Friday, April 30, 2010

Metrical data and Vancouver’s housing market

Just recently, a staff reporter from The Vancouver Province wrote an article detailing his opinions on why the Vancouver housing market is inflated. In it, he cited Asians from China as being the primary reason. Now, aside from the reporter blatantly writing a speculative piece and trying to push it out as “fact”, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a lack of professionalism from a newspaper reporter. This was the first time I’ve ever written a formal complaint and I’ve yet to hear word back from TVP.

To recap the article:

  1. The reporter cold-called different ReMax realestate locations and asked for imprecise and approximate statistical data about ReMax sales.
  2. The reporter did not get any “official” ReMax sales statistics regarding the percentage of homes being sold in Vancouver in relation to the number being sold specifically to Asians from China. (I know for a fact that ReMax does not in any way keep track of this information in any official manner.)
  3. This reporter did not state the credentials he has to make an assessment or conclusion of the housing market or what is the determining factor causing such inflation.

A reporter with an unknown realestate background, gathered his information from conversations, tallied data from just one segment of realtors, did not check the accuracy of what was said, postulated and then blamed a group of visible minorities for the pricing increase –- a group who most probably would not have the capacity to defend themselves from such accusations.

For the housing market to increase, there needs to be a number of different factors; not just that homes were sold. What was the percentage of buyers who were Chinese and the percentage of those who weren't? Those who purchased homes, did they pay above or below market value? How did the reporter derive that the purchasing of homes from Asians equated to an overall price increase in the market?

What I found upsetting about this article was that it was written in a way to put Asians in a negative light. The title of the article could just have easily stated "Homes in Vancouver a prime asset for Mainland Chinese" or "Mainland Chinese are investing in Vancouver homes". Such titles state FACT. Forming an opinionated hypothesis is anyone's prerogative but to do so on print and without any concrete evidence? Disappointing.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Analytics prediction

It’s easy to recognize the importance of user data and the role analytics plays when trying to improve upon a product or service. The analytics package that I use quite often on projects is Omniture – recently purchased by Adobe – but if I were to guess, Facebook is aligning to become a direct competitor towards online analytics software.

Facebook is a goldmine when it comes to data-mining. Users are actively encouraged to synch their profiles with all valid and truthful data about themselves. Their personal, financial, entertainment and consumer relationships are all mapped out. FB's new tools, allowing other sites to access Facebook's "like" feature, is just another foot-in-the-door.

When you have hundreds of thousands of websites who have already integrated portions of Facebook’s code, bundling additional functionality (such as a Facebook analytics package) will be simple and ubiquitous. Just as much as the comic industry being fearful of the iPad, Omniture should be concerned about Facebook's future because it could directly compete with them.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Real-life gaming

In reference to my previous post about FourSquare and gaming, the presentation by Carnegie Mellon University Professor, Jesse Schell, is an amazing explanation of what he sees in store for our future. It’s scary. It’s plausible. It’s eminent.

When advertisers watched the Spielberg movie “Minority Report”, everyone seemed to agree that the future is about over-advertising. I don’t agree. In the future, people will become so immune to ads that there is no value in producing passive advertisements which people will ultimately ignore.

The future is interactive ads where people are encouraged to "play"; Schell has got it scarily right.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Crowd sourcing

The NYT’s article on “human flesh search engines” scares me in ways I don’t know how to describe. The idea of utilizing crowd sourcing (the act of getting individuals to perform tasks for an overall effect) mixed in with communist society and endorsing vigilantism is absolutely frightening. Only recently did I sign up for an account with FourSquare and the most immediate thing I could think of was the possibilities that crowd sourcing can produce.

Rather than pay or even coax individuals to rate/review/map a city’s business venues and locations, FourSquare makes it into a game with a rewarding system based on satisfying one’s ego: achievement “badges”. People don’t even realize they’re doing work because the “work” has been made into a game. If there is any type of predictions about the future, it is that all aspects of our lives will be made into games; it’s only a matter of time.