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Hack day project idea(s), inspired by the data science session this morning. Look at a random sample of comments across WordPress.com and…

  • Classify their content (e.g. how they’re responding to the post).
  • Do a topical classification of post content and compare against comment word count or frequency.
  • Calculate diversity of commenters for a site as a function of unique email addresses to number of comments.
  • Build a network graph indicating correlation between commenters across different sites.

The big takeaway: with any given dataset, play with visualizations first before trying to draw a conclusion.

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It would be neat if you could find people on WordPress.com based on topic analysis of the content they write. You could probably build a pretty neat directory with locations too.

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And you know what? I have no idea whether my numbers on those services are good or not. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about them. In fact, though I love Chartbeat, the information that I get from them that means the most is their push notifications on my phone which tell me when my site is over its maximum monthly number of visitors. That is meaningful.

Insights like exceeding my usual level of visitors, or achieving some threshold I’d never crossed before, or doing some task particularly efficiently would be meaningful markers that I could respond to intelligently.

Anil Dash — All Dashboards Should be Feeds

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In the last three recoveries, however, America’s economic engine has emitted sounds we’d never heard before. The 1990 recovery took 15 months, not the typical six, to reach the prerecession peaks of economic performance. After the 2001 recession, it took 39 months to get out of the valley. And now our machine has been grinding for 60 months, trying to hit its prerecession levels – and it’s not clear whether, when or how we’re going to get there. The economic machine is out of balance and losing its horsepower. But why?

The answer is that efficiency innovations are liberating capital, and in the United States this capital is being reinvested into still more efficiency innovations. In contrast, America is generating many fewer empowering innovations than in the past. We need to reset the balance between empowering and efficiency innovations.

Clayton Christensen — A Capitalist’s Dilemma