadata, data about data, is used at QVC to make decisions about customer service, innovation, and driving costs down while increasing efficiency. Because metadata is so important he stressed making a business glossary which is short term pain for long term gain because it will provide for data integrity.

  • For me, the most important takeaway from Mr. Whetstone’s talk was how important data is and how all of this data can be used in so many different ways. He also talked about the importance of exposing ourselves to Tableau and how it is key to learn more about data so that we can use it to benefit ourselves. Mr. Whetstone did a great job of explaining how data is used to make decisions on a daily basis and how data is constantly changing and getting bigger. Maurice loves what he does and loves his job at QVC, it was clear listening to him that he showed a true passion for what he does

  • The most important takeaway from Maurice Whetstone’s talk I think was “Trust but Verify”. And it applies greatly to my major – Finance. In picking stock, even though there are a lot of data coming from the company itself and from analysts, you still need to do your homework to verify if those information and data can be trusted or not. I used to think that only CS major or MIS major would need to care about data and information security, but now I know that every person who works with a computer and anything that uses data need to know about data security because once those data got out, the consequence would be detrimental.

  • I am fascinated and intrigued at how data analytics, data warehouse and business intelligence play a big role in setting up a business like QVC, or any online business for what it matters. I see online businesses in a different way now- when I shop or view things online now, I think of all the work and effort put into it and I tend to imagine how in the data world, numbers and data are ‘flying around’ in order for the website to work as it is. I can easily know that the products that are appearing when I am shopping on Amazon are a product of their business intelligence service that is sending them queries on my preferences. Data analytics are helping Amazon on what products to offer more to customers and data warehouse is the big enormous ‘terabyte’ room where all of this information is being stored. From Maurice’s talk, I surely learnt that terabytes are not obtained freely and even asking for it is an insult for someone who has worked so hard to acquire it. Maurice has helped me in seeing online shopping websites from a different angle now- from the angle of the provider himself. This showed how what is taught in the MIS program is being used in practical life to make millions of people’s shopping experiences way easier.

  • The most impacting advice that I took from Maurice’s presentation was two separate items. First, “trust, but verify”, and secondly, that data is a valuable asset to a company. The principle of “trust, but verify” is important when dealing with huge amounts of data. Always ensuring that your data is being interpreted and applied as accurately as possible will benefit the customers and therefore the company. Data is important to utilize in any company, and until these past couple of weeks, I have underweighted its importance in the corporate world. Data should be treated as an actual asset in any company.

  • The most important thing I learned from his talk in class regarded how he took data so seriously in his workplace. He truly valued data as an asset, as it was the way his company is able to be so successful and make a profit in today’s market off of other companies. The story he told with one of his coworkers releasing all of the data through an email was relevant as they could potentially be throwing away their entire enterprise to the web.

  • One thing I found be very interesting during Maurice’s talk was how there are data analysis who are constantly watching the social media talk between people while the show is broadcasting. I never knew how much they could derive from all the chatter going on and relay it to the host in time as he/she is marketing a product. Even with my mom being a host on QVC I never knew there were people talking in her ear to say certain words or to even answer frequently asked questions on the internet at the time. Maurice made the importance of understanding and evaluating data very apparent to me, also giving me a new perspective on how companies are gaining the upper hand with data when it comes to making new strategies into profit.

  • I really liked Mr. Whetstone’s anecdote about live data streaming. It was so interesting that the IT team was able to use consumer reviews to affect television. It made me see QVC in a different light because it seems very generic, but they really take reviews into effect. Also, it’s so interesting that they customize online shopping for individuals.

  • I was not present in class for the talk. Sorry.

  • I had a job interview the morning of Maurice Whestone’s visit, so I was unable to make it to his talk. From reading my classmate’s comments I was able to understand that Maurice proved the importance of using data for the success of QVC’s live broadcasts. I was also able to read about the company’s main topics of concentration in regards to data; business IT, data warehousing, and data analytics. In order for the company to remain competitive and successful within the retail market and drive sales, QVC must continue to invest in mining customer data.

  • The most important takeaway i had from Maurice Whetstone’s talk on Thursday was how valuable data is as an asset. The way he used data to increase sales on cyber Monday really showed me how actively data can be monitored and how valuable it can be as an asset overall. I learned how data can be used effectively, and though I knew this I really never knew the possibilities that it can be implemented for. When he talked about how their customer list is a huge asset for their team, my mind went back to our discussion about the Ashley Madison article. Her customer list was exposed, and they tanked because of it. I never knew how valuable that information could be, and how the privacy of it is really important to retain and kept secret.

  • The most important takeaway from Maurice Whetstone presentation involving data was how it was able to be used to help sales during black Friday. Maurice’s team was able to collect real time data from consumers chattering on social media about the products QVC was selling. They used this information to tell the salesman on TV what the consumers wanted to know about the products, and this increased customer satisfaction and sales.

  • The most important takeaway for me was how data really is intergrading into everything. I didn’t realize how much data is in our everyday lives and how far it has come in the business world. It comes down to the simplest things, data is needed for everything and lets consumers and producers find out information they could never have found before.

  • From the in class guest speaker, I learned the true importance of data in a company. In class, we learn the facts and the black and white to data science, and it was nice to see the use of data in the real world with a company like QVC.

  • The most important part of Mr. Whetstone’s talk was the way he explained exactly how a company such as QVC utilizes data analyzation and interpretation. In class, we learn about how we can interpret information and analyze data, but we can never truly understand how it is used in the business world through hypotheticals. Listening to someone that applies data to business concepts on a daily basis was very helpful in understanding the importance of data in the business world.

  • The most important take away from Maurice Whetstone’s talk was the important role that data has in improving a company efficiency. The speaker pointed out the three main areas that were correlated with the use of data, such as Data warehousing, Business Intelligence and Data Analytics. Also, the speaker gave us a real look on the impact of metadata in today’s businesses , by demonstrating its effectiveness on data integrity.

  • What I learned was the importance of verifying your data sources and minimizing sources of bias. It’s pretty easy to run into the wrong sort of correlation, or confuse correlation with causation, especially if you look at only the data that’s relevant to the point you’re trying to make.

  • As a marketing major, I found it to be extremely interesting when Mr. Whetstone spoke about the ways he and his partner used the data they received to assist with business decisions. I’m very into the market research area of marketing right now, and that part of his talk really applied to that field of study, and it was very neat to listen to. I learned how important it is to look closely at sales and other factors in order to make decisions for future business with what has worked and what has not.

  • By listening to Mr. Whetstone, I learned that QVC uses data that is constantly being updated on their live stream. For example, he said that for the nose sound system, their computers were able to compile people’s comments from their website, and social media which then affected what they were saying on the broadcast. This relates back to class about being able to translate data into information.

  • The most important thing I took away from Maurice Whetstone’s talk on Thursday was when he talked about the data that was put in a blank column and not reviewed properly. I found this important because it should always be remembered that you need to double check things before you jump right into them. We cant forget that sometimes people make mistakes so you need to make sure you verify what they are giving to you is correct.One of the articles we read talked about 1/3 of businesses not trusting their data which leads me to believe they make sure to double check it.

  • The most important takeaway from Mr. Whetstone’s talk was how essential data is to running a company efficiently. He discussed how him and his team used data to boost sales, how data internationally is translated into one universal code, and how important keeping data organized is. It was interesting to see a real world application of data in business firsthand.

  • One of the most important take aways I learned from Mr. Whetstone’s presentation was to Trust But Verify. I feel that this is very important not only to data analysis but also to life in general. Today most people get their daily news or knowledge from media outlets whether it be social media or television news. Not to many people further their research to confirm what they are actually told and just believe what they see and hear. You must conduct your own research to find out whether a source or information is credible and in context.

  • There were two parts of Mr. Whetstone’s presentation that stood out to me. The first was his “trust, but verify” slogan. Due to the overwhelming amount of data found online, we can’t take everything as is without having a bit of hesitation about its accuracy. As a Business Intelligence intern, I am constantly extracting data from online sources to build analyses for the department, but I appreciate the importance of verifying because it’s not uncommon to find outliers in the data that must be accounted for. I also enjoyed hearing about his opinion on what skills are necessary for a career as some type of Data Analyst. As a student who is interested in pursuing a career in that field, I was happy to hear firsthand that experience with Tableau and SQL are a plus in the job search process.

  • The most important part I took away from Mr. Whetstone’s talk was his talk of metadata, and what it tells us. I thought this was important because it reinforced what we are currently studying in class. This helped me better understand why we study metadata. I also found it interesting how companies like QVC use metadata to personalize online experience for consumers. In order to study this data employees like Mr. Whetstone study, organize, and mold the data into something useful for the company. Even though I am not interested in jobs like these, being a business major it is very helpful to me to understand how it works.

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