The Elephants to Watch Out for in 2016


John Balla, Customer Intelligence Marketer

John Balla is the team lead for customer intelligence field marketing at SAS. He has a background in marketing, which spans his own startups to Fortune 100 global corporations. He has lived and worked on three continents and says he has a fluent command of Portuguese, Spanish, Hungarian, and (sometimes) English. John loves the beach, snow skiing, cooking, and gardening. He tries to handle stress with humor and puts the 'X' in extrovert.

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Re: Asking the right questions
  • 1/31/2016 9:45:56 AM
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Confirmation bias will be highlighted more as we begin to question assumptions.  A book called Predictive Analytics by Eric Siegel shared some unique discoveries - vegans seldom miss their flights is one unusual confirmation (need to reread to recall the why behind it).  But how ability to predict accurately will depend on how well we manage confirmation bias.

Re: Valuable lesson
  • 1/31/2016 9:40:50 AM
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Funny how today's emphasis on storytelling invokes these stories so easily (and logically)! 

Re: Asking the right questions
  • 1/18/2016 8:12:42 AM
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Asking questions always seems to be a good way to go. But, as noted watch out for the confirmation bias, where our mind's particular way of thinking wants to answer the question with a standard answer. But thinking out of the box for those answers may eliminate much of the errors our mind tends to come up with automatically.

Re: Asking the right questions
  • 1/8/2016 4:03:26 PM
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Too often, decisions are made without really looking at the data. Fight your confirmation bias. Look carefully at outliers - both good and bad - to understand what's going on. What's causing the differences?

Maybe it's as simple as the old IBM motto: Think or the updated version: Think Differently.

It's much easier to jump to conclusions or just say "I told you so" without really working to understand what the data means.

Re: Asking the right questions
  • 1/8/2016 1:17:57 PM
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Yes, PredictableChaos... asking the right questions -- or maybe being authentically curious -- is essential and part of the equation. But acknowledgment of missing the forest for the trees also seems to be at the heart of what John Balla is writing about here. Too often, we think the problem or the issue is X, when in fact it ends up being Y, but we're too close to it to get a better meta view to solve it or address it intelligently.

Re: Valuable lesson
  • 1/8/2016 11:44:31 AM
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Good point about being okay with knowing what you don't know, about awareness (and I really like the elephant parable - did not know this existed!). Most companies are starting to realize without any analytics, you can't survive i.e. you don't know what you don't know.  So to be at least a inquisitive and curious as the men on the elephant is to be the entry mark of being a modern business.

Re: Valuable lesson
  • 1/8/2016 9:52:06 AM
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How true. Knowing what you don't know is the real kicker. The Black Swan theory puts a crimp in trying to think that we can accurately figure out a very complex system. Those outliers will come back to bite us, and it's not something predictable, but yet we have to be ready for them when they do show up unpredictably.

Asking the right questions
  • 1/7/2016 6:42:40 PM
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I would go so far as to say that the ability to 'ask the right questions' is one of the factors that sets leaders apart.

Having trained several C-levels in our business, it is refreshing to have a managers who can ask really good questions. Isn't that almost half the battle?

Re: Valuable lesson
  • 1/6/2016 3:12:07 PM
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The problem in life is as in the stroy of the elephant. Not knowing something is fine as long as you realize you don't know it. The problem arises when you don'y know what you don't know. Elephants are easier to figure that out with than are complex data sets.

Re: Valuable lesson
  • 1/5/2016 9:08:04 PM
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I think I read it in a children's story book when I was a child. I've heard it many times over the years. It's a very popular story along with the story of the crow with the pebbles. Happy new year everyone.

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