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Don Philip Faithful's Blog (123)

Social Teratogenesis and Ergatigenesis

I picked up the term “teratogenesis” from an environmental toxicology course that I took in the early 90s.  The professor explained the origins of the term to the class:  the making of monsters.  Assuming the etymology is Greek, I created the partner term “ergatigenesis” – meaning the making of labourers.  By labourer, I mean the “everyday worker” or as some might say the “proletariat” or member of the working class.  Even here the meaning isn’t quite right.  I mean the domesticated,…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on November 10, 2018 at 10:11am — No Comments

Challenge of Confirming Program Efficacy

Something that has always troubled me with statistics is the pretense of certainty.  The conclusions – being closely associated with calculations – tend to be reached rapidly.  I might only be starting to give a problem some thought – although a statistician has already drawn conclusions.  Over time, this can make a person feel insecure about his intellectual capacity – and perhaps cause him to write a blog on the subject.  Consider the simulated data below:  a special program was…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on October 28, 2018 at 8:05am — No Comments

Social Complacency Model of Personal Privacy – The Faulty Discourse

Something I learned during my graduate studies is that jails – like the old Don Jail as it once existed in Toronto (photographed by me above) – has special significance among those that study the history of people with disabilities.  For one thing, there are many people…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on October 14, 2018 at 9:03am — No Comments

Pattern Recognition Objects and the Internal Conception of Meaning

A candlestick chart is sometimes used by stock market technicians to make trading decisions.  Each candlestick graphically depicts the following prices simultaneously:  opening, closing, high, and the low.  An interesting question is whether candlesticks can be used for pattern recognition purposes.  Traders directly interpret the charts - applying a type of pattern recognition that might involve industry norms and personal judgment.  But I mean using a systematic or algorithmic…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on October 8, 2018 at 5:46am — No Comments

Letting the Market Do the Managing

For some organizations the title might not be too meaningful, but it is meant to emphasize a conceptual point.  The managers in an organization do the managing.  They do this at least theoretically by managing resources – including people.  Then in the end, if fortune is smiling, the markets will adhere to the game plan, and the company will succeed.  However, companies routinely fail, creating products and services that the markets don’t care to purchase.  They sometimes use methods…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on September 29, 2018 at 10:33am — No Comments

Applying Noise Reduction to Stock Market Data

I don’t believe the issue of stock market noise has received much attention from professionals in the investment industry.  I am uncertain if it is much of a topic even among traders.  It certainly wouldn’t be unusual for noise to be discussed among data scientists.  Consider the implications of the suggestion that some trading days provide better guidance than other days – and that analysts should be focused on days that contain less “noise.”  The quality of one’s guidance becomes…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on September 22, 2018 at 10:18am — 2 Comments

Wrongness of the Nogs

Recently, I encountered the mystery of a stock trading algorithm that habitually makes the wrong investment decision.  It is usually wrong 55 to 60 percent of the time.  This algorithm makes use of simulated traders – usually a thousand of them.  Each trader is triggered to do buy and sell orders using a purely technical approach – that is to say, by analyzing the price.  I call the simulated traders that make money “the Nogs.”  By definition, all of the Nogs are winners. …

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on September 15, 2018 at 7:49am — No Comments

Designing Data-oriented Processes

An important part of my job - which I don't recall ever learning in school - is designing data-oriented processes. I can program in a number of computer programs. Writing a computer program certainly involves designing a process. Many people have the experience of being at a line-up - perhaps at an airport or cashier. At some point, somebody designed that line premised on how people would be processed. A web designer might create an online registration system for students that wish to enroll…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on September 12, 2018 at 6:22am — No Comments

Market Alignment - An Application of Systems Theory for Organizations

The main components of systems theory that readers might remember are “inputs,” “processes,” and “outputs.”  The part that tends to get neglected is “feedback mechanisms.”  These mechanisms tell the system the extent to which operations fit the environment.  If there is lack of fitness, there is stress.  One adaptive impulse is to make processes more complex and intelligent - i.e. sometimes described as the fight response.  Another impulse is to give up and run away - i.e. the flight…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on June 23, 2018 at 9:00am — 1 Comment

Measuring Levels of Alignment

In my most recent blog, I discussed the idea of aligning the supply of services to market demand.  My conceptualization of “alignment” specifically relates to time intervals: i.e. having people at the right place and at the right time - for example, to take advantage of opportunities - is a sign of alignment.  Alignment for me is often about the relationship between capacity and incapacity:  the ability to supply services versus the inability to satisfy the market demand…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on June 16, 2018 at 6:30am — No Comments

Fugues of Operational Market Alignment

In the “Ecology of Metrics,” I wrote about “alignment” being a type of metric; alignment can measure the extent to which an organization’s supply or capacity is matched against the demands or needs of the market.  For instance, in a call centre, it would be highly desirable to have agents available to respond to calls at “precisely” the same time that clients are making calls.  If alignment is off even by only 15 to 30 seconds, impatient clients might hang up and never call again.  Similarly…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on June 2, 2018 at 5:00am — No Comments

Ecology of Metrics

Although I deal with many different types of metrics, I believe they can be generally classified as follows: 1) time use; 2) alignment; 3) production; 4) performance; 5) service; 6) and market.  In this blog, I will be providing some comments pertaining to each.  Although I have yet to encounter any myself, I am certain that there must be text books on the issue of operational metrics and how to make use of them.  However, I personally developed nearly all of those that I use.  Although I do…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on May 26, 2018 at 9:00am — No Comments

Reconciling Opposing Performance Metrics Using Operational Simulations

Sometimes when dealing with performance metrics, there are contradictory signals.  For instance, although both are desirable, it is common for efficiency and efficacy to be in opposition.  An agent in a call centre can handle lots of calls while at the same time getting few sales; this is especially true if the agent’s main objective is to do lots of calls.  This is a highly efficient person albeit unsuccessful in terms of expanding the business.  Conversely, another agent by spending a…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on May 6, 2018 at 3:30am — No Comments

Technical Boundary Analysis

About a month ago, I posted a blog on “Technical Deconstruction.” I described this as a technique to break down aggregate data to distinguish between its contributing parts: these parts might contain unique characteristics compared to the aggregate.  For instance, I suggested that it can be helpful to break down data by workday - that is to say, maintaining separate data for each day of the week.  I said that the data could be further deconstructed perhaps by time period and employee: the…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on April 14, 2018 at 8:00am — No Comments

Seduction of Success

The following simulation is based on a presentation that I attended in the 1990s.  I was an investment junkie back then.  I sat down, and I listening to people speak about their ideas on making money - on television and sometimes live.  The presenter in this case was trying to explain that investment success is sometimes a matter of chance.  He had people in the audience stand up.  He asked them to guess heads or tails.  Those that were correct continued to the next round - to guess again -…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on March 31, 2018 at 11:00am — 2 Comments

Technical Deconstruction

The term “technical analysis” usually refers to the study of stock prices.  A technical analyst might use real-time or closing prices of stocks to predict future prices.  This is an interesting concept because of what is normally excluded from the analysis - namely, everything except prices.  Given that the approach doesn’t necessarily consider the health or profitability of the underlying companies, a purely technical approach seems to offer guidance that is disconnected from reality.  Yet…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on March 17, 2018 at 3:00am — No Comments

Little Hitler Syndrome

What most people call “analysis,” I refer to this as “guidance.”  It is not guidance in terms of guiding the company; but rather, I provide a narrative to help guide people through the data - of which there is a great deal.  I play the role of a tour guide.  I remember when I was a teaching assistant for a social science class - and there was a contentious area that would likely be the focal point for essays - I said that it didn’t matter to me what “opinions” people expressed.  Nobody had…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on March 3, 2018 at 11:00am — 1 Comment

When Aggregates Fail

In general, any expression of performance that applies to a department can, if the data system is configured properly, be stated in relation to individual workers.  For instance, if # of sales contracts / # of customer enquiries = success rate, the success rate can be given for the entire dealership and also for each sales agent in that dealership.  Due to the differences in performance between agents, it can be problematic to only make use of the aggregate.  Some agents might be blamed for…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on February 25, 2018 at 7:30am — No Comments

Applied Ontology and the Drivers of Data Recognition

I shared my story in a few blogs about returning to university to do a graduate degree.  In my first class, I found myself being asked to define “ontology.”  It was a course on the Geography of Disability.  I returned to class the following week with some details.  I said that strangely enough, this is not a word that can be found in all of my dictionaries.  One dictionary listed “oncology,” which I believe is the study of cancerous tumours.  My Collins Cobuild dictionary says, “Ontology is…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on February 11, 2018 at 7:30am — No Comments

The Theory of Theory

Since I am sometimes asked to explain phenomena in the absence of data, it becomes necessary to determine what data is required to explain phenomena.  Some would say the best approach is to develop and test a hypothesis - to start filling a void of space with pinholes of light - until there are enough lit pinholes to provide a…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on January 20, 2018 at 6:00am — No Comments

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