Geekskooling

What happens when you put a bunch of geeks, passionate about computer programming along with two guys, one who has been programming since even before we were born, and another who calls himself a marketing guy but is as excited as a kid in a candy shop when he sees code… Geekskool is born. 

At Geekskool learning takes place very naturally, you pick up one language and you read good material on it. When you get stuck you just ask around, one of the students might help you figure it out. Else the mentors figure it out with you. There is emphasis to code as much as you learn theory. 

I did a project to build a telnet + ftp + smtp client in python using sockets. Got introduced to a whole new area of programming, the one that the internet depends on – socket programming, i also gave a talk on it in class. (btw everyone is encouraged to give a talk on their projects)

It helps in two things

  1. Sharing the learning to other folks who are unaware of the field of programming
  2. Building communication and presentation skill

We also have some amazing people/programmers come and talk to us couple of times a week. Every time this happens we get a whole new perspective on programming.

Geekskoolers are a cool bunch of people by the way, from varied backgrounds like Cinematography, research scholars, Sys admins etc

We guys hang out too.. movies, meetups , conferences,

community clean ups and even party together. 

Data Sciences: Predicting & Preventing Contagious Diseases

 

predictive

One of the big medical challenges of recent times is, how do we predict and prevent a contagious disease. With multi-fold increase in technology computing power and practices Data Sciences can actually help

There are two parts to this answer

1. Predicting
This primarily involves building clean mathematical models.
They take into consideration –

Data related to all historical occurrences of such a disease.
Data of that specific outbreak

However modelling at an early stage of an outbreak or a new variant of a disease is quiet a challenge as the sample sizes are very low.

The transmissibility index (R-0) – number of new persons that would get infected by an already infected person before he recovers or dies.

Models are built around predicting this value. The lower the value the less contagious the disease.

In USA
Ebola ran around R-0 = 2 where as
measles at about R-0 =12

However R-0 should not be taken as an exponential multiplier. This is only a part of the model. The effect of R-0 is dynamic in nature and it is highly dependent on the population it is active in.

This is where SIR aspect comes in to define the population.
S – Susceptible Population
I – Infected Population
R – Recovered Population

Differential equations that determine the rate of change of these variables in a dynamic population along with the R-0 variable defines your entire model.

Ex – If you have an almost zero infected or recovered populations and a hih population of susceptibles, you can expect an R-0 value to mean something like exponential, but as the number of susceptible individuals declines, the overall change in the rate of infections declines as well.
2. Prevention

This is more of reactive prevention strategy and it is an Operational Resource management one.

If the R-0 can be calculated at all the areas/populations that the disease is spreading to greater efforts can be concentrated around curbing measures in these areas.

Work with the medics in identifying the best means for Isolation and Immunization.

Use Optimization techniques to manage the existing resources in the most efficient possible way. This will go a long way in fighting such diseases in backward and poorly aided countries.

Digital Marketing – 2015 Predictions for the year

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In the age of rapid development, ever evolving technologies and booming business models the field of Digital Marketing has become a hot bed for start ups and freelancers alike. Customers expect to access and consume information across platforms, apps and devices and in order for brands to “be the best answer” and hence the need to create a common brand experience across different channels of engagement will be the focus area for Digital marketing.

Some of the trends observed of late –

  1. With 1.3 billion shipments in 2014, smartphone penetration is growing rapidly due to affordable cost of electronics
  2. There is a higher positive User Experience with Native Apps than hybrid or web apps
  3. Seeing both traditional and new business moving online, their digital marketing efforts have flooded inboxes now more than ever

Innovative strategies are the need of the hour to get recognized on large play field. Here are some of my predictions for the year ahead

1.Growth of Content Marketing

Content marketing efforts will continue to grow with emphasis towards blogs and high quality content than email campaigns. Instead of relying on tested solutions, companies will pay more attention to customer experience and create original content that is engaging leaving them with a natural experience than that of a corporate announcement.

2. Mobile Growth

The importance of mobile will grow in each and every aspect of business, online marketing included. People use mobile devices all day long and in various contexts, allowing marketers to target them in a longer stretch of time and during different phases of the day – at work, during rest or play. It might even tip desktop usage, but the clear thing is spending on mobile ads will grow.

3. Big Data and Analytics

People use various websites and leave a whole wealth of data on the web Facebook and Twitter can act as valuable repositories of data about their audience. Access to this information will allow marketers to target niche audience sizes and the use targeted advertising more efficiently than ever. Also, In order to stay effective, online marketing strategies should immediately respond to the preferences and behaviors of their targeted audiences and follow consumers in their daily use of the web. This is where Real time web analytics comes into play. Big Data clusters supported by Hadoop framework will be able to effectively crunch heaps of user data (sourced by both in house and third party vendors) and run real time event based personalized recommendations to customers.

However for companies that cannot afford Big data, there will still be contined growth in web analytics tools and services. Google Analytics most popular as a free, but very powerful service which can tell businesses the number of users, their source and their journeys through the site, their limitation is that most data is shown in aggregate for different segments. They’re not designed for understanding individual user behaviour, repeat behaviour by groups of customers (e.g. cohort, RFM and lifetime value analysis) or behaviour across devices (although Google’s latest Universal analytics makes progress in this area). These tools, which have been available for several years now offer a user-based, value-based focus which Google has been applying.

Kissmetrics,Mixpanel (Mobile focus plus web),Chartbeat (Publisher focus),Ecommera (Ecommerce)

4 Creativity

While technology is advancing at such a rapid rate, can the same be said for our creativity? Especially when it comes to marketing and advertising? I think the short answer is yes; as the number and types of media increase, marketers, digital gurus and advertisers are finding more inventive (and innovative) ways of conveying messages and engaging in two-way communications. Personalized content which ties back to my previous point on Big data, is most definitely a case in point. Yes, it can be personal, targeted and more appealing to customers, but ultimately it is about cutting through the clutter and getting messages to stand out. It also means that brands can take advantage of having this communication heard and engaged with to put some of their own personality into it and promote their brand.

5 More Videos Than Ever

During the last few years, the use of videos for marketing purposes has been steadily growing. Videos are perfect to show how a service or product works in such a way that is impossible to achieve with text or images only. This trend s most likely to continue into 2015, when more and more companies will start creating the so-called ‘explainer videos’ and giving them a prominent role in the user experience tactics.

Due to the increase in marketing noise, marketers will need to find a medium that will help their message to stand out from the crowd and that could be visual storytelling. Perfect for engaging and nurturing engaged consumer communities, visual storytelling will be employed to communicate the brand’s philosophy and aesthetics. Together with increased use of videos, visual stories crafted for marketing purposes will be able to spark the movement and inspire emotions, sending a clear message about the brand to its consumer communities and helping to define it against the surrounding surge of noise.

The convergence of marketing, public relations and advertising will accelerate even faster in 2015 and beyond as digital marketing agencies and internal corporate organizations fulfill each of those roles. Content creation, search optimization and social media will be less siloed as specific departments and treated more like skills that exist across the organization. Optimization will move beyond individual tactics and focus more on overall customer experience across channels. Marketing is everybody’s job and more companies will leverage internal resources through social business and collaboration platforms as well as participation marketing with their community to integrate scaled content creation and social media engagement.