Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Men still run American business

Or at least that is one conclusion you could draw from the list of most common first names of executives, as taken from Dow Jones Companies & Executives database on a scan I conducted recently. Of course we can't tell the race of a person based on a first name, though the names are certainly traditional Anglo-American in origin. So the data are more striking for what they seem to say about the gender of the executives than their heritage.
The database has global representation from millions of companies, but it is disproportionately of North American executives. Of the 13,000 unique first names in our database of millions of people, most of the top 100 are what many might be interpreted as traditional European-American male first names. (See below.) Of those that are obviously female, Mary is the top female name at No. 46, followed by Susan at 48, Karen at 71, Linda at 77 and Barbara at 90. As for the top 20 overall, it's a list most of which would not have been out of place 50, or even 500, years ago:

  1. John
  2. David
  3. Michael
  4. Robert
  5. James
  6. Richard
  7. William
  8. Peter
  9. Thomas
  10. Mark
  11. Paul
  12. Stephen
  13. Charles
  14. Joseph
  15. Steven
  16. Daniel
  17. Frank
  18. Mike
  19. George
  20. Gary

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Visualizing Obama's speech --- but making it harder than it should be

Thanks to NPR for pointing out this word cloud of Obama's Oval Office speech about the oil disaster. It's "fun" to look at.

These kind of views are often as interesting for what words are missing as for what words are there. What didn't the president say? "Kick some ass" isn't there. Nor are names of BP execs. Someone pointed out that "engineers" isn't there. I also noticed that "scientists" was hardly mentioned. But it's hard to find what's NOT in a visualization.

And the other thing that struck me is that this kind of visualization is a bit of a chartoon. Once you see the biggest couple of words, it's hard to really analyze what's next in line because the arrangement on the page is meaningless. It's just how the words fit together. I think this would have been much more usefully presented as one of the most simple of visualizations, a list -- most-mentioned word first, least-mentioned word last.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mining the media for oil drilling volume

I've posted over on TheConversationalCorporation on how the companies involed in the Gulf oil spill are not getting equal treatment in the press and from social media. BP is getting press and managing the message but Halliburton and Transocean aren't to be found on Twitter.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Why Won't AVE die?

AVE (or Ad Value Equivalency) has long been recognized as an inaccurate measure of the value of a brand's message in the mainstream media. No one likes it, except a few executives who perhaps see it as an easy way to boil it all down to a simple dollar amount. But yet, it persists.

My colleague, Matt Donanhue, has a good post today on the topic.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Inspired by a blizzard

The following isn't about text mining. But if' you're monitoring social media, Big Box Retailers, read on...

The best snow shovel I've ever used is one that's older than me. It's a steel blade pusher style which I rescued from my parents' house when my father died and replaced the handle on twice because I knew it would be hard to find another like it. No shovel I've ever used clears the ground so well.

Do they still make 'em like this? Perhaps, but it sure isn't easy to find one. You can easily find this "style" but not this quality. The aluminum and plastic ones they make don't work as well when they're new than the 40-year-old one I have.

And this isn't just about shovels. It's about faucets and screw drivers and drills and on and on.

The ones Home Depot and Lowe's stock are cheap to buy and practically disposable. I would gladly pay double or triple the price of an item if I knew it would last. But it seems retailers are convinced we want cheap, and are not willing to pay for high quality. Let's keep shipping poor-quality goods thousands of miles, toss them in land fills and buy more next year.