Business Intelligence? We Still Live In A Stupid World.

I lost my credit card last week – and am just too lazy to call them up and ask them to send me a new card. But here is the thing – the card has had no transactions in the past 2 weeks – not one transaction – and with all the noise around big data and pattern based transaction analytics and prediction and stuff, nobody has called me from the bank asking “we noticed a sudden pause in your card usage – have you lost your card?” – they just lost hundreds of dollars worth of transactions from me (i am just using a card from a different bank) and I am just one of their few million cardmembers.

For Interesting Statistics Everyday, Find Statspotting on Facebook and Follow Statspotting on Twitter

How Badly Do You Want Your Thing To Exist In The World?

Here is one criteria that is an absolute predictor of success – how badly do you want your thing to exist in the world? If you really, really want it to exist – it will exist, regardless of everything else. It is a loaded question – it tests your core belief that lead to your concept, and is in a way the only thing that will keep you going in the face of constraints and ‘No’s. It is the one thing that helps you build believers. It is the one thing that would ultimately differentiate you from the also-rans. It did – it is the reason why Google, Amazon and Facebook exist in the world and countless others do not.

How Badly Do You Want Your Thing To Exist In The World? If your answer is ‘very badly’ you are on the right track. If your answer is ‘I will bring it to existence no matter what’ you are almost there.

For Interesting Statistics Everyday, Find Statspotting on Facebook and Follow Statspotting on Twitter

Google, We Are Not Feeling Lucky

Or Playful, or Doodley, or Hungry. Isn’t it high time Google killed the ‘I’m feeling Lucky’ button leaving just one button called ‘Search’ on their homepage?

PG mentioned in a recent talk that he is really scared of Google’s homepage these days – so much Javascript you never know what’s going to happen next. “I feel like I am being A/B tested on” is what he said.

Google, here is a starting point to address such concerns. We are not feeling lucky. Just take that button away.

For Interesting Statistics Everyday, Find Statspotting on Facebook and Follow Statspotting on Twitter

‘Do Not Make Success Inconsequential’

This gem is from Vinod Khosla: It is a very good idea to place huge bets on projects, as long as the successful scenario is ‘worth it’. The mistake that most VCs and entrepreneurs do, is that they eliminate risk so much, that in the process, they reduce the ‘impact’ of the project. This reduces the consequences of success greatly – in other words, success becomes inconsequential. Not a preferred outcome.

In executing a black swan opportunity, do not turn it into grey or white. Sums it up.

For Interesting Statistics Everyday, Find Statspotting on Facebook and Follow Statspotting on Twitter

When Everyone Wants To Buy And Nobody Wants To Sell..

For Interesting Statistics Everyday, Find Statspotting on Facebook and Follow Statspotting on Twitter

Which Is The Most Watched TV Broadcast In The World Ever?

We had spotted the most tweeted event in the world – one question that we always wanted to find out the answer for, was this – which is the most watched TV event, ever? must be some sports event – how about a superbowl – or, going by the popularity of cricket in the world’s second most populous country, India, could it be a cricket match? We spotted this today:

“Estimates for the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony global TV viewership varied between one and four billion, including an estimated 842 million viewers watching on host Chinese broadcaster China Central Television.A verifiable audience of 984 million tuned in to the opening ceremony at some stage, averaging at 593 million, while 778 million watched the closing ceremony.The 2008 Summer Olympics is the current record holder for a multi-day broadcast. It is estimated by Nielsen Media Research that up to 4.7 billion individual viewers (70% of the world’s population) watched some part of the coverage.”

Statistics Source: Wikipedia

For Interesting Statistics Everyday, Find Statspotting on Facebook and Follow Statspotting on Twitter

Is Poker A Game Of Skill Or Chance?

[This post is a response to the paper “THE ROLE OF SKILL VERSUS LUCK IN POKER: EVIDENCE FROM THE WORLD SERIES OF POKER” by Steven D. Levitt (Freakanomics author) and Thomas J. Miles.

So is Poker a game of skill or chance?

For those of us who have tried the game, the answer seems to be clear – it is a combination of skill and chance. But here is the thing – what in life, isn’t? That helps us rephrase the question – like so many things in life, is Poker just another test of skill, with chance playing a huge role as well?

The first time we came across a convincing argument that Poker is NOT a game of chance was this:

“Yet perhaps the clearest argument in favour of poker being skill- rather than chance-dependent comes from Mr Sklansky, and it has to do with losing rather than winning. Imagine trying intentionally to lose at a game of pure chance, like roulette or baccarat. It would be impossible. At the beginning of a deal or a roll you have to bet on something. You can no more deliberately play badly than you can deliberately play well. The same is not true for poker, which offers multiple opportunities to make sure you lose.”

Source: The Economist, A special report on gambling – At war with luck – Is poker a game of skill or chance?

We were convinced with that logic – of course you cannot play Roulette to lose, and hence Poker is definitely a game of skill.

But here is the thing – You can actually play Roulette, or for that matter, Craps to lose. Thats the whole house advantage thing. The fact is,no matter how you play, for every roll of the dice or for every spin in roulette, you stand to lose.
In fact there is not a single game inside a casino that you cannot play to lose, and that includes Poker.

So that argument from the Economist went out of the window. Now we have this new working paper, that argues, based on WSOP data, that Skill plays a more important role than Chance in Poker.

The premise of the paper is very simple – skilled players (ranked before the tournament) performed better in the tournament than others. So skill has a big role to play, right? Here is the summary from the paper:

“Using newly available data, we analyze that question by examining the performance in the 2010 World Series of Poker of a group of poker players identified as being highly skilled prior to the start of the events. Those players identified a priori as being highly skilled achieved an average return on investment of over 30 percent, compared to a -15 percent for all other players. This large gap in returns is strong evidence in support of the idea that poker is a game of skill.”

What is the flaw in this argument? Remember the concluding paragraph from our post “Roulette: After 3 Reds, Do You Pick Red Or Black?“:

“A person believing in the “law of small numbers” thinks that small samples should “look like” the parent distribution, i.e. that the sample should be representative of the parent distribution. Thus, the person believes that out of, say, 6 spins 3 should be red and 3 should be black (ignoring green). If observed outcomes in the small sample differ from the 50:50 ratio, immediate reversal is expected. Thus, somebody observing 2 times red in 6 consecutive spins believes that black is “due” on the 3rd spin to restore the 50:50 ratio.”

Think about it – we all believe in the law of small numbers one way or the other. In all fields. We are just being stupid.”

That exactly is the issue here – do the analysis with, say 1000 WSOP data, and you are still talking about small numbers. For a conclusion as big as this.

Let us close with Forrest Gump then. Life, like Poker, is a box of chocolates.You never know what you’re gonna get.

For Interesting Statistics Everyday, Find Statspotting on Facebook and Follow Statspotting on Twitter

$500 Million Gambled Away In Indo-Pak World Cup Semi-Final

We spotted this stat today:

“The money gambled on cricket now is astronomical, and if former International Cricket Council (ICC) CEO Malcolm Speed is to be believed, at least 500 million dollars was gambled away during the recent World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan in Mohali , India. ”

Statistics Source: Economic Times

For Interesting Statistics Everyday, Find Statspotting on Facebook and Follow Statspotting on Twitter

ICC World Cup 2011 Final: Rs 2.3 to 2.4 Million For A 10 Second Slot

“Official broadcaster ESPN Star Sports (ESS) is charging Rs 23-24 lakh for a 10-second slot from last-minute advertisers. Broadcasters sell a part — usually up to 10 per cent — ad slots just before an event to cash in on any possible spike in demand. The ad rates for the final are five-six times the Rs 3.5-4 lakh that ESS charged for the league matches and almost double the Rs 13 lakh advertisers paid for the final match of the third edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL-3) last year.”

Statistics Source: SaveOnDish

For Interesting Statistics Everyday, Find Statspotting on Facebook and Follow Statspotting on Twitter