data science

What is a Data Scientist

Just like a scientist using the scientific method, a data scientist looks closely and observes data – they generate questions and are naturally curious about the data being observed. They also use various mathematical and statistical algorithms to better understand the data and better answer the questions being asked.

Data science is an emerging field of study that creatively solves problems and extracts knowledge from data using mathematics, statistics, and computer science knowledge and skills. A data scientist has the ability to take data, understand it, process it, extract value from it, visualize it, and communicate what it means. As you can see from this description, many skills are needed for a data scientist, not just database and computer science skills.

Google Trends Examples: How to research your business

So what is Google Trends? I hate to start super simplistically, but the majority of those who stumble upon this blog are at that point in their internet marketing research.

Below is an example of two items that are highly seasonal. Santa Claus and Prom Dress. Why did I choose these? To make my second point for slide #2. But in this slide you can see that Santa Claus is extremely popular around Christmas time. He is so popular that he scores 100 out of 100. Prom Dress are therefore put into perspective of their overall interest even during their most important time of the year in the Spring.

Google Trends

This is where it gets good. If you were starting a website to sell Prom Dress you might think that going after the keywords “Prom Dress” would be a great idea. It seems like teenage girls might be searching for a prom dress, until you actually go into Google Trends and see how big of a difference there is in searches for “prom dresses” over “prom dress”. And finally, if you were worried that prom dresses might be losing their interest you can see that 2013 is about as good as it has been in terms of interest since 2005. And you can see that even the season for search starts a bit earlier in the year than “Prom Dress”. That does not mean you exclude the term “prom dress” as that might be closer to the purchasing funnel when someone has narrowed down their searches for a specific type of prom dress–thus it happens a bit closer to prom day.

Google Trends

10 Google Chrome plugins for SEO and developers

Broken Link Checker – is a link checker that crawls through your webpage and looks for broken links. Check My Links is an extension developed primarily for web designers, developers and content editors. When you’re editing a web page that has lots of links, wouldn’t it be handy to be able to quickly check that all the links on the page are working ok? That’s where Check My Links comes in.

Redirect Path Checker – Redirect Path flags up 301, 302, 404 and 500 HTTP Status Codes, bringing potential issues that may not otherwise be seen to your attention immediately.

As well as flagging up redirects and errors, the plugin also displays other HTTP Headers (such as server types and caching headers) and the server IP Address at the click of a button.

SEOmoz Toolbar – SEOmoz has updated the MozBar with even more useful new features that streamline your SEO. The MozBar provides easy access to the most powerful SEO tools and data while you surf the Web.

Chrome Sniffer – his extension will help web developer to inspect web framework / CMS and javascript library running on current browsing website. An icon will appear on address bar indicates the detected framework. Version detecting is being implemented.

Google Analytics Debugger – This extension loads the debug version of the Google Analytics Javascript for all sites you browse using Google Chrome. It prints useful information to the Javascript console. These messages include error messages and warnings which can tell you when your analytics tracking code is set up incorrectly. In addition, it provides a detailed breakdown of each tracking beacon sent to Google Analytics.

Microformats for Chrome – Displays any microformats on the page. Supports hCard, hCalendar, hReview, hRecipes and geo.

Rulers Guides and Eyedropper Color Picker – For UI developers. Pick any color from webpage using eye-dropper tool; display rulers, guides and grid on the page.

Word Count – Counts the words and characters in your selection

Source Kit – A Textmate like lightweight programmer’s text editor right inside of Chrome. It saves files directly to Dropbox, so if you have the Dropbox sync software installed, the changes will appear locally as if you did so with a text editor! Changes will be stored remotely so naturally this same extension will pull up the same copy of the file everywhere!

Web Developer – The Web Developer extension adds various web developer tools to a browser. The extension is available for Chrome and Firefox, and will run on any platform that these browsers support including Windows, OS X and Linux.

Solved: How to Find the Eclipse path on Mac or Windows

If you are using Eclipse to work on Java programming and need to import a file but get an error it’s most likely your path. After a lot of searching and reading through dozens of posts I have found the solution. Create a class called “FileGenerator” and add the following code:

public class fileGenerator {      
	 public static void main(String[] args)

Copy the path from Eclipse in your status screen and paste that into your file path. An example of that is:

Scanner fin = new Scanner(new File("/Users/name/java/src/filename.txt"));

The Future of College Education

Having taken courses for my Masters at major universities and also courses from Coursera, and a few others, you can’t help but note that there is a huge disruption of education afoot.

Those teaching courses on Coursera, and other online free courses, are from well-known universities such as Wharton and Stanford. The world is free to explore courses from top-notch educational institutes that were once not even possible except for the top percentage of students. College is ripe for complete disruption.

So, what might happen? Colleges might for as long as they can offer the same degree programs online as they do on-campus–and some others they may have not offered. Or, do something that has been seemingly impossible, just offer the courses across a site like Coursera and compete for students. Coursera could issue a Master’s degree providing you follow the programs. The beauty is that you could learn Java from Penn and Operating Systems from MIT. Revenue for the elite schools might look great now because they can charge a premium but the more disruption the more likely they will lose to more competitive open colleges.

The model would look like this:

  • You take course online at college co-op like Coursera. They provide you with a program list that you take to earn your degree.
  • You’d pay for a course and schools could potentially make far more than they could with only their current students alone. Instead of a few hundred, if that, for some courses, they could have 10,000 students taking a beginners course in Java to start their Computer Science degree. Imagine how many students need Psychology for a vast majority of different degrees.
  • You could do something as a hybrid. Go to a physical campus but pick up some of your other courses online–again, see the above example of psychology. The opportunity for a small college to teach psychology to thousands of students at once would change the face of education and their revenue model.
  • So what kind of degree would you get? A Coursera Masters? Maybe, or maybe a school like MIT says you must take at least X amount of MIT courses and the rest can come from the co-op schools and you get an MIT degree, or maybe its the University of Kansas or University of Vermont. The beauty is that you could end up with courses and credits that align and end up with multiple degrees from different schools.

Educators can either look at this as the end of traditional school or a pivot to something new. The opportunity to make society far more educated than ever is upon us. The good news for consumers is that competition will only make it easier and education better.

Square could make my commuters lives easier

Anyone who has ridden Metro North out of NYC has on occasion had to rush to a train without a ticket. And if you don’t have cash you are up the creek. Not only that, but paying with cash is even more expensive.

How is it in 2012 that trains in America don’t take credit cards? Not only that, but there are still conductors on trains punching tickets and they don’t take credit cards.

This is where Square comes in. You know the credit card swipe dongle that goes on the iPhone in the shape of a square? Anyway, if I was at Square I’d give every conductor on the Metro North a free iPhone and pay their monthly bill just to get them to use Square. They’d probably cover their costs in a day for a years worth of iPhones and monthly bills.

Not only that–they’d make a lot of commuters lives a lot happier!

Best Practices for Google UTM campaign tracking code

So you want to run ads on Facebook, emails or banner ads and track how they convert and what your ROI is for these campaigns? The best way to do so is in Google Analytics with UTM codes.

First, here is where you build your UTM code.

Second, you will want to be consistant with how you track your campaigns. I’ll use an example of a campaign and how you’d track it. Make sure to use these on all campaigns so you can follow flow through the site/landing pages whether its advertising or emails or social media links.

Here is an example of how to do a campaign:

Let’s say you are running a Facebook ad that is targeted towards Democrats about “clean air” so here are the steps:
1. Add the url of the landing page in the url above
2. Campaign Source: facebook
3. Campaign Medium: cpc (pay per click — but you will want to use cpc so that pay per click ads are consistant with how Google tracks Adwords)
4. Campaign Term: Add the keywords here that you targetted within the ad. An example could be “mattress” or “52 plasma tv”
4. Campaign Name: clean-air [this could also be democrats-clean-air]

Here is the code you would put into your advertisement on the Facebook ad you used:

NOTE about Google Adwords: You do not have to add the utm codes for adwords. Google adds them automatically.

Facebook Lead Generation better than Google Adwords?

Is Facebook better at lead generation than Google Adwords? That depends on what you are trying to achieve. During a campaign just in the last week Google Adwords against Facebook for generating leads doesn’t appear to be a close match even though their conversion rates didn’t appear to be vastly different. Google Adwords generated around a 6% conversion rate while Facebook converted around 10%. That doesn’t seem like a huge difference overall, but what was significant was that Facebook was producing around 30 new leads to every 1-2 leads generated from Google Adwords.

Why? Better targeting. We knew precisely who we wanted to target and with what message. This used to be something that Google would boast about, but the difference is that Google was driving 100k impressions but very few clicks. Sure, the conversions rates look good, but for less impressions Facebook actually had a significantly higher click-through rate on less impressions. Google Adwords produced a ~.50% click-through rate. Facebook was around 10%. Which means for every 1000 ad views Google Adwords would produce 5 clicks while Facebook would produce 100. Now you can see how significant the numbers are.

If you have to run a campaign to generate leads–proof positive that Facebook can generate those leads quicker than Google Adwords.

Musings :)