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Analytics at Home

In my house, my wife knows our children and their idiosyncrasies, what they like, what they don’t like, how each of our sons would react to a given circumstance a little better than what I do. I am not bad at it, but I am not as good as she is. This might be the case in many households, and what do you think is the reason for it? If you want to know the answer, please continue reading….

If you are the type that goes to a gym you may have heard of Planet Fitness. This is a gym that is taking over the US gymnasium market because of one simple reason. They charge their members only $10 a month and they provide world class fitness centers. How could a gymnasium stay in business by charging only $10 a month when it costs so much for running the facilities, capital costs on the equipment, staff salaries, plus advertisements and related marketing costs? The answer to it lies in what they found in their data analysis. We would elaborate more on it further down in this article.

What is Big Data? There are so many definitions out there in the market place, but let’s keep it simple and say it has to do with dealing with lots of data. Now what does a lot of data give us?

More data allows us to look at things differently, see new angles, and in general see better. It is like looking at a building in multiple angles to get a better feel of it. By looking at lots of data and different types of data, one hopes to find rare occurrences, find new associations, find new correlations and even causation. Can we access this data? Luckily the answer is yes, as we collect tons of data these days, which was not the case say about a decade ago. Now a days everything is “datafied” thanks to the smart society we are all moving towards.

A famous example is how a guy that buys diapers also buys beer. Correlation is not causation. In this example, the guy didn’t beer as it goes well with diapers, but data showed a hidden variable in this case, a crying baby at home.

In the case of Planet Fitness they found that only 20% of their members use the gym on a regular basis. Many members are content they have a membership, whether they visit the gym often or not is a different story.

In my house, my wife collects a lot of data on my children. She collects it unknowingly when she wakes them up for school, feeds them breakfast, argues with them when they bring their lunch bags in the evening half full, and in general raising them with a lot of care all these years. What we learn from this is that it all starts with the care you give to your customer, from which we get to observe them more and more – in other words, more data and multiple types of data on them, and thus learn what they really care about.


  1. admin

    Excellent analogies, relating to real life (Big) data scientists a.k.a mothers who collect, process & generate insights on-the-fly.

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