Data Science Down The Toilet

Quick Backstory

A few weeks back one of my children flushed an unknown item (toy or something) down one of the toilets. Well, it caused some problems, and the toilet was not working properly. So, I did what any reasonable person in 2012 would do. I googled for plumbers in my area and called one of them. I happened to call Mr. Rooter Plumbing Service. They came the next day and fixed the toilet.

Great Ryan, What does this have to do with data science?

Well, the following week, I started seeing this add.
Mr Rooter advertisement
I no longer needed a plumber! The process that determines what adds I see is definitely a data product. The problem is the solution is too slow. By the time the add company has figured out what I need, I no longer need it.

This just reminded me of why data science needs to focus strongly on real-time or near real-time solutions. Our world moves quickly and the data products need to respond accordingly. Are you aware of some good work being done for real-time data science? I know it is out there.

In the end, I would recommend Mr. Rooter, but I would wait for the coupon first.

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3 thoughts on “Data Science Down The Toilet”

  1. The phenomena you are describing here is simple ad re-targeting. They identified you as someone to target because you visited that marketers website. You are correct, it is very re-active and usually does not contain much, if any, machine learning or data science.

    There are vendors in the ad tech space, including Media6Degrees (my company) and Quantcast, that are doing hard core data science and predictive modeling to determine in real time which ads people should see.

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