Pondering Personal Data, Online Privacy and the eCommerce Experience while I wait for the Semantic Web to arrive. I am a co-founder of First Retail Inc. - a bootstrapped startup in the Bay Area of California working to leverage semantic web technologies to improve the online commerce experience.

First steps in creating a #DataAnalytics function

I recently answered a post on Quora: I was tasked to build the first data analysis unit in my company, what should I do?

So I’d first be asking why. What is being expected of you and the team you will be building? Which decisions will your insights be informing? What will be done differently as a result of the analysis you provide.

The beginning of Data Strategy, four key lessons

Having worked on data strategy projects for some large and very large enterprises I have encountered many different business contexts for an organization to think strategically about their data. Here are some important considerations that should be made at the outset:

A Data Strategy Primer

Opportunities in Data

Making the optimal business decision, whether at a strategic or an operational level requires information – and that information needs to be timely, accurate and at the right level. The raw data that will be used to generate that information can live in different systems, different functions and even different companies (i.e. outside the organization). Today, new insights will deliver competitive advantage – and those insights will be delivered out of data as the raw material.

The Asymmetry of Personal Data

There is an asymmetry between personal data held by companies and by the individual consumer. Companies know a lot about us, we don't know much at all -- even about what they know. What's the right balance and are we on our way there? (June 2013)

Beyond Omni-Channel

Omni-Channel retailing seems to be all the rage these days - aligning assortment, centralizing inventory and providing a seamless customer experience. However, there are a number of interesting startups that are innovating beyond the current Omni-channel paradigms (March 2013)

Rock Paper Scissors for Digital Businesses

The growth of Social Media has elevated identity, privacy and big data to become vital topics for CIOs and CMOs of online businesses. Looking deeper into legislative, consumer and technology trends, I see the challenges for the post-digital organization as: Privacy, Ownership and Persistence. 'Rock, Paper, Scissors' provides a handy metaphor to describe the challenges faced by post-digital businesses. (January 2013)

Semantic Retail

Why would a retailer care about the semantic web, surely this is just another technology fad that the IT department can distract itself with instead of delivering faster transaction systems or more accurate and up-to-date reports? Not so. If fact it turns out semantic technology may enable robust solutions to your retail business users' most pressing problems. (December 2011)

Data Alchemy

I've spent the last 10 years messing with someone or other's data and helping turn it into shareholder value - from multi-national Fortune 100 companies to tiny bootstrapped startups and with full-scale Enterprise Business Intelligence to just a few guys and a machine-learning algorithm in the cloud. There's a common thread running though the most successful cases - these are the companies that really nailed it. (November 2011)

Getting to 'No'

After 12 years spent as a Product Manager working for Enterprise Software, Startups, blue-chip retailers and financial services companies and advising many more, I have been able to boil it all down to one key skill - the ability to say 'No'. This post explains why 'No' is the one word that product managers need to be able to say with authority and comfort knowing that it will be well received (October 2011)

The Value Added Aggregator


Retailing has been with us for as long as we can remember. Aggregation and Comparison Sites are today's drivers of traffic and how consumers search for products. Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) has yet to take off bringing the ability for consumers to interact with vendors of products. Do retailers need to behave more like aggregators, particularly as they grow their marketplaces? How are retailers gradually and perhaps unconsciously beginning to adopt VRM practices?
(July 2011)

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