Aaron Sumner


SXSW 2009 Interactive Day Three Takeaways: Nate Silver Keynote Interview

I'm not a big statistics or measurement nerd, but like many others I became nigh obsessed with fivethirtyeight.com during last year's presidential campaign. It was a real tread to get to hear Nate Silver talk about the impetus behind the site and, in general, his view of things. It's funny how the Internet can make a celebrity out of people who are actually intelligent these days.

Just a few quick takeaways:

  1. fivethirtyeight.com was born out of frustration--news channels have a tendency to put their own spin on data, to focus on data that may be poorly conducted, poorly interpreted, or outright skewed. Nate saw a need to distill these data and present them in a plain English style. Takeaway: If you don't like something, or don't like that something doesn't exist, do something about it.
  2. "A poorly-executed objective study is worse than a well-executed subjective one."
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