Don Philip Faithful's Blog (149)

Deconstructing the Concept of Efficiency

The concept of efficiency is not always easy to grasp.  People go to work.  They do their job.  They follow the pace.  What exactly is efficiency in the scheme of things?  I think it is important to be able to distinguish between how hard different workers are working.  It is not really possible to discuss efficiency if this kind of comparison is not performed.  Improving efficiency is about getting more from a person or process.  Therefore in order to determine whether or not efficiencies…


Added by Don Philip Faithful on May 4, 2019 at 6:58am — No Comments

Design Obstacles that Contribute to Job Security

I often encounter blogs highlighting the amount of effort needed to obtain high-quality data for analysis.  Many aspects of this effort seem reasonable to me: there might be cut-and-pasting, merging, parsing, restructuring, extractions, conversions, concatenations, and conditionals.  There might even be coding embedded in the file containing loops, more sophisticated conditionals, and detailed algorithmic processes.  All of these are relatively minor challenges that can be overcome…


Added by Don Philip Faithful on April 13, 2019 at 7:00am — No Comments

Using a Schema to Construct a Metrics Regime

A schema is a conceptual framework.  It can function as a lens through which to study data.  When I was conducting research on workplace stress to do my graduate degree, I did so through the critical lens of social disablement.  I applied a hierarchical schema to study stress constructed from prominent themes in social disablement.  I associated stress with the loss of personal autonomy in the workplace.  There was little doubt in my mind that I had chosen a highly “academic” focus for…


Added by Don Philip Faithful on March 2, 2019 at 7:28am — No Comments

Redefining the Role of Data

It wasn’t too long ago when somebody said to me, “You do reports when you get to doing them.”  To me, this position is most defensible if the reports are for bookkeeping purposes.  I pointed out one day that my reports are for management purposes; and for this reason timeliness is important.  For instance, when one is driving a car, and it is necessary to turn at the next right, turning at the next right five lights later is fairly relevant.  Timing counts.  The “active” process of driving…


Added by Don Philip Faithful on February 16, 2019 at 11:33am — No Comments

Forward and Reverse Containment Logic – Introduction to Relational Data Logistics

The question of how to structure or arrange data in order to gain worthwhile insights is quite different from the issue of what data to include or how it should be analyzed.  I often find myself preoccupied with structure and organization.  In part, this is because of my belief that unique logistics can lead to different types of insights.  Popular these days to the point of gaining industry dominance is holding data as large tables.  If we peer into the code for the application…


Added by Don Philip Faithful on December 30, 2018 at 6:49am — No Comments

Constructive Surveillance and Social Intervention

I share the concerns that many people have on the use of surveillance – particularly in this period of data monetization and commodification.  I am not troubled by surveillance itself but rather problems relating to the responsible and constructive use of data.  There are reality television shows where the placement of cameras is intended to capture personal and private moments.  Society is quick to pick up on these senseless episodes; yet it seems to tune out and turn away from the…


Added by Don Philip Faithful on December 22, 2018 at 7:30am — No Comments

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,…


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…


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 with disabilities in jail – sometimes placed there because…


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…


Added by Don Philip Faithful on October 8, 2018 at 5:46am — 1 Comment

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…


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…


Added by Don Philip Faithful on September 22, 2018 at 10:18am — No 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. …


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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

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