TradeBriefs Editorial From the Editor's Desk

Status as a Service: How Social Networks work!
Why do some social networks take off, while other seemingly better ones fall by the wayside? Why do social networks tend to fade in popularity after a certain scale? These and other highly relevant questions about social media are answered and demystified in this in-depth post by Eugene Wei. Grab a cup of coffee and dive in! Here's a sneak peek into why social networks tend to fade.

Let's begin with two principles:
People are status-seeking monkeys
People seek out the most efficient path to maximizing social capital

It's not that the existence of old social capital dooms a social network to inevitable stagnation, but a social network should continue to prioritize distribution for the best content, whatever the definition of quality, regardless of the vintage of user producing it. Otherwise a form of social capital inequality sets in, and in the virtual world, where exit costs are much lower than in the real world, new users can easily leave for a new network where their work is more properly rewarded and where status mobility is higher.

The same way many social networks track keystone metrics like time to X followers, they should track the ROI on posts for new users. It's likely a leading metric that governs retention or churn. It's useful as an investor, or even as a curious onlooker to test a social network by posting varied content from test accounts to gauge the efficiency and fairness of the distribution algorithm.

Whatever the mechanisms, social networks must devote a lot of resources to market making between content and the right audience for that content so that users feel sufficient return on their work. Distribution is king, even when, or especially when it allocates social capital.

Continued here

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TradeBriefs Editorial From the Editor's Desk

Here's How Google Trains World-Class Managers (Using A Bit of Data Science Helps)
Google is known for having some of the best managers in the world. Ever wonder how they train them? Let’s take a look at Project Oxygen and how its findings helped Google's managers gain such a stellar reputation.


What is Project Oxygen? Project Oxygen was a research study at Google that had relatively inauspicious beginnings. Developers at the company had long complained about bad management stifling innovation, so Google's People Innovation Lab decided to conduct an experiment: Its principals hired statisticians to evaluate the differences between high- and low-rated managers. Included in that analysis was data from past performance appraisals, employee surveys, and interviews.

Some observers assumed that the Project Oxygen analysis would prove that manager quality does not impact individual team members' performances. Others thought it would impact individual performance. Unsurprisingly, the latter camp was right.

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TradeBriefs Editorial From the Editor's Desk

I Started Letting My Children Get Bored. Then, Something Amazing Happened.
As a proud dad to two young children, I love my kids.

Most of the time.

But there's a specific set of circumstances that proves especially challenging for my wife and I: going out to eat with friends--who don't have kids.

Whenever we'd head out to a restaurant, it was almost impossible to have a conversation. Basically because after a few minutes, we were always faced with the same complaint: "I'm bored."

So, like many other parents I know, we'd resort to what we knew would keep them occupied and give us the best opportunity at salvaging the evening: We handed over the iPhone.

I always felt a little guilty doing it, like I was cheating. I'd even defend my actions to my friends, saying something like: "It's the only way we'll get to talk."

Of course, it only started with these dinner outings. Once my children realized that there was the potential for instant entertainment, they started asking for the phone (or tablet) more and more.

At the doctor's office:

"I'm bored. Can I watch a cartoon?"

Long car trips:

"I'm bored. Can I play a video game?"

Waiting in line, anywhere:

"I'm bored. Can you give me something to do?"

Many times I gave in...but deep down, I knew it couldn't be good.

Then, about a month ago, I read this great New York Times article by Pamela Paul: Let Children Get Bored Again.

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