Professor Big Data

The Programmatic Mind recently featured an interview with NYU Stern Professor and MS in Business Analytics Faculty Member, Anindya Ghose (“Professor Big Data”). Professor Ghose spoke with Ben Plomion, VP of Marketing at Chango, to discuss use of data and consumer preference in the age of digital advertising.

Read the full article here: Professor Big Data

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Anindya Ghose to Co-Chair AIG-NYU $5.5 Million Collaborative Research Initiative

The following is a news item from NYU’s Center for Data Science:

Anindya Ghose, NYU Professor of Information, Operations and Management Sciences and Professor of Marketing, is co-Director of the Center for Business Analytics, a Daniel P. Paduano Fellow of Business Ethics, and the Robert L. & Dale Atkins Rosen Faculty Fellow, all at NYU’s Stern School of Business.

Additionally, Dr. Ghose is one of two co-chairs of the recently-created AIG-NYU Partnership on Innovation for Global Resilience. He represents NYU, while Dr. Siddhartha Dalal is the co-chair from AIG. Both lead the Partnership’s Advisory Committee, which will select for funding those projects proposed by NYU faculty which demonstrate the potential to have a transformational impact on the world at large. Funded by AIG, the $5.5 million initiative will award $1.1 million in grants annually for five years.

Dr. Ghose’s research, which analyzes the economic consequences of the Internet on industries and markets, has received numerous awards and grants, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2007, a $2.12 million NSF grant in 2009, a $2.9 million grant from the NSF’s IGERT program in 2010 and five awards from Google and Microsoft.

Before joining NYU Stern, Dr. Ghose held positions at GlaxoSmithKline, Hewlett-Packard and IBM. He received his doctoral and master’s degrees in Information Systems from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.B.A. in Finance, Marketing & Systems from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, and a B. Tech (with honors) in Electronics & Instrumentation Engineering from the Regional Engineering College (NIT), Jalandhar, India.

Professor Ghose recently met with reporter ML Ball to discuss his current research, the AIG-NYU Partnership and his love of the Internet.

What brought you from India to America, and when?

I came here in the year 2000. Before that, I was working for IBM in a consulting group, and before that, I was with HCL-Hewlett-Packard. So I’ve always loved IT.

Coming out of business school after my M.B.A., I wanted a job in IT, not so much in programming but in consulting or analytics, that sort of space. I enjoyed the first couple of years in industry but then I started exploring other professions where I would have the independence to choose my projects, have flexibility with respect to time, and be able to work on deep intellectual questions that may have bigger ramifications than what I was doing at the time. So all of that pointed to academics. To be in a good university in the US, you have to go through the rigors of a Ph.D. program, so I got my doctorate from Carnegie Mellon in 2000 and then came here to NYU in 2004, ten years ago.

What made you choose NYU?

NYU’s reputation is stellar, especially in the business school space, and in the two areas I work in, marketing and IT, it is pretty much considered at the very top, if not the best. And New York was a big draw. I grew up in big cities for the most part, Bombay and Delhi and Calcutta. Plus, I knew some of the people. The synergy was quite explicit and I realized this was the place where I would be able to be most successful.

What interests you most about data science?

When I started doing my Ph.D., the one area that really fascinated me, and still fascinates me to no end, is the Internet. I have always been totally enamored by new phenomena that are cropping up on the Internet because of its underlying infrastructure: new business models, new forms of communication, new forms of collaboration. And every new phenomenon brings with it a swath of fascinating new data.

I’ve always tried to look for the next frontier. Today, “topic X” is the most cutting-edge recent phenomena, so I want to work on that. But I also want to work on, and anticipate, what would be the most cutting-edge thing in the next two years. I need to start working on that today because getting access to data and negotiating data with companies takes time, and if I wait until everybody recognizes something as “hot,” I might be behind the curve.

Have you been able to accurately anticipate trends?

I would have to say yes. A lot of people can see what’s coming. But it’s not just important to see it coming, you also should find it interesting. And somehow or other, I have not only been able to predict what was coming but also found it interesting enough to work on it, to collaborate with companies to get access to data and run field experiments with them.

What have your research predictions led to?

For business school academics, the single most important criteria in research accomplishments are journal publications. Specifically, premier journal publications that are rated top tier by every university in the world. So that’s our target. We also present at conferences, but those take a second seat.

Second in importance would be recognition, in the form of prestigious awards or grants, from NSF and the corporate world. My research has been funded extensively by Google and Microsoft, as well as by many other companies in industry.

I think what really motivates me increasingly these days is to work on a problem that is very real, where I can take the findings from my research and apply them in the companies that gave me the data in the first place.

Have your research results been applied to industry, affecting business outcomes?

Yes, that has happened extensively in the last four to five years. My work takes me overseas a lot, particularly to China and South Korea. My most recent work has been in the mobile computing space, in which China and Korea tend to be like crystal balls for the rest of the world. What happens over there today will happen in the U.S. about a year or two from now, and in Europe, a couple of years from now.

One of the most recent projects I’ve done where the research results were then directly applied was exploring only-channel symmetries in the world of digital advertising in South Korea. We were studying whether, when people get exposed to an advertisement by a brand in one channel, then also get exposed to the same ad or the same brand in a different channel, that increases the propensity to buy the product. Or does it actually reduce it because of the annoyance effect?

We learned that if people are shown an ad in a different format in a different channel, even though it’s the same message, our brains tend to process it differently, so we don’t face that wear-out effect. Rather, there is a reinforcement effect in our mind which actually increases our propensity to buy. This is something that companies in South Korea asked me to investigate. They wanted to know if there are synergies in the first place, and if so, can they be measured. So we ran a number of randomized field experiments to causally ascertain the synergies. We then shared our findings with the companies, which got very excited. They executed our study themselves and saw similar results.

Another study I did recently was with companies in Germany which were measuring the effectiveness of mobile coupons. You can now target people with real-time coupons based on their location. For instance, as I’m walking past the shopping mall with an iPhone, stores can sense that I’m walking past them and they can send me a coupon. Some firms are beginning to do this in the US; they are not yet as sophisticated as the folks in Korea or China but it’s only a matter of time.

In the German study, we looked at the effect on location on smartphone coupon redemption. We then went back to the companies and told them how they should run their experiments and change their prices. They did, and saw a lift in their redemption rates. So you can meaningfully design studies to not only get good research out of them but to also have an impact on industry.

Can you describe the AIG-NYU Partnership and your role in it.

I am the Chair from NYU, and Siddartha Dalal is the Chair from AIG. Obviously, AIG has been a leader in the insurance space for a number of years, but recently, they have set up a data science team. In the process, they have become very excited about collaborating with academics, especially asking top universities to help their own science team jointly figure out answers to problems of interest to them.

As they talked with NYU, they started plotting the idea of joint research collaborations on transformative projects that would be of interest to professors at NYU and the data science team at AIG. During those discussions, we determined that this would be a long term, five-year collaboration.

The initial discussions took place with Dr. Paul Horn, Senior Vice Provost for Research here at NYU. He really championed the whole thing and formed the steering committee across NYU disciplines. He also chose me to be the Chair from NYU; I’m very flattered and honored that I was chosen. I’m excited to work with a stellar group of advisory committee members, the Who’s Who of NYU. On the AIG-NYU team, we have nine people from NYU and a similar number from AIG. It’s been very enlightening to figure out how we can actually work on problems of direct relevance and applicability with a company like AIG. Right now, we’re in the process of requesting proposals, from NYU faculty but also advisory members. Soon, we will meet together and look at the proposals which have been submitted, and then hopefully select the majority of them.

I anticipate there will be a strong response to our call for proposals; the deadline is April 11th. There is already so much buzz about this, as it’s being circulated widely across NYU, and I would love to see a lot of people being funded.

The AIG funding is for five years. Will some of the projects last longer?

Yes, certainly. Some projects might show meaningful results in two years, but others might take three to five years, some maybe even more. So this is a long-term process. I won’t be surprised if after five years, AIG is happy with what we have accomplished and asks us to renew for another five years.

My plan is, after a few months, to organize a workshop/symposium, inviting those faculty whose proposals have been selected to present their most current state of research that has come out of the funding. We would probably do that twice a year; research projects take a long time, and twice a year would give us a sense of where they are in the early stages and where, subsequently, they will be a year from now.

The second step involves AIG figuring out which of those funded projects can be applied directly in their companies. Can they be monetized? Can the ideas be productized? Can they incorporate them into their current data science initiative?

What’s the benefit of the partnership to NYU?

This program is unprecedented. NYU has never had this sort of project, of this scale and scope: five million dollars over five years. It’s a big deal. Imagine the number of faculty whose research can be funded out of this. The National Science Foundation has dramatically cut down on funding for faculty, meaning that federal research funds are slowing down considerably.

Because of this, there are many, many faculty to whom even a small-size grant would make a huge difference for the potential of completing their research. That is why I personally would like to make this as inclusive as possible, rather than making it overly selective.

In essence, the fascinating research you can do with this data is limited only by your imagination. For us geeks, this is amazing. For me, it applies directly to the new science of cities, which is something I’m currently working on. I am very interested in figuring out how people in cities live. When do they wake up? When are they the most energetic? When do they party? We can now measure this because of available technologies, like smartphones. Every time your phone is with you, it’s streaming out a ton of data about where you are, what you’re doing. So by combining that with available technology data, you can literally map out and visualize how a city breathes, when it is most alive. That’s the kind of research I’d like to be doing in the next few years.

Learn more here.

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Arun Sundararajan on the Crowdfunding Market

The following is an excerpt from Bloomberg BusinessWeek article titled, “Crowdfunding Lures Investors Seeking Stock Over Goggles.”


Newer crowdfunding sites are giving investors the chance to earn something else: money. CircleUp Network Inc. offers equity in private companies, while Funding Circle Ltd. lets investors buy company debt. College graduates can turn to Social Finance Inc. to refinance loans with help from alumni.

The crowdfunding market is taking off, altering how capital gets deployed, as projects, companies and individuals flock to the Web for fundraising instead of tapping banks and big financial firms. Regulators are hopping on board — at a measured pace — loosening restrictions that to date have limited how companies raise money and who can be an investor.

“It’s going to be a big market and it’s going to change how a lot of small businesses finance themselves,” said Arun Sundararajan, a professor at New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

In all, online crowdfunding jumped 89 percent to $5.1 billion last year, according to Massolution, a research firm. The appeal goes well beyond the U.S. In developing markets, where smartphones and high-speed Internet are gaining rapid adoption, crowdfunding may attract as much as $96 billion a year by 2025, with China representing about half that amount, according to a 2013 report from the World Bank.

Read the entire article here.

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Faculty Publication: Anindya Ghose on Estimating Demand for Mobile Applications in the New Economy

The following is an abstract of a paper written by NYU Stern Professor Anindya Ghose and CityUHK Professor Sang Pil Han entitled: “Estimating Demand for Mobile Applications in the New Economy” forthcoming in Management Science. 

“In 2013, the global mobile apaghosep market was estimated at over US $50 billion and is expected to grow to $150 billion in the next 2 years. In this paper, we build a structural econometric model to quantify the vibrant platform competition between mobile (smartphone and tablet) apps on the Apple iOS and Google Android platforms and estimate consumer preferences towards different mobile app characteristics. We find that app demand increases with the in-app purchase option wherein a user can complete transactions within the app. On the contrary, app demand decreases with the in-app advertisement option where consumers are shown ads while they are engaging with the app. The direct effect on app revenue from the inclusion of an in-app purchase and in-app advertisement option is equivalent to offering a 28 percent price discount and increasing price by 8 percent, respectively. We also find that a price discount strategy results in a greater increase of app demand in Google Play compared to Apple App Store, and app developers can maximize their revenue by providing 50% discount on their paid apps. Using the estimated demand function, we find that mobile apps have enhanced consumer surplus by approximately $33.6 billion annually in the US, and discuss various implications for mobile marketing analytics, app pricing and app design strategies.”

Download the paper here.

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Anindya Ghose on Bloomberg TV and Time Magazine: Kickstarter Backlash Over Oculus

NYU Stern Co-Director of the Center for Business Analytics and Professor Anindya Ghose discusses the future of crowdsourcing on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.”
anindya bloomberg

Read more about this topic in Time Magazine’s interview with Anindya Ghose: When Crowdfunding Goes Corporate: Kickstarter Backers Vent Over Facebook’s Oculus Buy

Professor Ghose is also quoted on this topic in the National Review Online’s article: “The Lessons of Oculus, or Why We Need Capitalism for the Masses.”

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JP Eggers on Bloomberg TV: What Took So Long for Office to Get on the iPad?

NYU Stern Professor of Management J.P. Eggers discusses his outlook for Microsoft retail on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg Surveillance.”


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Missed it? Watch the Network Analytics Webinar with Prof. Arun Sundararajan

The webinar with Professor Arun Sundararajan is now available to watch on the IIBA’s website. 


“Network Analytics: Deriving Value from Social Data”

Social media and mobile commerce create massive connected data sets that contain a wealth of business and social insights. In this webinar, Prof Sundararajan will translate cutting-edge network science research into actionable analytics strategies for dealing with big data that is networked, text-intensive and unstructured, with applications from viral marketing, A/B testing and media planning.

The Presenter: Arun Sundararajan is Professor of Information, Operations and Management Sciences at NYU Stern. His research focuses on digital economics and how information technologies transform business and society. He also studies how the emergence of digital institutions facilitates economic and political development. He is published in several journals and has given more than 200 presentations internationally.

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An Interview with Anindya Ghose: Data+Consumer Preference = Future of Marketing?

The following is an excerpt from an interview with NYU Stern Professor Anindya Ghose and Ben Plomion, CMO of Chango posted on “Business2Community.”


Anindya Ghose spends a lot of time thinking about the intersection of digital marketing and economics. As a Professor of Information, Operations and Management Sciences and a Professor of Marketing at New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Anindya conducts numerous research projects that explore the impact of the Internet on markets transformed by its shared technology infrastructure, the economic value of social media, and the impact of digital and mobile marketing. Recently, Professor Ghose spoke with Ben Plomion, CMO of Chango, to discuss use of data and consumer preference in the age of digital advertising.

Ben: When it comes to digital advertising and marketing, you talk about the trade off between consumer privacy and marketer utility. What do you mean by that?

Anindya: Brands have a lot of data about consumers, which enables them to personalize their interactions with their audience. They can, based on what they know about the consumer, customize the product and price offered in interactions.

The tradeoff is that in order for this to be meaningful, consumers must actively or passively disclose substantial information about themselves to the brand. That’s a decision consumers must make.

Ben: What do you mean by “passively disclosing” information? How does a consumer passively disclose information?

Aninyda: Many retailers now have beacons that can recognize when a consumer with an iPhone or smartphone enters the store. Retailers can use that information to target the consumer with messages. Or a store can offer you free access to their WiFi, and if you accept, it will be a source of data about you. These are examples of passive disclosure. To prevent such disclosure, the consumer would need to shut down his or her phone completely, or disable its GPS.

The fact is, the devices we carry with us disclose information to marketers who are set up to retrieve it. This is happening already today.

Ben: Why do consumers want to disclose information about themselves to brands?

Anindya: Because they expect to get something valuable in return, specifically highly personalized interactions, which could be a price, product or customer service experience that’s specific to the consumer.

A lot of consumers – particularly Gen Y, Gen Z and to a certain extent Gen X – are quite open to marketing. They know that in order to use a free app, or to use a particular service, they’ll be exposed to ads. They accept this as a fact of life. But they want those ads to be relevant to them, and they’re willing to disclose information about themselves to ensure that happens.

Read the entire interview here.

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Vasant Dhar on Bloomberg TV: Is Technology Destroying Jobs?

NYU Stern Professor and Center for Business Analytics Co-Director Vasant Dhar was featured on Bloomberg TV recently discussing the impact of technology on the job market. Watch the interview below:

Vasant Bloomberg


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Anindya Ghose on Yahoo’s Move to the Local Search Market with Yelp

The following is an excerpt from the ECommerceTimes.

Yahoo and Yelp on Wedaghosenesday announced a new partnership to display Yelp ratings with Yahoo’s search results, a move designed to snag some market share from Yahoo’s larger search competitors.

Now, when someone uses Yahoo to search for a local business, that business’ Yelp rating will pop up in the right-hand panel of the search results. Users will see its star ratings, photos, user reviews and business information. Yahoo also will display the business’ hours, as well as links to directions and menus.

This is not Yelp’s first search partnership. It teamed with Microsoft about two years ago to enhance Bing’s local search, and it has joined forces with Apple to provide Siri with more local data. With 53 million customer-written reviews for local businesses such as restaurants, gyms and mechanics, Yelp said, it is well positioned to add local context to a Yahoo search.

Local Competition

As Yahoo struggles to compete with Google, local is the way to go, said Anindya Ghose, professor of IT and marketing at New York University and codirector of the Center for Business Analytics at NYU Stern. 

Local searches account for about 25 percent of Yahoo’s search traffic. If Yahoo can point searchers to ratings on an established review platform, it not only could win a few more loyal searchers, but also capitalize on local advertising.

“Yahoo’s partnership with Yelp unequivocally indicates that it wants to get a stronger foothold in the local search market,” Ghose told the E-Commerce Times. “It wants to make gains in the mobile space, too, which it can now monetize using geo-targeted advertising. More than 50 percent of search activities on mobile phones is now about local products and services.”

Read the entire article here. 

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