Rethinking the Long Tail Theory: How to Define ‘Hits’ and ‘Niches’

Great article on the power of the niche – or perhaps the lack thereof. At the very least a healthy debate. The Netflix $1mm Prize will have so much more outcome than just a new recommendation system for Netflix. It is surely a form of crowdsourcing research!

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Published: September 16, 2009 in Knowledge@Wharton 

Using data on movie-rating patterns, new Wharton research challenges current thinking on the Long Tail effect — a widely publicized theory that suggests the Internet drives demand away from hit products with mass appeal, and directs that demand to more obscure niche offerings.

In a working paper titled, “Is Tom Cruise Threatened? Using Netflix Prize Data to Examine the Long Tail of Electronic Commerce,”Wharton Operations and Information Management professor Serguei Netessine and doctoral student Tom F. Tan pull information from the movie rental company Netflix to explore consumer demand for smash hits and lesser-known films. Netflix made its data available as part of a $1 million prize competition to encourage the development of new ways that will improve its ability to introduce customers to lesser-known titles they might find appealing.

Read the whole article here

What I Learned (or didn’t) on My Summer Vacation

I just spent the summer moving from New York City back to Los Angeles. I’ll count the time off from “blogging” as my summer vacation. And perhaps this is my official “what did you do on your summer vacation?” essay. It is September after all.

All I can say is moving is hard. No matter how many times you have done it; and if you are me that is quite a few, it gets harder and harder every time. We accumulate too much “stuff” don’t we?  And this sentiment exists strongly despite the fact that I have gone completely digital where I can.  I still have mounds and mounds of paperwork that I need to SHRED. And this has made me wonder why I still receive so much paper!

With that said I have some questions that I have come up with as I have gone through unpacking and shredding.

1. If we can file our tax returns electronically why can we not have electronic copies from the accounting world rather than the 6″ stack of papers that I receive back every year “for my files”.

2. Why can’t i get my electric/water bill electronically?

3. If I can get paperless statements from the bank, and they can store my statements back 7 years, why can I not download my statements into an excel spreadsheet further back than 45 days?

4. Why isn’t there a place where i can take all my paper to and shred it in massive amounts – like a shred-o-mat? If I have this much paper others must have way more.

5. Why doesn’t the change of address at the post office really change your address for all your bills? Why do I still have to actually call every company and change it?

Those are just a few of the things I’ve been wondering about as I transfer my life back to Los Angeles.

On another note…a green note…please take a moment to check out a great organization that can point you in the direction of going with solar power without alot of cost. They work with the local power companies to get you set up and reduce your electric bill by half.

More frequent blogging to resume in this new academic year. 🙂