Illustration: Heather Seidel / The Wall Street Journal

Well, it appears the revenge of the nerds is upon us … at least on Wall Street.  I remember talking to so many people who would state that attempting to pick winners and losers might make the traders rich, but it simply did not benefit the average stock holder.  Even a chimpanzee beat these traders during those years.

Well, as far as the Wall Street Journal is concerned, that time has come. Read more about it here.

The new name for nerds is quants, but nerds they remain.

I just wonder how long this type of person would last talking to today’s energy company leadership or their committees charged with deciding how business analytics can change the business.

I remember like it was yesterday when Enron turned energy trading on its head.  Yes, they also did many illegal things, but they were essentially the first to use algorithms and derivatives to manage something that at the same time was being managed by phone calls and jawboning.

Yes, we also need protections from all these machines that can act before you and I can even see a trend.  Yes, we need rules for commerce that are not in place quite yet, but we have apparently broken the egg … you can’t put it back in the shell and pretend it isn’t cracked.

What are you going to do about it?  And, if you are going there, you can leap ahead by using our robust platform of cutting-edge business analytics defining what is happening in the homes and small businesses you serve … call us.  We built and refine them to serve you.


The End is Near!

I remember seeing disheveled men holding hand painted placards and yelling this warning to all who passed by.  “The end is near!”

Of course, their primary message was to “get right with God” before it was too late in most cases.

Now we have something similar playing out due to the apparent surge in electric vehicles.

Look for yourself at

Setting aside the relentless march of technology that promises self-driving cars that you simply call with your phone to take you where you need to go, it is interesting to watch the reaction of incumbents to structural changes like this.

It is helpful to take a close look at the parallels to our own immortality.  My favorite is the work of Kubler Ross on death and dying. (image above)

Robocalls on Steroids

It is ironic that artificial intelligence is now all the rage in the technology news.  Sure, we still do not have robots like the TV Series Humans or the Sci-Fi movie Ex Machina … but we are getting close on a few fronts.

The one that seems to be moving the fastest is voice.  And, according to an article I saw today posted on LinkedIn we are indeed very close.  Take a look for yourself. 

So, are we about to witness a new round of technology in the call centers?  According to Warren Buffet at his gala annual meeting, the answer is a resounding yes.  By the way, he is not a good guy to bet against.

Gee… we have seen a huge transformation in voice, haven’t we?  I used to have to wait until late in the evening to call my parents.  Then, I used to get a huge bill showing me every call.  Now they don’t care how much I call at all or when I do?

Or, are we following more of an airline model where capacity management and convenience interact to give passengers price options?  How much longer will it be for airlines to stop charging passengers for this and that?

No matter where you look, in the energy industry, you are now seeing the influence of big data and the internet of things on business practices.  Well, with one major exception.



Does Homework Cause Cancer? Film at 11!

It is still a journalistic trick to pose a provocative question as an excuse to draw in viewers to watch the news.  The one that caught my eye recently in the Wall Street Journal was the statement that the average tenure for chief marketing officers working for the county’s biggest brands has fallen for the second year in a row.  You could easily infer from that, that marketing was losing its allure.

The WSJ article then fanned the flames of concern with: “Tough business headwinds, new technologies and pressures to change quickly” are among the many reasons for the churn, said Greg Welch, a consultant in Spencer Stuart’s marketing officer practice. “It’s the perfect storm.”  The higher turnover rate is being driven, in part, by tough business conditions that many industries are dealing with, from retailers to consumer-goods companies — sectors that have seen profits slide as consumer shopping and eating habits change.  “If you are CEO and you tried a game plan and it’s not working, what do you do,” Mr. Welch said. “You change the playbook and change the players.”

The winds of change are fickle of course.  My favorite phrase here is to beware of the Seer Sucker Theory … that is for every Seer there is at least one Sucker.  I seem to remember the theory that a chimpanzee could pick stocks as successfully as any of the famous portfolio prognosticators.  It seems so alluring though when you look at the up and down cycles … there just must be a way to beat the odds here and get the upper hand.

The short shelf life for ideas isn’t the only problem discovered in the study. It also revealed shortfalls in the diversity that exists among the top CMOs in the country. Of the marketing chiefs looked at in the study, only 9% were African American, Hispanic or Asian, the study found moreover that about 23% are women.  Advertising agencies are under increasing pressure to address diversity problems, which have been highlighted by several high-profile scandals involving accusations of sexist and racist behavior by agency executives.

This all starts to look like companies hiding behind social change as the excuse for failing to offer products and services customers want.  Maybe that is because they still have not figured out how to differentiate themselves from all the lookalikes and knock offs.  Where is another Steve Jobs when you really need one? We need truly new ideas that break paradigms.

Some of you know what I am talking about.  We will be taking the wraps off this by this fall.   And thanks to those of you who have stuck with us.