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David Loshin

Welcome to my BeyeNETWORK Blog. This is going to be the place for us to exchange thoughts, ideas and opinions on all aspects of the information quality and data integration world. I intend this to be a forum for discussing changes in the industry, as well as how external forces influence the way we treat our information asset. The value of the blog will be greatly enhanced by your participation! I intend to introduce controversial topics here, and I fully expect that reader input will "spice it up." Here we will share ideas, vendor and client updates, problems, questions and, most importantly, your reactions. So keep coming back each week to see what is new on our Blog!

About the author >

David is the President of Knowledge Integrity, Inc., a consulting and development company focusing on customized information management solutions including information quality solutions consulting, information quality training and business rules solutions. Loshin is the author of The Practitioner's Guide to Data Quality Improvement, Master Data Management, Enterprise Knowledge Management: The Data Quality Approach and Business Intelligence: The Savvy Manager's Guide. He is a frequent speaker on maximizing the value of information. David can be reached at or at (301) 754-6350.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in David's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

Recently in Just for fun Category

I just got a phone call from a telemarketer telling me that my company had a free listing on the "yellow pages on the internet." I told this person that I thought this was kind of a silly idea, and she said, "you know, you go to google and do a search to come up with the listing." I replied, "of course, anyone can go to google and find the company web site, so what do I need a yellow pages listing for?"

By the way, for those of you youngsters: the "yellow pages" used to be a book with many really thin pages, with telephone and address listings sorted by industry category. When someone had a specific need, he or she would take the book off the shelf, leaf through the pages trying to figure out what category their need fit into, and scan down the listings to find an appropriate match. Lots of advertisements on the nearby pages might have helped in that search also. Today those books are still occasionally distributed to your home, and are largely deployed as door stops, contributions to the municipal paper recycling effort, or (in a pinch), toilet paper. I have seen many deployed as soggy rotting piles at the end of a driveway, although I am not sure of that approach's specific utility.

Web pages with telephone numbers, though, can come in any color, and really clever ones might allow you to direclty connect to a provider directly through instant messaging or IP telephony.

Posted October 24, 2008 7:25 AM
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I couldn't resist: Is disgraced super advocate governor Eliot Spitzer somehow related to super sailor Popeye?

Two interesting aspects of the Spitzer situation. First, his tactics at using information to track down targets for prosection as NY State Attorney General are prime exmaples of exploiting business intelligence to identify patterns of misbehavior. Second, one would think that, knowing the tactics to be used to seek out suspicious activity, would have hesitated to expose himself to discovery via the same tactics.

Posted March 11, 2008 2:33 PM
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Took the kids to Luray Caverns in the Shenandoah region of Virgnia. Check this out:


This is an organ that makes music by rubber mallets tapping on stalactites. Definitely worth a visit.

Posted August 27, 2007 8:52 AM
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Blackjack is a fascinating game, a steadfast mainstay of the gaming industry, and is also the subject of what might be called "duelling analytics." The seminal discourse, Thorp's "Beat the Dealer," explained how computer simulation provided a means for establishing a basic strategy for playing blackjack to significantly reduce the casino's edge and enable an (almost) level playing field for the player.

However, in the intervening years, the gaming industry has taken evasive action, with institution of rules that limit the ability to exploit the basic strategy - increasing the number of decks in play, modifying the payouts, only dealing out 50% of the cards in play, etc. These innovations are likely the result of the casinos' own analytics - determining how slight variations to the rule sets adjusts the casino edge, then implementing those rules.

Of course, some advanced knowledge in statistics and probably can tip the edge back to the players, as long as they tread carefully. For example, take a look at Mezrich's book on the MIT blackjack team.

Analytics is key for a game like blackjack, in whcih the rules are clearly defined, dealer actions are prescripted, and except for the few actions of placing a bet or collecting your winnings, is largely automatic. However, poker, while being another popular casino attraction, is considered more of a game of skill, not luck, and while analysis does provide insight into how to play certain dealt hands, the skill lies in the abilitiy of the player to transform limited information into decisive action. Watching poker tournaments on TV, which are enhanced by showing the viewer each player's hands, demonstrates how thought processes drive the activity. So while analysis is important, success is a combination of information processing and operational intelligence.

So, here is the question: can we abstract the difference between blackjack analytics and poker analytics and apply these within a business intelligence program?

Posted September 20, 2006 11:21 AM
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I often am tempted to read advice books and other related material that purports to provide simple, easy steps to success within some realm or another. Each time I do, I am both surprised at how straightforward success should be, as well as how easy it is to collect simplistic assertions into operational philosophy. If there are lists of rules for success in any arena, then there must be rules for being successful in presenting lists of rules. Here is what I think they are...

Rule #1: Do not exceed seven rules. Seven is a good number because most people can juggle seven ideas in their heads without too much mental calisthenics. If you are confident in your audience, you may go up to eight rules, but you might mask the eighth rule by just calling it a 1/2 rule, providing a total of 7 1/2 rules. Certainly don't provide fewer than five rules, or else your audience may feel short-changed. Six is doable, but odd numbers resonate more than even numbers, so your best bet is to stick with seven.

Rule #2: Provide a key failure event that justifies your expertise. Without having hit rock-bottom, you do not have the "chops" that demonstrate why your rules for success lead to success. Therefore, you must be able to demonstrate that the problem from which you have derived your success philosophy is identical in concept to your audience's, but is of much greater magnitude than any of your soon-to-be followers'. Make sure that your failure event not only affects you personally, but also causes grief to some larger collective (family, friends, company, etc.).

Rule #3: State your rules in kindergarten language. The concept that the secrets to success can be summarized in a list of rules presumes that your audience is looking for a solution that can be implemented just by following a series of simple instructions. The easier you make the rules sound, the more effective you will be at converting followers.

Rule #4: Secure a high-profile champion. The higher the profile, the better. By associating with a person in a position of authority, you implicitly demonstrate their support, even if they never have explicitly provided it. (see: scientology)

Rule #5: Finesse Challenging Questions. Invariably, someone may ask you why you are peddling your ideas in books, CDs, DVDs, courses, and workshops, instead of spending your time actually practicing what you are preaching. The best approach to this question is to promote your goodwill and beneficence in providing this life-altering advice to as many people as possible (who can afford the collateral material).

Rule #6: Include lots of stories. People are bored by formal processes and are afraid of spending time doing hard work to achieve their goals. Alternatively, people love to listen to stories and may be encouraged by the suggestion that the experience of others may directly provide them with positive impact. These stories may be enhanced to a greater degree when you substitute animals (especially cute, furry ones) as the protagonists in your tales as you demonstrate your kindergarten principles via anthropomorphization. (see: Aesop)

Rule #7: Exploit Licensing Potential. Once your rules have taken off, be sure to have an array of additional products available to your followers. First of all, they will have formed into their own community, and need insignias, etc. to recognize each other in alternate venues (i.e., ones you don't get paid for). Second, possible issues regarding failures need to be met with questions as to whether the program is being carried out to the letter of the law; missing some of the accompanying items may be contributing to the failure...

Rule #7 1/2: Take yourself very seriously. If you don't, how can you expect others to?

Posted April 1, 2006 1:03 AM
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