Review: Beyond Transparency – Open Data and the Future of Civic Innovation

Amazon Page

Amazon Page

Brett Goldstein and Lauren Dyson (editors)

4.0 out of 5 stars Superb on Open Data, Missing Important Context And Index, July 6, 2014

This is a superb collection of individual very short contributions. Absolutely worth reading and strongly recommended for purchase and sharing.

Some take-aways:

Continue reading

Review: Analytics in a Big Data World – The Essential Guide to Data Science and Its Applications

Amazon Page

Amazon Page

Bart Baesens

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Overview of Analytic Applications — Focused on Consumer, Contains Math, May 22, 2014

Bottom line up front: a superb book and a truly great overview that is easily understandable to me except for the fraction of the book that is math.

Right away I like the structure of the book in relation to analytics. Use Amazon’s Inside the Book feature to see that structure. I also appreciate the clarity and integrity demonstrated by the author in touching on major obstacles to big data analytics, among which are past biases in policy and collection and the absence of critical values needed to test NEW hypotheses. The author is brutal in a low key manner (which is to say, very professional) in evaluating the different types of data streams and the problems with each of them. Getting the raw data is a challenge — cleaning that data is a greater challenge — making sense of swiss cheese data with a host of underlying intellectual cancers is the greatest challenge of all.

Continue reading

Review (Guest): Intelligence for Earth – Clarity, Diversity, Integrity & Sustainability

Amazon Page

Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5.0 Stars One visionary’s way out of the Corporate Feudalism/International Conflict trap

By Herbert L Calhoun on April 1, 2014

In this book, the author, drawing extensively on his intelligence and military background, has cleanly written an easy to follow book, that outlines a careful course of action for developing a new kind of global information sharing infrastructure. To be headquartered at the UN, this new infrastructure would make it possible for every organization (and through them, everyone) on the globe to share open-source intelligence equally as a free public resource. If it is successful, this new global brain could transform our world from its current insecurity-driven and corrupt corporate dominated lose-lose, economic and conflict trap, into a much revived win-win strategy for bottom-up collective survival in a peaceful and sustainable world economy.

At least that is the theoretical hope and vision. On paper, and in principle, it is a stunningly sexy and attractive vision, one that, should it prove operationally testable and feasible, could indeed have the important side benefit and advantage of creating new bottom-up wealth, energizing the world economy and easing world tensions by reducing mistrust and fear back down to the noise level.

Continue reading

Review: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Amazon Page

Amazon Page

Ben Horowitz

5.0 out of 5 stars ABSORBING – Requires Open Mind, March 16, 2014

I generally read all the reviews before writing my own, in part to see if anyone has already covered the ground the way I like to, with a summary evaluative review. There are only two reviews before mine that I consider world-class, please do read them if you have the time. I refer to the reviews by Mercenary Trader and Scott S. Bell, I salute both of them for providing substance useful to all.

This is not a comprehensive book in that it is a very personal perspective, brings together many specific snapshots, but never addresses “root” in relation to how the team went from great idea to source code to buzz to market share. As I read the book I thought often about a book I read in the 1980′s, still a classic, Tracey Kidder’s The Soul of A New Machine.

I would say this book is an absolutly priceless gem for the “hard knocks” at the CEO level perspective, and should be combined with any of several alternatives on start-ups such as Matt Blumberg’s Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business, + Website, and, forthcoming, Peter Thiel of PayPal’s Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future.

I’ve built two companies, both failures in that I never made the leap from one man with an obession to a movement (OSS.Net, Inc. and Earth Intelligence Network, a 501c3) and what I did not see in this book, or any other book I have found, is the roadmap for getting from a big idea to big marketshare. That book remains to be written, and it could be that it should be written by Marc Andressen and a team. Jim Clark’s Netscape Time: The Making of the Billion-Dollar Start-Up That Took on Microsoft is a fine but dated (1999) start but we need something now tailored to the Internet of Things (what everyone else is thinking about) and free individual access to and ability to leverage all information in all languages all the time (what I have been thinking about since 1986 — visit Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog to learn more). I am also reminded of Michael Lewis’s The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story.

All this by way of saying that you have no business reading or buying this book if you are expecting a holistic 360 degree soup to nuts outline of how to zero to Mach 2. The greatest value of this book for me was in learning that it is possible to keep flying when you lose power and both wings fall off at the same time.

Continue reading