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in case you feel of advertising and marketing, you more than possible feel of advertising and marketing to your consumers: How are you able to persuade extra people to purchase what you promote? however a further “market” is simply as crucial: your personnel, the very people who could make the company come alive to your valued clientele. Yet in their work helping executives advance and perform branding campaigns, my colleagues and that i have discovered that companies very commonly ignore this essential constituency.
Why is internal marketing so crucial? First, because it’s the premier solution to help personnel make an impressive emotional connection to the products and functions you promote. with out that connection, employees are more likely to undermine the expectations set through your advertising. In some circumstances, here's as a result of they effectively don’t take into account what you have promised the public, in order that they end up working at cross-functions. In other circumstances, it could be they don’t really believe in the company and suppose disengaged or, worse, adverse toward the company. We’ve found that when americans care about and accept as true with within the brand, they’re encouraged to work harder and their loyalty to the business raises. employees are unified and inspired by way of a typical feel of aim and id.
regrettably, in most corporations, inside advertising is done poorly, if at all. while executives admire the should maintain americans suggested concerning the enterprise’s method and path, few bear in mind the should convince personnel of the brand’s vigor—they take it as a given. What’s more, the individuals who're charged with inside communications—HR specialists, usually—don’t have the advertising potential to talk efficaciously. advice is doled out to personnel within the sort of memos, newsletters, and the like, however’s not designed to persuade them of the strong point of the enterprise’s brand. The advertising and marketing branch might get worried as soon as in a while to tell personnel about a brand new advert campaign or branding effort. but the intent constantly is to inform people what the business is doing, now not to sell them on the ideas.
we now have discovered that by means of applying lots of the concepts of buyer advertising to inside communications, leaders can book personnel to a higher figuring out of, and even a passion for, the company vision. applying these principles allows for employees to “are living” the vision of their every day activities. And when personnel reside that imaginative and prescient, consumers are a good deal extra likely to experience the business in a method that’s in line with what you’ve promised. I’ll outline the concepts of inside advertising and marketing in here pages.
precept 1select Your second
Most americans have limited tolerance for alternate initiatives, and branding and visioning workout routines are not any exception. but at definite turning points, instances when the enterprise is experiencing some fundamental problem or change, employees are looking for route and are incredibly receptive to these initiatives. Such moments can create either high-quality or poor energy—enthusiasm for brand new classes or unproductive rumormongering. Turning facets are as a result surest alternatives for an internal branding campaign; managers can direct americans’s energy in a favorable direction by clearly and vividly articulating what makes the enterprise special. certainly, we’ve found that inner branding efforts launched with out the momentum this kind of moment can generate practically all the time fail. and not using a natural turning element, managers searching for to raise the brand internally could need to fabricate this sort of moment, perhaps via launching a new advertising method.
British Petroleum seized such an opportunity when it merged with Amoco and then ARCO. It rebranded itself as BP, redesigned its brand, and launched a campaign simultaneously to group of workers and the general public declaring that it was going “past petroleum.” The company repositioned its company and put apart its id as an oil business to develop into an power company, moving from an ancient-fashion, closed business enterprise to an open, collaborative, new-economic undertaking. This break with the previous gave personnel from each of the original groups a brand new and numerous identity. A survey that become taken after the inner branding crusade was launched showed that 76% of personnel felt favorably towards the brand new brand, eighty% had been aware of the company values that constituted the brand new brand messages, and a full 90% concept the business become entering into the appropriate path.
the advent of new management is yet another opportune second for inside rebranding. body of workers predict to hear from a new leader correct away and are continually open to new ideas at such times. Carly Fiorina exploited this window when she took over Hewlett-Packard. She took a private hobby in the branding strategy and performed an lively role. To exhibit her commitment, Fiorina looked in launch classified ads, which asserted that, “the common beginning-up will act like one once more.” The company’s new tag line, “Invent,” grew to become a mantra inner the business, and cofounder bill Hewlett’s storage, where he and Dave Packard made their first inventions, grew to be a symbol in each inside and external communications. a brand new chief rediscovering the business’s heritage released a surge of power all the way through the organization.
in a similar way, when Arthur Martinez became named CEO of Sears in 1992, he took abilities of his new function to energize and center of attention personnel, using advertising and marketing equipment akin to surveys, focus organizations, and a new tag line to tug the company out of a sales stoop. It worked: income picked up, and morale did, too.
however selecting your second additionally capability figuring out when to drag back. Martinez and other Sears executives, energized by using their success, stepped up the campaign in the years that followed. They didn’t know when to depart smartly adequate on my own, and, through 1998, employees have been so overwhelmed with advertising materials that they started to feel at a loss for words and disconnected. A basic case of initiative fatigue set in as flooring team of workers were inundated with messages that had little relevance to their departments, accomplished survey after survey, and misplaced large revenue time attending myriad training courses. One frustrated executive turned up at a meeting with a wheelbarrow holding one month’s value of memos, questionnaires, and academic movies. The moment had evidently passed. So, at that yr’s annual meeting, in a paradoxical effort to recapture the energy of 1993, the CEO introduced that there would be “no new initiatives, no new huge ideas.” The lower back-to-basics approach came as a relief to personnel and reenergized them across the consumer service topics they had embraced five years prior. these days, the enterprise maintains a low-stage, constant movement of internal marketing initiatives but has curtailed internal campaigns in order to achieve a extra applicable pace.
precept 2link internal and exterior marketing
employees should hear the identical messages that you send out to the marketplace. At most companies, besides the fact that children, inner and external communications are sometimes mismatched. This can also be very difficult, and it threatens personnel’ perceptions of the enterprise’s integrity: they're informed one thing by administration but take a look at that a unique message is being despatched to the public. One medical health insurance company, for example, advertised that the welfare of patients changed into the business’s number 1 priority, while personnel have been informed that their main purpose turned into to raise the cost of their inventory alternatives through cost rate reductions. And one principal monetary features establishment advised customers that it became making a tremendous shift in focus from being a fiscal retailer to a monetary adviser, but, a 12 months later, research confirmed that the consumer experience with the business had not changed. It turned out that enterprise leaders had no longer made an effort to promote the alternate internally, so employees had been nevertheless churning out transactions and hadn’t modified their conduct to match their new adviser role.
Enabling personnel to bring on consumer expectations is essential, of path, but it’s now not the only cause a company needs to match inside and exterior messages. one more reason is to aid push the enterprise to achieve desires that might otherwise be out of attain. In 1997, when IBM launched its e-company crusade (which is broadly credited for turning across the enterprise’s image), it selected to disregard research that advised consumers were unprepared to embrace IBM as a pacesetter in e-company. however to the outdoor world this gave the impression of an external marketing effort, IBM was additionally using the crusade to align employees across the thought of the web as the way forward for expertise. The internal crusade modified the way employees notion about every thing they did, from how they named items to how they prepared group of workers to how they approached promoting. The campaign became a hit generally since it gave employees a sense of route and goal, which in flip restored their self assurance in IBM’s means to foretell the long run and lead the technology industry. today, analysis shows that people are 4 instances greater likely to affiliate the term “e-business” with IBM than with its nearest competitor, Microsoft.
The category of “two-method branding” that IBM did so correctly strengthens both sides of the equation. inside advertising turns into more suitable since it can draw on the equal “big concept” as promoting. client advertising becomes more advantageous since the messages are developed according to personnel’ habits and attitudes, as well as on the enterprise’s strengths and capabilities—certainly, the subject matters are drawn from the enterprise’s very soul. This system may end up in a extra different advertising thought as a result of marketers usually tend to create a message that’s pleasing to the business.
in all probability even more crucial, by taking personnel into account, an organization can prevent creating a message that doesn’t resonate with team of workers or, worse, one that builds resentment. In 1996, United airlines shelved its “Come Fly the friendly Skies” slogan when presented with a survey that revealed the depth of consumer resentment towards the airline business. with a view to own up to the industry’s shortcomings, United launched a new campaign, “Rising,” by which it sought to distinguish itself by means of acknowledging negative service and promising incremental advancements corresponding to greater nutrients. whereas this changed into a logical premise for the campaign given the tenor of the instances, a crusade specializing in shoppers’ distaste for flying changed into deeply discouraging to the team of workers. employee resentment eventually made it inconceivable for United to carry the advancements it turned into promising, which in flip undermined the “Rising” pledge. Three years later, United decided worker opposition turned into undermining its success and pulled the campaign. It has because moved to a greater inclusive brand message with the line “United,” which both audiences can include. right here, a primary precept of advertising—find and address a consumer challenge—failed United because it did not consider the internal market.
When it comes to execution, essentially the most typical and effective technique to link inner and external marketing campaigns is to create external promoting that objectives each audiences. IBM used this tactic very without problems when it launched its e-company campaign. It took out an eight-web page advert in the Wall highway Journal declaring its new vision, a message directed at both purchasers and inside stakeholders. here's a dear strategy to catch attention, but if used sparingly, it is the strongest type of communique; really, you want do it best once for everyone within the enterprise to read it. There’s a symbolic talents as smartly. this sort of tactic signals that the enterprise is taking its pledge very significantly; it also signals transparency—the identical message going out to each audiences.
advertising isn’t the best solution to hyperlink interior and exterior advertising. At Nike, a couple of senior executives now hold the additional title of “corporate Storyteller.” They deliberately avoid stories of fiscal successes and concentrate on parables of “just doing it,” reflecting and reinforcing the enterprise’s advert campaigns. One tale, for example, recollects how legendary educate and Nike cofounder bill Bowerman, so as to build a far better shoe for his team, poured rubber into the household waffle iron, giving start to the prototype of Nike’s noted Waffle Sole. via speakme about such inventive moves, the company hopes to retain the spirit of innovation that characterizes its advert campaigns alive and neatly within the company.
but whereas their messages have to be aligned, organizations need to also preserve exterior guarantees a bit ahead of inner realities. Such promises deliver incentives for personnel and give them whatever thing to reside up to. in the Nineteen Eighties, Ford grew to become “satisfactory Is Job 1” from an interior rallying cry right into a consumer slogan according to the possibility from cheaper, more respectable japanese cars. It did so earlier than the declare became fully justified, however via placing it in the public enviornment, it gave personnel an incentive to suit the japanese. If the promise is pushed too a long way ahead, although, it loses credibility. When a beleaguered British Rail launched a campaign saying carrier improvements beneath the banner “We’re Getting There,” it did so upfront. by using drawing attention to the gap between the promise and the reality, it precipitated destructive press insurance. This, in flip, demoralized group of workers, who had been legitimately proud of the service advances they had made.
precept threecarry the manufacturer Alive for employees
The goal of an internal branding campaign is awfully corresponding to that of an exterior campaign: to create an emotional connection to your business that transcends any one selected journey. within the case of personnel, you also need the connection to inform the way they strategy their jobs, however they don’t interact with consumers. You desire them to have the manufacturer vision of their minds and to accept as true with even if or not they're supporting the manufacturer in every decision they make. How do you do this? a great deal the identical manner you domesticate the connection with external audiences. You deserve to plan and execute knowledgeable branding campaign to introduce and clarify the messages after which beef up them by means of weaving the company into the material of the enterprise. The messages may still be directed at employee “touch-aspects,” the day-to-day interactions that affect the manner americans event the place of work.
an expert branding crusade is simply what it sounds like. It takes the sort of a buyer branding crusade, with a collection of stages that begins with research and continues during the planning and execution of a communications method designed to convince your employees of the merits and credibility of your manufacturer. And designing and executing this crusade should be the advertising and marketing branch’s accountability. The advertising americans have the fundamental capabilities, they remember the context surrounding the exterior crusade, and, perhaps most critical, they are uniquely placed to match the inner campaign to the external crusade.
Market analysis is a given for any consumer marketing campaign, but businesses seldom put money into such analysis when their personnel are the audience. corporations can use many of the equal tools for the internal market that they'd use for buyers: focus corporations, in-depth interviews, and surveys. they could then map their findings to create a huge graphic of the culture that suggests where distinctive subcultures reside and the way counsel flows through the corporation. Why go to the main issue? because as soon as businesses find out what’s on americans’s minds, they can tailor their campaigns for this reason.
Miller Brewing company took worker attitudes very significantly when it launched a new inside branding campaign aimed toward improving worker morale. The enterprise conducted an in-depth examine, which published that employees took excellent delight in the enterprise’s subculture of brewing, mythologized via reports equivalent to that of founder Frederick Miller carrying the yeast in his pocket from Germany in 1855. The interior crusade became a social gathering of employees’ passion for remarkable beer. larger-than-existence posters of employees embellished the breweries, depicting workers as business heroes. The enterprise additionally allotted substances reinforcing the campaign, together with a booklet celebrating the vocation of brewing and T-shirts emblazoned with “I Make Miller Time.” based on principle 2, these interior findings influenced and mirrored Miller’s external customer advertising, which drew on the brand’s heritage of workmanship. the new television advertisements function employees speakme to the digital camera, expressing their passion for Miller beer. An added bonus of interior research: by gathering studies like that of Frederick Miller, groups can make certain that enterprise folklore doesn’t stroll out the door when lengthy-time period employees go away—retaining the tradition for future generations of personnel.
Following research, the subsequent stage is to plan the campaign, a full-blown communications method like Miller’s that mirrors a buyer marketing method. In thinking concerning the campaign, excellent executives should still first reply some key questions: What do personnel suppose of the business? What do they want them to believe? what is going to persuade them of this? And why should they consider us? as soon as these questions were answered, the work of developing communications substances can begin.
sadly, the style most groups strategy this project is so normal, so removed from the company’s frontline realities, and, frankly, so dull, that the very prospect of the campaign and the new espresso mugs is likely to immediate a collective groan, or, worse, mockery on the water cooler. to beat individuals’s herbal cynicism, the campaign and the communications materials have to ring authentic for employees and should draw on the business’s very soul, reflecting and reinforcing what individuals care about and what makes them come to work in the morning. substances have to be freed from jargon and grandstanding and must focus on the essence of the enterprise.
To be advantageous, these substances must be as creative and crowd pleasing as the substances you bring to an exterior viewers. just as in a buyer promoting crusade, you should surprise and attraction your audience. here is a role of persuasion, now not guidance, and dry, useless substances will without delay be shelved or discarded. (For advice on making these materials compelling and positive to personnel, see the sidebar “how to Create Communications substances employees Will really Use.”)
When it comes to supplying the message, it’s tempting to ship out a memo, a video, or a kit of colorful materials and accept as true with it accomplished, but there’s no replace for personal contact from the organization’s maximum stages. certainly, failure to talk at a private stage can undermine the most sophisticated and costly rebranding crusade. The failure of the merger of Deutsche bank and Dresdner financial institution in 2000 can be attributed partially to the failure of administration to steer Deutsche’s investment bankers of the vision for a way the newly merged company would compete. Many key personnel left, and the danger of a mass walkout compelled Deutsche to abandon the deal after considerable damage to the proportion price of both businesses.
It’s worth noting that research performed early on can pay off when it involves implementation. if you’ve recognized a subculture of resistance, for instance, you may give additional attention to the resisters in case you roll out the manufacturer. Or in case you’ve discovered who the most influential employees are—the ones who form the attitudes of those around them—then that you may target these personnel without delay, and, in case you get them on board, they could assist get the notice out.
The closing stage of a branding campaign is comments and participation from the goal viewers. For big, geographically diverse groups, the company intranet may also be a good facilitator of communication and interplay. certainly, we’ve found that in agencies that don't use intranets for candid communicate, personnel inevitably flip to exterior net sites like the Vault to whinge in regards to the business. Accenture understood that risk when it rebranded in January 2001. It created an interactive internet web site to allow people to ask questions and look at the replies to questions others had posted. Joe Forehand, Accenture’s CEO, also comprises a comments button on each inside message he sends to employees and for my part responds to every question or recommendation.
As yet, despite the fact, the expertise of this medium is unfulfilled. There isn't any motive, for example, why the chairman can’t Webcast occasional “hearth chats,” a opportunity undreamed of by way of outdated generations of managers. but don’t let the net become an alternative to face time or running the corridors: fireside chats can also be broadcast to diverse company areas in order that all and sundry can take part without delay, but the leader shouldn’t hole up in his or her office to convey the message.
fireplace chats can turn into a part of an effort to weave the branding into the cloth of the corporation. for the reason that it’s no longer feasible to behavior a collection of main campaigns—it’s expensive and employees start to tune them out—the enterprise should make each effort to include the branding into regular experiences, in order that employees “reside” the manufacturer always. Such worker touchpoints replicate the buyer touchpoints that have develop into regularly occurring in buyer advertising, the place each aspect of interaction with the customer is a chance to beef up the company. (some of the most fulfilling examples of purchaser touchpoints are retail outlets like Niketown or UPS’s trucks and uniforms, that are deliberately styled after the defense force to specific self-discipline and punctuality.)
the most obtrusive vicinity to begin is the enterprise’s physical area. When Condé Nast asked the architect Frank Gehry to design a cafeteria for the places of work (home of Vogue and vanity fair, among others), he used curved glass panels to reflect the see-and-be-viewed tradition of the style magazine world. And Nike celebrates its heritage and devotion to athletes by means of naming key landmarks on the company campus after sports legends: Bowerman pressure ends up in the campus, where you’ll find the Joe Paterno infant development core and the Bo Jackson fitness middle.
corporations can also toughen the brand very without difficulty through enterprise policy. great Bicycle items, which employs 195 americans within the suburbs of Minneapolis, contains as part of its imaginative and prescient commentary a commitment to maintaining the environment. To carry the imaginative and prescient alive for the people who work there, the company offers a fiscal reward: employees who live within ten miles of the enterprise are paid $2 a day to bicycle, carpool, or take a bus to work. The cash is paid in credits towards the enterprise’s products. Recruiting and hiring guidelines are different areas that may function touchpoints. Hollywood Video, which regards its ardour for motion pictures as its differentiation from the mammoth Blockbuster chain, requires that personnel exhibit competencies of and enthusiasm for films. Southwest airlines is wide-spread for fastidiously assessing candidates’ personalities right through interviews, rating all abilities hires—from pilots to mechanics—on a scale of one to 5 on seven traits corresponding to the brand’s core values. while different groups might consider best more traditional values like honesty or accountability, Southwest preserves its entertaining company character by means of hiring only individuals who're an ideal healthy.
via incorporating the company vision into these worker touchpoints, organizations, over time inculcate the vision into the employee experience to the extent that on-manufacturer behavior turns into instinctive. Apple is an obvious example, as are Disney and Virgin airlines. It’s no accident that, regardless of bold challenges from the PCworld, there remains common Apple zealotry both interior and outdoors the company.
with the aid of weaving the manufacturer messages into employees’ general experiences, managers can make sure that on-manufacturer conduct becomes instinctive.
Amid the force to advance new items and squeeze charges out of operations, interior marketing is simply not noted. in any case, in times of financial stress, even external advertising and marketing budgets are scrutinized, despite the universal undeniable fact that exterior advertising is crucial. nonetheless it is a reality of company that if employees do not care about their business, they'll within the conclusion contribute to its demise. And it’s up to you to give them a motive to care.A version of this article seemed in the January 2002 challenge of Harvard business overview.
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Segun Afolabi, 25, is an investment banking analyst with Afrinvest West Africa limited. He talks about his job, ambition and work ethics
inform us about your academic historical past.
I even have a Bachelor in Economics from Covenant institution, Ota, Ogun State. prior to that, I had my secondary faculty training at Latmos comprehensive school, Egbe, Lagos. For my elementary training, I attended St. Ebenezer Nursery and first faculty, Idimu, Lagos. I actually have additionally taken a number of on-line lessons in finance and accounting – two key pillars of my chosen career route.
inform us about your job.
i am a Senior investment Banking Analyst at Afrinvest (West Africa) confined. they are active in four essential areas – investment banking, securities buying and selling, asset management and investment research. within the funding banking division, they give a big selection of services including capital raising, mergers and acquisitions advisory, corporate restructuring, divestitures and spin offs, and valuation and equity opinions.
what is your job description?
My job as an investment banking analyst is quite dynamic. My day by day routine stages from getting ready pitch books for corporations across diverse sectors of the financial system to designing and making ready monetary and valuation fashions for customers’ transactions as well as marketing documents comparable to funding teasers, counsel memorandum and management displays.
moreover, I supply technical guide to management.
Why this job?
during my internship within the administration consulting division of KPMG Nigeria, after my third 12 months on the university, i used to be assigned to a team that developed a monetary model for a financial establishment. i was intrigued by the effectiveness of the model in making sound company decisions, and that i wanted to create that price for many greater enterprises in Nigeria. i was, therefore, really excited when the probability to work at Afrinvest offered itself. i will be able to all the time be completely happy that I took advantage of it.
What challenges do you face and how do you surmount them?
The greatest challenge I face at work is juggling assorted assignments on the same time. i'm somewhat skilled within the paintings of constructing engaging shows the usage of Microsoft PowerPoint. as a result, my colleagues across other enterprise units often ship me presentations for me to work on and while I enjoy the manner, these tasks are usually not concerning my core job feature.
To clear up this problem, I even have facilitated Microsoft PowerPoint practicing classes for my colleagues in different departments. this fashion, i'm capable of prioritise my core deliverables and convey high-level shows.
What other components helped you to overcome intricate tasks?
One factor I have continuously leveraged on is relationships I have developed over the years. every time i'm confronted with a tricky project, I reach out to americans i know who may have encountered equivalent concerns in the past to get a clearer sense of course.
What are the fantastic achievements you’ve had seeing that you begun working at Afrinvest?
all the way through the launch of their most contemporary mutual fund, I had to take the front seat as a 2nd-yr analyst on the transaction as the crew needed to work on different pressing projects. They correctly launched the fund which recorded about 70 per cent subscription right through the present duration.
What features do you believe a leader should possess with the intention to be a success?
i am a powerful proponent of servant management. I trust such a leader is stronger in a position to encourage following from the team participants. additionally, I accept as true with that having a vision as a leader is not satisfactory for achievement; a frontrunner should still be in a position to sell his imaginative and prescient to his group.
the place did you work earlier than joining Afrinvest?
Afrinvest turned into my first job after adolescence carrier. however, during my provider year, I worked on the company finance division of Jos electricity Distribution enterprise.
How do you plan on rising to the appropriate?
One factor I even have followed about a success individuals is their unwavering doggedness to get issues done. This often requires long hours of labor and going above and past the call of obligation; but it will pay off on the conclusion.
i am, hence, resolute in always going the further mile when given assignments while preserving a positive perspective perpetually. additionally, the investment banking trade is one that thrives on relationships, so i am constructing extra relationships across the business.
What are your lengthy-time period goals?
I long to create a monetary ecosystem that leverages technology to give advisory capabilities to small and medium scale enterprises that are unable to have enough money the capabilities of mainstream investment banks.
who're your position models?
My group Managing Director, Ike Chioke, and the Deputy Managing Director, Victor Ndukauba – these two individuals problem me to be a far better edition of myself.
What are your other pastimes?
I savour teaching. i am at the moment one of the most facilitators at EduBridge Academy, an investment banking and consulting academy that seeks to help students, graduates and working experts be taught the expertise required to get jobs in funding banking and consulting.
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Statistical science provides a wide range of concepts and methods for studying situations subject to unexplained variability. Such considerations enter fields ranging from particle physics and astrophysics to genetics, sociology and economics, and beyond; to associated areas of application such as engineering, agriculture, and medicine, in particular in clinical trials. Successful application hinges on absorption of statistical thinking into the subject matter and, hence, depends strongly on the field in question and on the individual investigators. It is the job of theoretical statisticians both to be alive to the challenges of specific applications and, at the same time, to develop methods and concepts that, with good fortune, will be broadly applicable.
To illustrate the breadth of statistical concepts, it is helpful to think of the following sequence, in practice is often encountered in a different order:
Clarification of research questions in a complex situation.
Specification of the context for study, for example, the choice of individuals for entry into a clinical trial.
Issues of metrology: How are key features best measured in the context in question, and how secure is the measurement process?
Considered broadly, there may be many aspects of study design. The general aims are to achieve a reasonable level of precision, an absence of systematic error, and economy and breadth of interpretation, sometimes by answering several interconnected questions in one study. (i) Data collection, possibly including monitoring of data quality; (ii) data analysis, usually in various stages from the simple descriptive onward; (iii) summary of conclusions; (iv) interpretation:What is the underlying interpretation of what has been found? What are the relations with other work in the field? What new questions have been raised?
General statistical considerations may enter at all these stages, even though in essence they are all key subject matter concerns.
Phrases often heard nowadays are big data, machine learning, data science, and, most recently, deep learning. Big data have been around a long time, but the ability to analyze such data other than on a sampling basis is new. Key issues concern first the relevance of the data, especially if they are collected in a sense fortuitously. Then, there may or should be worries over quality. Some big data, for example, those obtained in the investigation at CERN leading to the Higgs boson, are of very high quality. However, in other situations, if a small amount of bad data may be quite misleading, a large amount of bad data may be exceedingly misleading. The third aspect is more technically statistical. The simpler methods of precision assessment may appear to indicate a very narrow confidence band on the conclusions from the big data, and this narrowness may give a seriously overoptimistic view of the precision achieved.
The other newer themes of statistical concepts involve important ideas coming with heavy computer science emphasis. These are often aimed at empirical prediction from noisy data rather than with probing the underlying interpretation of the data or with issues of study design or with the nature of the measurement process.
The theory and practice of computer-age statistics are, for the most part, a case of new wine in old bottles: The fundamental tenets of good statistical thinking have not changed, but their implementation has. This has been a matter of necessity. Data collection for a modern scientist can move in seven-league boots, thanks to spectacular advancements in equipment—notable examples include microarrays and DNA sequencers in microbiology and robotic telemetry for astronomy. Along with big data comes big questions; often, thousands of hypothesis testing and estimation problems are posed simultaneously, demanding careful statistical discussion.
Statisticians have responded with much more flexible and capacious analysis methods. These depend, of course, not only on the might of modern computation but also on powerful extensions of classical theories, which shift the burden of mathematical analysis onto computable algorithms but demand careful discussion for the formulation of principles. The examples that follow are too small to qualify as big data but, hopefully, are big enough to get the idea across.
A study at a pediatric hospital in Guatemala followed some 1800 children over a 12-year period beginning in 2002 (1). Ten percent of the children were abandoned by their families during their stay. The goal of the study was to identify the causes of abandonment. The key response variable was time, the number of days from admission to abandonment. For 90% of the children, abandonment was never observed, because of they left the hospital or the study period ended, in which case time was known only to exceed the number of days of observation. In common terminology, time was heavily censored.
More than 40 possible explanatory factors were measured, only 6 of which will be discussed here: distance, the distance of the child’s home from the hospital; date, the date of the child’s admission measured in days since the study’s beginning; age and sex of the child; and ALL or AML, indicating that the child was suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or acute myeloid leukemia (AML) (a worse prognosis). All of the variables were standardized. (Note that ALL and AML are two of several diagnoses under consideration, all of which were considered “others” for this analysis.)
Proportional hazards is a modern regression methodology that allows the fair comparison of potentially causative factors for a censored response variable (2). Table 1 shows its output for the abandonment study. Date for instance has a very strongly negative estimate, indicating that abandonment was decreasing as calendar time went on. Distance was strongly positive, suggesting increased abandonment from remote home locations. Neither age nor sex yielded significant P values, although there is some suggestion that older children did better. Likewise, neither ALL nor AML achieved significance, but, perhaps surprisingly, AML children seemed better off.Table 1 Proportional hazards analysis of the abandonment data.
Estimated date coefficient of 1.660 is strongly negative, indicating decreased abandonment as study progressed.
In addition to the parameter estimates (Table 1, column 1), proportional hazards theory also provides approximate standard errors (column 2). The bootstrap (3) was used as a check. Each bootstrap data set was formed by sampling the 1800 children 1800 times with replacement; thus, child 1 might appear twice, child 2 not at all, child 3 once, etc. Then, the proportional hazards model was run for the bootstrap data set, giving new estimates for distance, date, age, sex, ALL, and AML. Two thousand bootstrap data sets were independently generated, yielding the bootstrap standard errors in column 5 of the table. For instance, the 2000 bootstrap estimates for distance had an empirical SD of 0.068, nearly the same as the theoretical SE of 0.072. With the moderate exception of date, the other comparisons were similarly reassuring.
The bootstrap replications can be used to address a variety of other inferential questions. Figure 1 shows the histogram of the 2000 bootstrap estimates of the difference AML minus ALL. Only 34 of the 2000 exceed 0, yielding a one-sided bootstrap P value of 0.017 (34 of 2000) against the null hypothesis of no difference.Fig. 1 Two thousand bootstrap replications of difference between AML and ALL proportional hazards coefficients.
The proportional hazards algorithm required perhaps 100 times as much computation as a standard linear regression, whereas the bootstrap analysis multiplied the burden by 2000. Neither theory would have been formulated in the age of mechanical calculation. They are discussed in chapters 9 and 10 in the study of Efron and Hastie (4), along with a suite of other computer-intensive statistical inference methods.
At the fundamental level, statistical theory concerns learning from experience, especially from experience that arrives a little bit at a time, perhaps in noisy and partly contradictory forms. Modern equipment allows modern scientists to cast wider experiential nets. This has increased the burden on the statistical learning portion of the scientific process. Their next example, taken from chapter 6 in the study by Bradley and Hastie (4), shows the learning process in action, using statistical ideas proposed in the 1950s but which are only now routinely feasible.
Figure 2 concerns a study of 844 patients undergoing surgery for stomach cancer. Besides the removal of the central site, surgeons often remove surrounding lymph nodes, malignant or negative. For patient i, i = 1, 2, …, 844, let
where pi is the proportion of positive nodes; ni varied between 1 and 69. The histogram in Fig. 2 depicts the 522 patients with pi > 0, that is, having at least one positive node; 322 of the patients, about 38%, had pi = 0, represented by the large dot. Fig. 2 Observed proportion P of malignant nodes for 522 patients having P > 0; 322 patients (38%) had P = 0, as indicated by the large dot.
It is reasonable to imagine that each patient has a frailty parameter θi, indicating how prone he or she is to positive nodes and that they are seeing binomial observations
Equivalently, xi is the number of heads observed in ni independent flips of a coin having a probability of heads θi. If the ni’s were large, then pi = xi/ni would nearly equal θi. However, many of the ni’s were small (eight of them equaling 1); hence, Fig. 2 gives a badly distorted picture of the distribution of the θi’s.
Empirical Bayes methods allow us to recover a good estimate of what a histogram of the 844 true θi values would look like. They assume that the θi’s have some prior density g(θ); g(θ) is unknown but assumed to belong to a low-dimensional parametric family. Here, log g(θ) was assumed to be a fifth-order polynomial in θ. Maximizing the likelihood of the observed data (ni, xi), i = 1, 2, …, 844, over the coefficients of the polynomial yielded the estimate of g(θ) pictured in Fig. 3. It shows that most of the frailties are small (59% less than 0.2), but there are large ones too (7% above 0.8).Fig. 3 Estimated prior density for frailty parameter θ, with median value θ = 0.09.
Having estimated the prior density g(θ), they can use the Bayes rule to calculate the posterior density of θi given patient i’s observed values ni and xi. This is done for three of the patients in Fig. 4. Patient 1, with ni = 32 and xi = 7, is seen to almost certainly have θi less than 0.5; patient 3, with ni = 18 and xi = 17, almost certainly has frailty θi greater than 0.5; and patient 2, with ni = 6 and xi = 3, could conceivably have almost any value of θi. This kind of information may be valuable for recommending follow-up therapy that is either more stringent or less.Fig. 4 Posterior probabilities of frailty parameter θ for three hypothetical patients.
The observed data ni = 32 and xi = 7 represent direct statistical evidence for patient 1. It provides, among other things, the direct estimate P1 = 7/32 = 0.22 for θ1. Indirect evidence, from the other 843 patients, also contributed to the posterior probability density for patient 1 depicted in Fig. 4.
An increased acceptance of indirect evidence is a hallmark of modern statistical practice. Both frequentist techniques (regression algorithms) and Bayesian methods are combined in an effort to bring enormous amounts of possibly relevant “other” cases to bear on a single case of particular interest, that is, patient 1 in the nodes study. Avoiding the difficulties and pitfalls of indirect evidence motivates much of current statistical research.
We emphasize the current high level of fruitful application and methodological development. However, this is anchored in a long history going back particularly to the great early 19th century mathematicians, Gauss and Laplace. Their statistical work was motivated by concerns over the analysis of astronomical data. Quasi-philosophical disagreements over the meaning of probability have rumbled on since then. Their attitude is eclectic, but in the last analysis, they see a contrast, not a conflict, between the use of probability to represent in idealized form patterns of variability in the real world and its use to capture the uncertainty of their conclusions. Controversy centers mostly on the second, and more than one approach may be fruitful. However, in the last analysis, they are using probability as a measuring instrument, and in some sense, it must be well calibrated.
We have worked as statisticians for a combined total of 125 years (72 and 53 years of experience, respectively) and both of us fully retain their enthusiasm for the field. It has changed enormously over their lifetimes and no doubt will continue to do so. Yet, at the heart of their subject are core issues about uncertainty and variability that have both a permanent value and an exciting continuing challenge that is conceptual, mathematical, and computational.
SPECIAL NOTE: The Editors invited authors David Cox and Bradley Efron to submit this article to honor their receipt of the 9th Edition (2016) BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Basic Sciences for revolutionizing statistics.
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.References
E. Alvarez, M. Seppa, K. Messacar, J. Kurap, E. A. Sweet-Cordero, S. Rivas, M. Bustamante, L. Fuentes, F. Antillón-Klussmann, P. Valverde, M. Castellanos, S. C. Howard, B. Efron, S. Luna-Fineman, Improvement of abandonment of therapy in pediatric patients with cancer in Guatemala. J. Glob. Oncol. (2016).doi:10.1200/JGO.2016.004648
B. Efron, T. Hastie, Computer Age Statistical Inference: Algorithms, Evidence, and Data Science (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2016).
♬ Listen to this Story or Read it
There have been a bunch of articles lately from designers on product management in the Silicon Valley. It’s making me slightly crazy, so I’m going to write a short and sloppy essay from my perspective. I’ve been a designer, a design manager, a startup CEO, a product manager and a GM who managed multidisciplanary teams. I’ve got some insights.
Caveats! I have lived in Palo Alto/San Francisco for over 20 years, and worked at good companies (Yahoo back in the day, Linkedin, Zynga, and more) with really good PMs. So my view is skewed by both place and luck.#1 Product Management Is a New Thing in Tech.
People, I got into the interwebs in 1995, and software already had PMs. Web design was all shiny and new and half the companies had PMs, half had producers, and many had Project Managers. But by the time they were partying like 1999, everyone around here had Product Managers.#2 Product Managers Don’t Know What They Do
No, YOU don’t know what they do. They know what they do, they do everything.
I used to be a restaurant manager. I hired, I fired, I greeted customers, and made sure they were happy, I did the books, and worked with the chef to pick the special, wrote it up on the board outside, and bought ads in the local paper. And when the prep cook didn’t come in, I chopped vegetables and frequently my fingers. Oh, and the when the dishwasher didn’t come in… you get the picture. That is what a product manager does.
They have their core job: keeping product/market fit, minding and growing metrics, and coordinating teams to that end. But the good ones, the ones I got to work shoulder to shoulder with, do whatever it takes to keep the product healthy and strong. If that means designing an interface change in PPT because the designer left at 5pm and the engineer needs something to work with, he will. If that means running to costco for beer for launch night, she does it. If that means setting up Google ads because marketing doesn’t have time for his product, he will. If it means learning SQL… well, you get the picture.#3 Product Management is pretty much like UX Design.
If only! Wow, the job would be so much easier if that was all there was.
Designers get all snotty when no one knows the difference between interaction design and information architecture. But what do you know about PMs?
People talk about product managers like they are monolithic, but there are three flavors: engineering, business analyst and UX.
Engineering flavored PMs are often ex-engineers, are great for working with engineers in hard problems like search & recommendations systems.
Business analyst flavored PMs are the optimizers. They are masters of AB testing, SEO and growth hacking.
UX Flavored PMs are great at product/market fit. They focus on user functionality & experience, and are good at onboarding, help & error msgs.
In the Silicon Valley, you’ll often hear them referred to as “Product People.” It’s frequently said in a tone of admiration. Product People really get their market and the humans in it, and care about making the right product for them that thrives and survives. They are the unique folks who can combine business and user needs into successful products.
Product People fight with design the most often because they are siblings. They care about the same things. They’ll get into a huge argument about where navigation goes, or the shape of a submit button.
But they have different jobs with overlapping NOT identical interests. The Product Person is T-shaped, caring both about the user and the business, and often fights about that submit button because she worries about click-through. This is part of a host of responsibilities she juggles, along with acquisition, retention, that upcoming software rearchitecture and the metrics review.
The UX designer (sometimes called a Product Designer, or Interaction Designer) is a specialist, focusing on designing both interaction and UI. The designer is much deeper in the details of the design (as it should be) but can lose sight of the role the design plays in context of the larger business. He sometimes fights for the user to the detriment of the business’s health (as it never should be.) Companies that can’t stay in business don’t provide anyone any value. If you’ve ever had to tell a customer you are shutting down their favorite product, you’d feel how hard that is.
Business analyst PMs are often considered loathsome or tedious by designers, and engineering ones incomprehensible. Which is a tragedy, because algorithms could use some more user-centeredness, and qual and quant are like peanut butter and jelly.
Even though PMs have different skills and specialties, they rarely take on specialty titles. Unlike interaction designers or visual designers, a PM doesn’t have the luxury of not doing the part of the job they don’t understand. If you are a Product Person and the time comes to do your KPIs, you suck it up.#4 Product Managers Don’t Care About Process (or love Agile/Lean/Waterfall)
I’ve heard a lot of folks ask where product management conferences are. There are a couple recent ones, but historically product managers are much more interested in their market space than a process. This means they attend conferences on search or local or wearables. Most get their process from their engineers and their designers, and are willing to adapt to what keeps their team happy and working.
Lean is changing that to a degree, but in my experience it’s the service disciplines obsessed with process, and the PMs are willing to do whatever works.#5 Product Manager is CEO of the Product.
I’m actually OK with this one. Not because the job of CEO and PM is the same, but because no matter what it is or who made a mistake, you, the PM, are responsible. Like a CEO. Your bonus goes away when Google launches a competitor, your job disappears if you read the market wrong or your engineers estimated poorly. No matter who makes the mistake, it’s your responsibility to fix it.
Unlike the CEO, the PM don’t have firing power. So while they’ll have responsibility for making sure the product is successful, they are working with engineers and designers who report to someone else. They have to use persuasion and influence to shape the direction of the work. Those are good skills to learn if you want to grow into CEO one day and not be a micromanager. Sadly, some PMs use the only power they do have, over final product decisions, to try to get some control over their future.
Good PM’s lead teams, bad PM’s dictate product choices.
However, since the PM does not design nor code the product, the bad ones often find themselves made mostly irrelevant by the team they so desperately need. And since that team is likely missing critical data and market understanding (different than user understanding), the product fails.
Good ones set vision and goals, inspire, support and coordinate, and measure metrics to learn and refine the product. Sometimes it still fails. It’s still your fault.Anyhow
I recall back in 2002 when I worked at Yahoo managing a big team of designers, and one interaction designer just hated the PM she worked with. She didn’t get why this PM was always coming over, asking her to make changes, wondering why things were late (and they were. late, that is.) She just wanted to be left alone to design.
Then they rearranged seats, and designers were embedded in their product teams. They had a one on one, and she said, “God, I feel so sorry for that PM. Everything is her fault. People yell at her all day.” And she decided she’d try to make that PM’s life easier, really listen to the PM’s needs rather than tell her what she should do. Oh, and try to deliver on time.
I’ve never forgotten that, even when I was the one everyone was yelling at, held responsible for numbers I couldn’t always control because of market forces. I realized that whenever there was conflict, there was probably a lack of understanding. And understanding leads to empathy.
Designer, have some empathy. Do some user research. Take your PM to lunch. Ask them what his dreams are, ask how she is compensated. Ask what his biggest challenges are. Ask her what the best designer she ever worked with was like. Maybe you’ll find out she has a hard job, and you are part of the reason why. Maybe you’ll find a way to be successful together.
Go give your PM a hug.
— ❤ —
You might want to read this article next:
I have a new book out on goal setting and execution:
Marty Cagan has a old book out on Product Management that is my favorite:
Follow me on Twitter to get new articles and updates.
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mySQL [4 Certification Exam(s) ]
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PayPal [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
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Sybase [17 Certification Exam(s) ]
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Veeam [2 Certification Exam(s) ]
Veritas [33 Certification Exam(s) ]
Vmware [58 Certification Exam(s) ]
Wonderlic [2 Certification Exam(s) ]
Worldatwork [2 Certification Exam(s) ]
XML-Master [3 Certification Exam(s) ]
Zend [6 Certification Exam(s) ]
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