The phenomenal recent success of the Freakonomics and Malcolm Gladwell franchises, and their offshoots, has sparked unprecedented curiosity in the analytics profession.
Not long ago, business executives tended to see us as technocrats speaking an abstruse lingo engaged in niche activities with uncertain effects: smart, intimidating, hard to grasp, lost in details.
Times are changing. Best-selling authors have demonstrated how to use low-density, soft-touch narratives to convey analytical results to broad audiences. They imagine the analytics professional as a kind of intellectual hero, wielding data as weapons against conventional wisdom. The common structure of these stories follows the well-known analytical process, beginning with defining the research question and ending with discovering the correct answer. All this is masterfully told, but represents only half the story.
In my experience, the analytics job is less a solitary struggle for the scientific truth than a managerial challenge in balancing objectives, facilitating collaboration and creating consensus. In this talk, I will tell the second half of the story, using materials from my recently published book, Numbers Rule Your World. The focus is on what happens after the math is done.
Kaiser Fung is a professional statistician with more than a decade of experience applying statistical methods to unlocking the relationship between advertising and customer behaviors.
He leads a team of statisticians at Sirius XM Radio that is responsible for gleaning insight into customers and operational best practices.
His blog, Junk Charts, pioneered the critical examination of data and graphics in the mass media.
Since 2005, Junk Charts has received rave reviews from Science magazine, the Guardian, Yahoo!, and Stanford University Libraries.
He is also author of Numbers Rule Your World: The Hidden Influence of Numbers and Statistics on Everything You Do.
Fung is an adjunct professor at New York University, where he teaches practical statistics to professionals. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, in addition to statistics and engineering degrees from Princeton and Cambridge Universities.