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Properly Extracting Value from Data

03SETH-master675

Is big data overrated? In a world ruled where metrics are king, raw data is being used to assess the quality of subjective things. We use big data to quantify the quality of teachers, students, and our fitness, but what insights are we drawing from that data?

In the mid-nineties, websites like Facebook were using human judgement to help discern quality insights over mindless data. Asking people how they felt about what was presented to them in their newsfeed granted them insight on what was an absent-minded click and what was an actual engagement.

Big data often fails to consider human factors that are often left unaccounted for. In the case of teachers, big data may determine that a certain teacher is doing poorly, but small data will tell us why that is. Conversely, it can tell us what a teacher is doing right to yield better results amongst children. Big data does a great job of explaining results, but a poor job of explaining how or why you got there. There is no replacement for human inspection and expertise, as much as companies try to avoid doing so.

As optimistic as we’d like to be about using big data to improve our lives and save us money, we can’t let it replace traditional decision making. Instead, we should use it as a tool to make more educated decisions.

To read the full article on The New York Times, click here.

Words of Wisdom from Vivek Gupta

Vivek

Vivek Gupta is the C.E.O of Zensar Technologies, a global software services company based in Pune, India. In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of the New York times, Gupta opened up about his management style, hiring techniques and the importance of a solid elevator pitch. Here are some highlights from the interview:

  • Know the difference between managing activities and managing people: “Over time I realized you don’t manage activities. You manage people, and you worry about the outcomes.”
  • Communication is key: “50% of a C.E.O.’s communication is non-verbal. Everything you do, even the way you smile in a room, really matters.”
  • Beware of hiring people just like you: “I want to hire people who are very different to me or better than me in certain areas so that one plus one equals more then two.”
  • Prioritize potential over performance: “I try to focus on a person’s potential rather than their performance. What that means by definition is that I should be encouraging people from by own company to take positions before I go and hire people from the outside.”
  • Have a solid elevator pitch: “You’ve got three minutes. What will you tell me about yourself? It’s interesting to hear the traits that people focus on.”

Click here to read the entire interview.

Could Parenting Skills Be Transferrable To A CEO?

Penny Herscher

Penny Herscher is the Chief Executive of FirstRain, a business analytics firm based out of San Mateo, California. In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of the New York Times, Herscher drew some interesting parallels between her approach to managing children as a parent and managing a company as a chief executive. Here are some of the key points from the interview:

  • Don’t hog the spotlight: “You need to let other people blossom and thrive” otherwise you’ll find yourself with employees that don’t want to work for you.
  • Having kids can change the way you manage: “The things you learn raising a child are great skills for nurturing a team and bringing a project to life. You take obstacles out of the way, encourage them and set goals that are tough but can be achieved.”
  • You need somebody who isn’t afraid to tell you the truth: “Many leaders with strong personalities never hear the truth because their people are afraid to tell them. The people who will tell you the truth are the most valuable people in your life.”
  • As a CEO you can’t blame anyone else: You can look to a board of executives or shareholders for advice, but not permission. As a CEO “You are it! You have to make the decisions. You can collect advice, but nobody is going to make a decision for you, so just get on with it and make the decisions. If they’re right you’ll be fine, and if they’re wrong you’ll be fired.”
  • When hiring, look for “I.Q, integrity and energy, because you can’t teach those.”
  • Ask questions in interviews that tell you MORE about the candidate: “What makes you really special,” “how do you grow your employees” and “what’s your natural strength” are great examples.

Click here to view the full article from the New York Times.

4 Ways To Build Your People Skills

Good Comm

Effective leaders need good interpersonal communication skills. 

Try these techniques for communicating better with your colleagues:

1) Use affirming language;

2) Offer suggestions rather than criticisms;

3) Limit how often you express unsolicited opinions; and

4) Adjust your preferred communication style.

 

Click here to view the related Business Management Daily article in full.

When Titles Get in the Way

RYAN CARSON | Chief Executive of "Treehouse" an online education platform.

RYAN CARSON | Chief Executive of “Treehouse” – an online education platform.

 

I have often thought that titles get in the way when growing a small business.

What do you think?

Click here to view the entire article from the New York Times.