I'm Drew Breunig and I obsess about technology, media, language, and culture. I live in New York, studied anthropology, and work at PlaceIQ.


Posts tagged data

Palladio is a great free tool for exploring your Reporter CSV output.

The second image is an exploration of what I eat compared to the current weather. Clearly, snow dining is unhealthy (yet delicious).

Our data scientists at PlaceIQ analyzed hundreds of thousands of mobile devices to understand the habits of baseball fans, throughout last season. It’s fascinating, though I’m still recovering from the fact that Giants fans are among the most dedicated stadium-goers (but yesterday’s blowout eases the pain). (Via PlaceIQ)

Big data is still supported by old methods of inquiry and discovery. Hypothesis formulation requires creativity and domain familiarity. No shortcut here.
Juan Huerta, one of my coworkers at PlaceIQ, details 6 best practices for making the most of raw data.

PlaceIQ Raises $15M 

In 2013 we grew by more than 70 (bit over 5x) and ended the year in the black.

In a little over month we’ve announced our Rentrak partnership (which allows us to tie TV viewing behaviors to mobile audiences), revealed a great round of funding, struck another agency partnership, and have literally outgrown our office (we move into our second floor in about a month).

And there’s so much more brewing we can’t wait to share.

Reporter is now live in the App Store.

Will write some more later, but in the meantime be sure to check out the amazing site Felton built and read Ellis Hamburger’s review on the Verge.

Handshake says it’s aiming to cut out the market research middle man — and also circumvent the whole ‘free service’ data-grabbing antics of Facebook, Google et al — by building a platform where users can sign up to be approached by companies, negotiate a price for their data, and decide who to sell it to (and who not to). The basic idea is to create a marketplace for personal data. “Handshake.uk.com will turn what has previously been stolen into a currency which can be traded,” says co-founder Duncan White in a statement. It estimates that users of the platform could earn between £1,000 and £5,000 per year for selling their data via the platform — and says it’s basing this estimate on “the traditional cost of market research agencies”.


No one is paying $1k per year for your data.

It is clever of Handshake to lump the ‘sell your own data’ dream in with market research (aka surveys and focus groups). Marketers won’t touch Handshake’s user-opted-in data until it reaches an amazing size. While we wait for that, surveys will theoretically shore up the ecosystem by paying users and attracting clients.

But still: most won’t find survey time worth the time and will abandon quickly, likely before the dream of a user opted-in data marketplace reaches sufficient scale.

The problem with selling your own data is that alone it’s worth almost nothing. A handful of bucks a month, perhaps, if you share your entire internet history. Why it’s so cheap is a topic for another post, but trust me here: one person’s data is not worth much.

To really crack this market, companies are going to have to figure out how to turn the few dollars your data will earn into something more compelling than a few dollars.

Funnily enough, that’s exactly online publishing’s business model. They package you data advertising and trade you to marketers in exchange for free content. A data marketplace needs to make small amounts of money at least as compelling as content for people to opt-in and customers to shell out.

My hunch is this market will be cracked by people who offer long term relationships. The ‘payment’ will take advantage of compound interest rates or insurance pools. Perhaps it will subsidize health care when you retire (“share your history with us and we’ll let you stay with your doctor when you turn 65!”). Or perhaps it will negotiate deals with other interest based businesses on similar time lines (“lower your student loan rates by installing this plug-in!”).

The 2nd most controversial English Wikipedia page is “Anarchism.” (Via The Economist)

Vanity Fair on the New Cyver War 

Essential reading. Will have unexpected effects:

The U.S. banking leadership is said to be extremely unhappy at being stuck with the cost of remediation—which in the case of one specific bank amounts to well over $10 million. The banks view such costs as, effectively, an unlegislated tax in support of U.S. covert activities against Iran. The banks “want help turning [the DDoS] off, and the U.S. government is really struggling with how to do that. It’s all brand-new ground,” says a former national-security official. And banks are not the only organizations that are paying the price. As its waves of attacks continue, Qassam has targeted more banks (not only in the U.S., but also in Europe and Asia) as well as brokerages, credit-card companies, and D.N.S. servers that are part of the Internet’s physical backbone.

(Via Vanity Fair)

The New XBox can Detect Your Heartbeat

So says Ars. Here’s the applications I’m anticipating:

  • Detection of feelings for an in-game character by measuring heart rate when they appear on screen.
  • Dialing 911 for heart attacks that occur on the couch.
  • Meditation training.

Any others?

In the latter half of 2011, I offered to help Nicholas Felton spec out an iOS app for collecting survey and ambient data throughout 2012 for his next iteration of his Annual Report. Halfway through our requirements discussion – about the time I realized the app a) wouldn’t be public and would be b) would be a really fun challenge with a wholly unique use case – I offered to build the app myself. I’m sure we’ll share more details later, but for now Felton’s final designs speak for themselves.

4,739 reports later, the results are stunning.

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