London, some updates

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Compared to its Italian fratello,, this blog is a bit mistreated, probably because it’s less about me and more about data.

Whoever follows the Italian blog is already updated, more or less on a monthly basis, on what’s going on in my life; nevertheless it is worth doing a recap here as well. 

Before starting, did you know about diwali? It is one of my latest discoveries: a kind of Hindu version of Christmas also known as ‘the festival of lights’.

It usually lasts five days and is celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November) Diwali symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”.

My Indian friends from London to Canada are wearing super cool clothes (not like my red suit at Christmas) . They illuminate the interior and exterior of their homes with diyas and rangoli and share gifts between themselves.

Digressions aside, let’s get to the matter at hand.

A quick timeline

From December 2020 until Feb 2021 I participated with Davide Mariani at my first Kaggle Competition, we didn’t win but we had a lot of fun and learned from this experience. 

Kaggle is the main platform that hosts data science competitions. It is like the football tournament but for geek data scientists. 

We decided to join because we could reduce our learning curve. Of course, this wasn’t the only reason. Another key reason was that the hosted competition was led by ACEA a public Italian  company which operates in the sector of management and development of networks and services in the water, energy and environmental sectors.

In the meantime I worked on some consultancy rojects with Pedius and Pricyo, in the first case for a data visualization project and in the second for a Natural Language Processing project, both extremely interesting. 

The great inflection point while looking for a long term experience and not only a contractor activity came in April when I started the job interview for Collidascope, part of 1HQ family. 

Contact – Collidascope

Collidascope is a consultancy boutique specialised in marketing activities evaluation, marketing mix optimisation, ‘What-if’ scenario planning for marketing activities, and performance-tracking.

Looking back, I still remember 10 years ago when I started planning Social Media Campaigns for my family business after the summer exam session at the university, struggling to determine the ROI of branding activities. 

Now this is my job.

Free time activities

In my (allegedly non-zero) free time, nights and weekends, I read “How Brands Grow” from Byron Sharp a Professor of Marketing Science famous for his works on Loyalty Programs.

Although  I feel very comfortable after years of experience with my Data Science Knowledge, I am very aware that  there are a lot of interesting marketing concepts that I still need to master. 

My priority moving forward is to dig into these.

From the book in particular there are three main and counterintuitive takeaways (based on experiments and data — which is also why I liked this book):

  1. Loyalty programs have little effect on Customer retentions, but they are a wonderful tool for:
    1. Building a database of consumers;
    2. Developing new channel to speak to consumers;
    3. Tracking their buying in-store.
  2. Price Promotions increase sales but erode profits and based on the experiments cited in the book, buyers return to their pre-promotion buying patterns. Markets still have reason to run price promotions to please the retailer. Definitely interesting the question made by the author: if the goal of price promotion is to please the retailer, which metric should be used to quantify it?
  3. The difference between Implicit and Explicit memories. Explicit memories are the memories we are able to retrieve into our consciousness, like remembering what we ate yesterday for dinner (I went to a nice Greek Restaurant near Camden). * * * Implicit memories can’t be recalled like the explicit ones, but people who are exposed to a statement, for example, even if they can’t remember it, are more likely to rate that statement as true than people not previously exposed.

What’s next?

Consolidating what I am doing and learning at work is the main goal. 

Starting another marketing book called “Eating the Big Fish – How Challenger Brands Can Compete Against Brand Leaders”

In the following weekends I would like to seriously start and finish the list of tutorials that are on my wall. 

I think it is a good way to be confident with the machine learning algorithms that I know.

Obviously I don’t use all the algo that I know in my daily job,  where the main focus is on some of them, but I never know when a new project will require new applications or different algorithms.

I am still writing, in Italian, books reviews, usually with monthly frequency.

I am finishing a very “high level” book on Data Science, it’s called “Data Science for Business” which is used in a MBA class at Columbia University and I think is very useful because there is no code. It covers all the main aspects of Data Science with a robust commercial perspective without seeming superficial. 

Highly recommended! 

I was quite consistent until August with the newsletter of my italian tech association InnovAction Lab, also here a monthly activity that took me 4 hours during the weekends, and I hope to be back soon on writing them. 

Well there is also a list of cocktail bars that I would try between Shoreditch and Soho, as I am serious, curious and rigorous  with data I am also with Negroni Cocktail.

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