Tag Archives: MRSlive

Keynote interview with Bill Bryson #MRSlive @TweetMRS #MRX 

Live blogged at MRS in London. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

  • Where did sense of curiousity happen, some is innate
  • He grew up in Iowa and moved to England when he was 20, started work at a psychiatric ward, met his wife there who was a student nurse, he married into the country
  • He dropped out of university to stay in England, returned to states for two years to complete university,worked in newspapers, went back to England to work at newspapers there
  • British journalism is so different from US journalism, stealing a car and taking a car is very different legally, got in trouble on his second day for that mistake, legalities of what you can say is very different
  • Often surprised or delighted even thought he’s lived here for 40 years
  • How did he transition into writing books, he always worked on production side of newspapers, started freelancing on travel articles for Sunday newspapers, realized he liked it, liked writing with a comical twist, he seemed to be able to do it
  • Nurtured dream of quitting job and moving to country to make a living as a writer, he was too cowardly to do it, his wife was brave enough to to do it, she just put their house on the market and they moved, best thing that ever happened
  • He loves being self-employed
  • He’s never written anything that he didn’t expect to be paid for [as I sit here writing notes and letting people read them for free 🙂 ]
  • He just wrote a book about traveling around England, having experiences, and relating them amusingly
  • He also tries to understand science and the universe, half of his books are these kind now [i think I ought to check out his books!]
  • He talks to academics, researchers, experts, he enjoys meeting people who really know something, e.g, snails or lichens [like how Oliver sacks did a whole book on ferns 🙂 ]
  • Goes to libraries and reads a lot, his favourite thing in the whole world
  • You have to cut out everything that isn’t necessary to do the job, he gathers infinite amount of information and then focus on just the interesting and necessary parts to make the book cohesive
  • You’ll never remember the number, but you will remember it’s the number of popcorn kernels needed to cover the US in 9 miles of kernels, chemistry students amuse themselves with these kinds of calculations 
  • Naturally interested in science but it needs to be accessible, don’t want to go through formulas and equations to access it, want words
  • Science is amazing, the numbers are so vast
  • Be on the hunt for analogies to bring raw data to life, that’s the moment of enlightenment
  • Always looking for a fact that is interesting to him, works hard to come up with these images to make passages fresh and vivid, it’s rewarding
  • Every book has a voice, need to find it each time, struggles for days and weeks to get the beginning to each book – the first sentence, paragraph, page, then it’s okay, wants conversational relaxed voice, tries to be engaging, but once he gets it the rest falls into place
  • Publishers don’t do market research, would be interesting to see how his book test marketed, that the language was fruitier and he let himself go more
  • Being a foreigner is an advantage when you’re a writer, wife has one take on things and he was two takes as an American and a Brit, even with weather in Britain which seems to him to be the same all year round even though where he was raised you could die due to the weather, his wife sees every day as different
  • He’s not an expert, he’s a reporter repeating what hes’ been told, his books are about his incompetence with the world
  • He admits he does exaggerate things for comical effect
  • [Bill just dissed Canada as no one would want to read a book about us. I”m so deeply offended, crying, need a tissue.]


    Sex by Numbers: what statistics can tell us about sexual behavior by David Spiegelhalter #MRSlive @TweetMRS #MRX 

    Live blogged at MRS in London. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

    • What is sex? Only half of people think oral sex is sex which is why Clinton was not guilty of perjury
    • In 2012, 48% of babies were “illegitimate,” in 1973, one in twenty 16 year old got pregnant
    • For every 20 girls born, 21 boys are born
    • In 1938, at least half of brides under 20 were pregnant when they got married
    • The seven year itch is kind of true, that’s the peak of marriages lasting, after that familiarity keeps them going
    • Below is an awesome chart for a statistics book about sex 🙂
    • Report is that frequency of sex has fallen by 20% since 2000
    • Speaker asks that people don’t raise their hands regarding statistics 🙂
    • Sex is less frequent as people age
    • In a closed population, equal men and women, average number of partners should match, medians might differ but means must be the same, men report twice as many sexual partners as women report. Why? Maybe age mixing, maybe different definitions, maybe exaggerations and hesitancy
    • Men report more partners, and they report more even numbers and multiples of five, people round off the number (see second chart)
    • There is a social acceptability bias
    • Used the bogus pipeline to examine sex differences – a fake lie detector, fear of exposure applies more to women, pipeline caused women to give higher numbers
    • Women more likely to report same sex experiences and much more in recent years, men much less so
    • You have to separate behavior from attraction when discussing being gay
    • Panels can be used a rough ballpark but details are unreliable, 20% difference?
    • Alfred Kinsey collected 15000 sex history’s in the 40s and 50s
    • “When did you last have sex outside of your marriage” survey required active denial [what an awesome technique when applied appropriately!]
    • 17% o men brought up on farms had outlets with animals –> active denial led to more confessions [who know what is really true!]
    • Sphere Hite 1970s, 100 000 questionnaires went out but only 4000 completed so the results are dubious
    • [this dude is awesome! He’s critiquing the quality of research findings from old sex statistics. ]
    • Finally had decent data in the 1800s with civil registrations
    • How many boys are born per girls – it’s actually about 105 boys per 100 girls, more boys are born in wars? More boys if higher coital rates, early conceptions, conception not at time of peak-fecundity


    Insight: a force for good #MRSlive @TweetMRS #MRX 

     Live blogged at MRS in London. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

    Moving more with cancer by Emily Fu and Justin Webb

    • 77% of people with cancer are not active to recommended levels which reduces consequences of treatment, reduces comorbigiteis, reduces disease progression, decreases mortality
    • Imagine you have cancer and what would keep you from being more active, physical abilities are not as influential as you think, people have a huge knock to their confidence, feel depressed and vulnerable and frightened
    • Social support and social pressures are influential on behaviour, family is all about sit down and rest be safe, they fear injury or psychological damage
    • There is social stigma around cancer, around scars, and being self conscious, cancer is invisible for many people
    • For some types of cancer, finding a bathroom is a huge problem for getting enough activity, physical symptoms of cancer and surgery are problematic
    • People who were active planned it around treatment cycles, built things up slowly, didn’t get disheartened if they couldn’t do as much as they wanted
    • Need to reeducate via media – don’t take it easy if you’ve got cancer, get moving! Let people know exercise is safe. Created a ‘Get Active Feel Good’ pack for people and families

    Creating a buzz around gender equality by Philly Desai and Nasir Nansir

    • Gender discrimination in Nigeria – violence, leadership, decision making
    • Five year program working directly with young people, empower through self-esteem, increase positive attitudes, change the rules by securing laws and budgets that respond to women’s needs
    • Must influence wider society through marketing communications types of activities
    • Quant study to explore attitudes and social norms, what do I believe, what do others believe, what attitudes and behaviora do not match up
    • Violence against women is widely condemned but common in practice
    • Younger people support women’s having more leadership but they expect resistance from society
    • Needed to create a brand identify which appealed to young people but does not alienate men 
    • [by the way, these notes are being written as my friend and diversity advocate @RayPoynter sits on an #AllMalePanel in the next room. He must be horrified. 😦 ]
    • Created a radio drama, created posters and billboards promoting diversity and 50/50
    • Www.iampurple.ng – website targeting young people on mobile [bet this site is truly mobile friendly!]
    • Site has 1 million visitors and 30 000 registered, have celebrities and popular people driving engagement
    • Men must be seen as partners, need to message to appeal to men, ‘our strength is not for hurting’
    • Craft messages that appeal to subconscious of target audience

    Learning for tomorrow by Jackie Hughes and Catriona Ferris

    • It’s hard for big brands to “do good”
    • #Lifebouy campaign is about washing your hands more often to stay healthy which means buying more soap
    • It has to be at the heart of the brand purpose, functionality is no longer enough, brands with a purpose are growing faster, need to create a purpose
    • We learn by doing and experiencing, context, role playing
    • Let’s create a classroom, students, and bring experts to spark inspiration, bring insight in, get creative work going
    • Did one in London and one in Mumbai, brought in typical experts from India and Vietnam 
    • What is the meaning of education? More blackboards? More books? More kids?
    • There was playtime, colouring, books just like a real classroom
    • Spoke to moms and kids, spoke about real concerns about attending schools, fear of violence and rape, conflicts with kids working schedule, teenage pregnancy, as well as their hopes and dreams 
    • Sending kids to school is like setting them free
    • They wanted to activate the first day of school
    • Led to unicef campaign about the first day of school, first day of school means they are so grown up, one of the most important days of their lives, it’s on their way to their profession in life, it’s giving them a beautiful future, these are the first steps
    • Persia is helping 10 million children get a quality education. #FirstDayOfSchool


    Social noise – cacophony or symphony #MRSlive @TweetMRS #MRX 

    Live blogged at MRS in London. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

    The art of noise by Tom Ewing

    • #IPAsocialworksinitiative – to guide effective use of social media data
    • It’s all about measuring not counting, Ray Poynter wrote this part
    • The insight guide  is being written by Tom Ewing and he is interviewing people for it
    • Five basic questions
    1. What questions do you need to answer, what decisions will betaken because of it
    2. What do you know already, existing research, behavioural
    3. What social behaviora are you looking for, what data sources, do you need aggregate data or granular level
    4. What is the relevant timescale, ad hoc or continuous, how do you know yyou’re finished
    5. Do you need quant metrics, what are they, it’s more than likes follows
    • We have reached the peak of social tech
    • Seth Grimes says the state of social insight is “confused,” it’s not really a mature technology, widely adopted, but not fully integrated
    • It’s the early majority now, tactical, silos, unstructured text, the future is here but it is unevenly distributed
    • We need to clear out the cliches, integrate with methodologies, integrate with insights and business and people 
    • Different poll results would arise if you use Twitter vs Facebook [i see this as a sampling problem, you don’t just take any church or school or company and say it is representative]
    • UK Facebook data is closer to a census than a sample [but it is still very much a sample!]
    • You can join insights with other methodologies [data fusion is ALWAYS wise, every method reveals different insights]
    • Provide more file and predictive tracking systems and an ability to get granular and specific
    • Who owns social insight? Is it marketing? Analytics? Insights? PR? Sales? It’s more about collaborating  [why must one group OWN it, everyone can benefit hugely from it]
    • Finding common ground – we’re all working toward the same goal, emotional understanding of people
    • Limits of real time means it’s more tactical but there is indeed strategic value
    • How do you get insight about a topic when you know nothing about it [oh goodness, I could go on about this. I was asked to draw insights about cars and trucks. I know NOTHING about them and couldn’t understand anything people were talking about. Expertise in the topic is a MUST! Put me on the food/outdoors/music research.]
    • AI is already doing so much work that people would have done – collecting data, sorting and coding, analyzing, prepping, reporting
    • Social insight begins with social practice, use new platforms like Whatsapp and snapchat, look beyond the brand level to the topic level, consider pictures and video, look for patterns at the network level
    • Different things come out via text and images but you wno’t know unless you plan and look for differences in different types of content
    • We are working towards general use, stratégie, cooperation, seamless integration among people, rich media as well as unstructured text
    • Tom asks people to submit their social media case studies to him for publication in the book

    Finding insight in 140 characters by Jake Steadman

    • Jake [not from Statefarm] speaks
    • Story about Star Wars, in 1977, need to tap into mainstream media, tap into core group of fans, went on TV and publications. FOr second movie he went to com icon. Fans went in the hundreds to see them in person for Q and A.
    • Today, mobile is eating other media time.everyone has a mobile phone. December of last year, new Star Wars came out. Still need media and interest and fan base. THey launched on Twitter. That tweet drove all the other media. Drove coverage in print. Access to the stars still applies but they did it more directly and personal on Twitter. Stars did this on the red carpet, backstage, White House visits, all on Twitter. 1.2 billion tweets on opening weekend.
    • All social data can drive insight
    • There are culture issues and there are tools. 
    • Rise of the machines, machines allow you to become storytellers and consultants, it allows you to be a leader not a methodological policeman
    • Let’s you do same day insights and be agility, we need to get over our obsession with precision, forget statistical precision [agreed, don’t create precision with decimal places, know when your data is directional and don’t make it more than it is ]
    • Social is the democratization of data, client side is more like to be using social, agencies are more likely to be using big data, agencies need to be more for less and quicker
    • Look for your soggy fries – customers were starting be less loyal with a restaurant, you could run a large research project, or you could look at social data immediately, found many uses of the word ‘soggy fries’, it didn’t need precision but rather it needed recognition

    Panel with Jenny Burns, Christopher Wellbelove, Jess Owens, James Devon

    • Some people jump at social media because it’s cheaper than things like focus groups [be cautious, cheaper means you need to spend more time thinking and analyzing it]
    • Lots of people are analyzing social media without ever using it, you need to use the tools to really understand them [the speaker has now gone through three pairs of google glasses, and might be tweeting as we speak 🙂 ]
    • Social media is still treated as a slightly dangerous cousin
    • 67% of people using social media puts it really into late adoption, it is not new nor early adopter territory 
    • It says more about the market research industry being years behind to be so late in using this technology
    • Privacy and ethics still matter, some companies get individual permission to review Twitter accounts
    • People need to understand how their data is being used, whether it’s aggregated, Facebook data is fully anonymized and aggregated and great for ethics and privacy

    [I kind of like have a couple presentations followed by a separate panel]


      Keynote interview with Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger DBE, #MRSlive @TweetMRS #NewMR #MRX 

      Live blogged at MRS in London. Any errors or odd comments are my own.

      • We are suffering from a compassion deficit
      • Europe has failed on the referendum, problem with asylum in first country of because that puts the load on only a couple countries, people in camps and traveling want to go to Germany or Sweden because Angela find a warmer welcome than England, and Swedish system for asylum is much better and quicker, England has it wrong and feels hostile to people coming
      • Taking 3000 children is not very many, England has facilities to look after them
      • We have compassion fatigue
      • Even if we can’t take adults we really should take the children 
      • Migration has become a key part of Europe debate even though it has nothing to do with it
      • Politicians job is not only to listen to population but sometimes to lead and try to change opinion [YES, the population doesn’t always know what is right]
      • Britain took 80 000 people during the war, during severe depression so we can certainly do it again, there is a moral responsibility
      • Hopes Britain says in Europe, being out would be worse, makes no sense to pay and not have a voice at the table, have had peace in Europe since 1945
      • Anyone who goes to a hospital will see employees from all over the world and that is true in the tiniest of towns, people detach themselves from reality of regular experience, chicken tiki masala is the national dish but it wasn’t born here, it’s how people want to perceive themselves
      • You see yourself like this but you’re  actually like this
      • Politicians should turn mirror back on people to see who is caring for them, it’s a world wide population all around you all the time
      • Many organizations are trying to help refugees,people have given up their jobs to work in refugee camps, people don’t like the cruelty or hostility or compassion fatigue
      • Asylum seekers get five pounds a day for living (not accommodation/utilities) and they need volunteer help, lots of people want to sponsor individuals or families, even today like during the war a lot of people want to help
      • Big vs small government, govts decide on war and social welfare but you can’t have a bunch of people deciding on it, you need a govt deciding, we elect govt and yes they can tell us what to do, on the side of big govt although they do stick their hands a little bit too far
      • Scandinavian countries are showing some severe hostility as well
      • How do we get around the fear? Introduce people, meet the ‘other’, buddying kids in schools works well [my school did this during the ‘boat people’ phase and all the kids were so eager and proud to be a buddy]
      • We’re all guilty to selectively using data that suits the argument you want to take, data may change your argument if you look at ALL the data, politicians need to look at MR data and the other data 
      • End of life Liverpool care pathway – designed by a professor, palliative care consultant, horrified by how people were dying in regular hospitals, it was a matter of luck for whether you got decent care dignity and privacy to die well, it is guidance for nurses and doctors to care for people, stories starting appear in newspapers that the pathway was for death and just killing people who were going to die anyways, govt didn’t see this problem until too late and no one trusted their internal review, never thought they would have to withdraw the pathway, “I LCP’d him”, people weren’t reading the guidance, they were just doing the checklist not following up on the checklist, the brand had become toxic and they had to withdraw it [makes me sad they lost what should have been a good thing 😦 ]
      • If you want high quality care of dying people, you need access to speciality palliative care advice 24/7 and this is mostly not available, all doctors have not received palliative care training because no one checks if they have attended those classes, a GP has received the training now, anyone who trains in this country must now be trained and tested on palliative care, hospice was developed here and passiative care is still not fully available here
      • The care programs are based on market research, asked people what makes for a good death, some small samples of people talking about their own death, people need adequate pain relief and there is no excuse for anyone to die in pain, people also want privacy and dignity but all of our preferences are different, many people are terrified of being by themselves whereas others want to be completely alone, there is inadequate research in end of life care because it’s just not a fashionable movement, research of death is still very cancer based but that’s not how we’re dying anymore
      • It’s a disgrace what’s happened with math and science teaching in Britain, go into schools and talk to the kids about how important math and science is, kids needs to know math matters, outsiders need to go into schools, people from outside used to go to institutions of all sorts but now we’re so careful about protecting kids that no one can access and mentor them anymore, MRS needs to get into school, “learn statistics for fun and profit”. [LOVE this, each one of us needs to visit schools and share our love for data and science]
      • How do we get ethics to the top of discussion, not legal compliance. Get in during the drafting of legislation. Make your rules clear to data protection people. Stand up and shout. Be loud and clear. 

        Keynote by Stan Sthanunathan, Unilever, and Gavin Patterson, BT #MRSlive #MRX #NewMR 

        Live blogged at the MRS conference in London. Any errors, bad jokes, or comments in [] are my own.

        • Gavin is CEO of BT
        • Talks about knowing when to let things go [is he foreshadowing my session?]
        • Relationship with a board is different than one with a boss, they are there to test you not train you
        • Says after 2.5 years in the job he feels more sure about what to do [see? Even CEOs don’t feel confident on day 1]
        • You never make decisions with complete confidence, rational and intuition need to be used together to make decisions, focus on making big decisions right and don’t get distracted by little decisions that don’t need your involvement, decisions are rarely binary
        • Many changes in technology and regulations but still need to make decisions, people don’t know what they’ll want or have in ten years
        • Need to anticipate unmet needs, every business has to do this, must stick to this
        • Need to develop instincts for what people want to buy, look for this in your employees, must make bets on trends like data
        • BT is only national provider but there are many alternatives, choice for consumer is significant
        • Need to make sure debates about competitions are fact based
        • Feels BT is innovative, BT has been around since 1800 [my brand new pipes are older than that!]
        • First programmable computer is BT, first fiber networks based on BT patents, reinvented itself a number of times
        • Great companies innovate at all levels of the value chain, admits their work is not done
        • It’s not individual people but a culture that sustains and reinvents itself, , over 100 000 people in the company
        • Key is not data, it’s insights, world is awash with data, need people to identify signal from noise
        • CEO is steward of business, judged on balance sheet you give your successor
        • Focus on immediate future of course but long term thinking is more important
        • Changes make over ten years might include a completely new board, new CEO, new employees
        • Talking about making data actionable [Queue my IIEX presentation :)]
        • It’s not just more data, it’s better decision making

        Stan speaks!

        • Stan assures us he is not on drugs 🙂
        • Curiosity plus insight to the power of revolution is when you get significant impact [what p value Stan? Or is it more about effect sizes? ]
        • Information is getting democratized, incredible access to information, information is not a competitive edge
        • How often does the person who wrote the brief forget they wrote it 6 months later?
        • Google lets you search data, demographics, geography, videos, sharing, differences by region
        • Information is not power, answering the right question is what matters
        • Facebook took 8 years, uber took 5 years to get to 50billion market, they disrupt live on daily basis and add value
        • People have increasing expectations but resources are finite
        • When you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Need a big paradigm shift.
        • Business as usual is not good. YOu need business as unusual, transformational, unique, leave a lasting impression on the organization
        1. Get social or get ready to be branded ain’t-social
        2. Data commoditized, insights democratized, actions are the edge
        3. Get visual or get impaired, fact filled versus fact based, tell a story, make people feel to make a difference, can’t take big action without feeling
        4. Innovate don’t renovate, renovate is easy because it’s polishing the turd
        5. Become a master of metamorphosis, adapt and change ongoing, everyday, practice everyday
        6. Digitize and humanize, can get lost in mass of data, taming data is table steaks
        7. Think bi-polar, normal curve is becoming less so, it’s inverting, more polarized, a single questionnaire can’t target millennials and seniors, forget consistent questionnaires and focus on consistent feedback
        8. It is too risky not to take risks, we need to be much more bold, taking risk is not an option, someone else will take that risk instead
        9. Never underestimate the power of n=1, brands are being controlled more by people, influences who can make or break a brand, just a few of these people, digital environment lets us engage with influences one on one – think Ghandi, mother Theresa, Martin Luther King 
        10. Real time is the new currency, time lapse from question to answer gives us ADD
        • What do you do with those Ten Commandments, direction to travel to destination
        • Losers use the past to predict the future, winners shape the future
        1. Nerds will rule [yay!], math, science and coding, learn these yesterday, nerds have always been here, always essential
        2. Technology is the tail that wags the dog
        3. Boutiques will flourish and this will accelerate, millenials want to be entrepreneurs with small companies
        4. Integrators are going to emerge, often get interpretation in silos but that will become an exception, agencies may be protective of their data but integrators will put data sources together and have greater insights
        5. Scale becomes a liability, scale prevents being nimble
        6. Quantified self, measures emotions and other parameters, body becomes a source of data, don’t ask people what they did, just ask their devices
        7. Artificial intelligence is going to take over, follow ray kurzwell, human intelligence is always required, but what do we use human intelligence for
        8. I have the answer, what is your question
        9. RIP briefs, dynamic research doesn’t work like this
        10. Insights in hours and not days or weeks, this will be the norm [but this will only work if the analyst already knows the business inside and out]
        • Are we ready mentally and from the skills perspective, do we have the guts to make a difference, cane we do it before it is done to use
        • If you don’t have a seat at the table, you are on the menu. It is never the research technique.
        • Change or be changed.
        • Paragon – coming together end of this month, more joining, unique position to collect data without being overwhelming – http://www.paragonpartnerships.com
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