decisions

The Collective Intelligence of Waze

How can groups use collective intelligence to allow for individuals to make better decisions?

I’ve been using Waze for a few weeks now.  I have been using it ( to my own fault ) to try and figure out a better way out of San Francisco during a Giants game. Spoiler Alert – there is no fast route. However, in theory I wonder why more apps are not allowing us to make better decisions?

Rating sites like Yelp or even the way we view trending content online are one thing, but real time data being solved by multiple people passively is quite amazing – and another animal all together.

waze, distributed intelligence

 

Waze is amazing because the network of users only exists to save everyone time and make their lives better.  Many sharing services ( look up Sharing Economy ) are meant to redistribute assets or unwanted goods – not time or ideas.  Crowdsourcing of labor is a great new frontier.

Two other projects also come to mind – not new, but worth discussing.

1. BOINC – using distributed grids for computing – Think SETI@home but bigger.

2. Tomnod –  Using distributed volunteers for mapping

 

So the one outstanding question remains – Is collective intelligence accurate?  If the data set is biased and/or wrong, knowledge based on bad data is not really helpful.

There is an obvious benefit from utilizing natural experiments to improve the human condition. Any app that helps me spend less time on the car and more time with my family is a winner.  I am pondering how crowds can band together to solve other issues and help each other in this manner with minor effort.  In the age of social networks, we have the largest networked grid of intelligence and assets – what do we want to do with them and who gives guidance / moderation to these networks to prevent them from being a mob?

 

 

 

Applying Analytics to the Restaurant Industry

As many of you know, I have just joined the team at Revel Systems (www.revelsystems.com) .  I am super excited to join a top notch startup who is changing the way the service industry is run.  I am fortunate enough to work with three of my favorite things every day – tech, data, & food ( grocery/ retail service ).

One thing that really drew me to this new job was the opportunity for data to influence the restaurant industry. From my time at WCG ( now W2O ), I learned so much about how analytics could drive a strategy for marcom or engagement. The real epiphany though of the “data” buzz words we have been hearing about over the last year though are really about tracking assets and being self aware of your decisions to simply forecast your own decisions and refining your plan for better quality.

I am now a converted “foodie.” I dream of Michelin Star restaurant dinners once a year, and have begun to appreciate a good wine   or the different notes of a seasoned dish.  That’s the artist in me. However, the business side of me understands that their is a value of that dish – both perceived/ earned value and actual costs per plate.  The balance of the art and business of a restaurant is what I find so intriguing.  People pay for the value, but dont mind the cost.

The dream of the chef ( artist ) is to be able to produce tastes on a plate that can inspire the critic, but also make the account manager happy with the books. Understanding your menu / ingredient data can help justify how you shape your dishes, but also understand how you are using ingredients, and where you can be efficient with your assets.  Same applies to mixologists in the bar industry.  I feel that people are afraid to embrace data in that people may not want to know the cost of a slice of tomato, but really, once you understand the data, you have the power to make better decisions.  It’s empowerment.  People will always pay for art and an experience. Its just nice to be able to understand and justify the math behind art.

I love what I am working on with the Revel team. Its amazing to see what you can passively track from a POS system.  Let me know if you have any contacts in the service industry who are open to hearing about how data analytics and a sleek POS system can change how you do business.

-Patrick