The year was 2006. LinkedIn had done the improbable. People started to notice them. They had momentum on their side edging towards 10 million users. There was one problem. The holy grail of networking is connecting with other folks and expanding networks. People were inviting other people but not connecting with people already there on LinkedIn.
A LinkedIn employee, Jonathan loved playing with data. He did an experiment. He set his eyes on one of the ad boxes on the LinkedIn page. In place of ads, he created a small list of names under the title “people you may know. “ How did he come up the names to show in the box? It was a magic sauce of networking models and probabilistic best guesses. It soon became clear that something spectacular was happening.
This ad box was marshaling hit rates unseen like any other. His use of word “may” in the title was his humility at its best. In hindsight, “people you likely know” was more apt. What started as an experiment soon became mainstay of LinkedIn. In 2015, you now see the title –“See anyone you know? Connect with them” on LinkedIn page. It is a key staple food of LinkedIn that led them to the bank.
Data analytics leading someone to the bank is one thing. Can someone make data sing? Here is another story.
Prof. Hans Rosling had a discussion with his students about the world. They shared a viewpoint about countries in the west and how they compare to the rest of the world. They said, “in the west, people live longer and families are smaller while in the developing world the opposite is true.” That intrigued Prof. Rosling. He set about testing the hypothesis.
He presented his results in a TED conference. He plotted the data as a relationship between fertility rate (x axis) and life expectancy (y axis). The bubbles in the chart represented the countries of the world. He moved to the corner of the room, away from the chart started weaving the evolution of the world from 1962 to early 2000s. As he got into the rhythm, he rushed to the center and became the voice for the data and was subsumed by it. The bubbles moved to one corner as the world evolved into one. At the end of this journey, the audience joined in with a thunderous clap – a perfect crescendo to the data song. Here is the video for your enjoyment.
Do you feel you can relate to these stories? Do you know deep down in your own quiet way that the data analytics expert in you can do even better? If you answer is yes, here is a case-study challenge from KPMG, Singapore. Compete in this as KPMG could be very interested in having a conversation with you. Here is the job description for Director/Associate Director/Manager - whatever you're prepared for.
Data in the right hands can sing the insights and synthesis. Do you feel up to the challenge? Or do the stories remind you of a friend of yours who would revel in a challenge like this? Let your talents and/or your friend’s talents shine though –take part in the competition before 13 Oct 2015.
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Ideatory (www.ideatory.co) is a Singapore-based provider of a data-science challenge platform. It gives companies access to a vast network of analytics professionals and provides the tools to assess their skills.