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Pulse: The New Science of Harnessing Internet Buzz to Track Threats and Opportunities [Kindle Edition]

Douglas W. Hubbard
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The ultimate guide to mining the Internet for real-time assessment of trends and data

Showing how the Internet can be an incredible tool for businesses and others to measure trends in real time, Pulse describes tools for inexpensive and real time measurement methodologies businesses can start using right away. This timely book also puts this emerging science in perspective and explains how this new measurement instrument will profoundly change decision making in business and government.

  • Shows how the Internet can be used as an incredibly powerful measurement tool
  • Reveals how to mine the Internet to measure and forecast business progress
  • Written by leading expert in business analytics and performance management

Pulse reveals how the Internet is evolving into a tool for measuring and forecasting trends in society, the economy, public opinion and even public health and security. It is an absolutely essential book for every business leader to turn a powerful, underutilized tool to its complete potential.



Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

PULSE The New Science of Harnessing Internet Buzz to Track Threats and Opportunities

The Internet contains the largest repository of human knowledge, interests, and activities ever constructed. Yet this powerful tool is still vastly underutilized. Written by Douglas Hubbard—bestselling author of How to Measure Anything—Pulse shows you how to harness the explosive potential of the Internet and mobile devices to measure data and trends economically and in real time—vital information that traditionally costs millions of dollars and lags weeks and months behind the events being measured.

Featuring a complementary website (www.pulsethenewscience.com) rich with links, analysis, examples, and spreadsheets, Pulse uses real-world examples to illustrate how:

  • A Canadian epidemiologist tracking "flu symptoms" searches on Google is able to track flu outbreaks faster than Canadian health authorities. His success inspired Google's "Flu Trends" tool.

  • Tracking Twitter comments about upcoming movies could reliably predict box office success better than any other method.

  • The number of "unemployment" Google searches nationwide tracks very closely to Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment reports, which releases its data monthly after sampling 60,000 households while Google trends data is available weekly—and for free.

  • Tracking Twitter comments produces nearly the same results for consumer confidence and political polls as Gallup polls—except that Twitter results are real time and free.

By tapping into the digital footprints of two billion Internet users, executives can mine real-time data to fundamentally change how you make some of the most important decisions you face in business and government. Access real-time raw data and calibrate it against traditional methods to greatly improve your organization's trend forecasting, productivity, and bottom line. Learn how to track trends, threats, and opportunities.

Success in business may come down to who exploits the Pulse to its fullest potential.

From the Back Cover

Vastly larger than all the data collected by governments, businesses, and academics using traditional surveys, the Internet is evolving into a cutting-edge tool for measuring and forecasting trends in society, the economy, public opinion, and even public health and security. Yet the potential of this powerful new measurement instrument is still almost entirely untapped. Written by Douglas Hubbard—author of How to Measure Anything, the number-one selling business math book for three years running—Pulse shows how the buzz from two billion mobile device and Internet users can be harnessed to produce real-time data about major trends faster, better, and cheaper than traditional polls and government reports.

Praise for Pulse: The New Science of Harnessing Internet Buzz to Track Threats and Opportunities

"In this well-written and entertaining book, Douglas Hubbard takes us on a fascinating journey and describes the work of the pioneers in this new science. He shows that the ideas, practical applications, and methodological approaches of this emerging field, often pioneered in the health sciences, far transcends applications in public health and public policy, and is a must-read for virtually every researcher, manager, and decision-maker who requires real-time data for forecasting and situational awareness."—Gunther Eysenbach, MD, MPH, Director of the Consumer Health and Public Health Informatics Lab, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada, and Associate Professor, University of Toronto

"Hitting the 'Like' button on someone's Facebook status, downloading a Lady Gaga song on iTunes, or Googling the game 'Angry Birds' are no longer simple gestures of preference. As Hubbard shows, these actions are your contribution to megatrends about what society is thinking now and what it might need, want, or fear in the future."—Ricardo Valerdi, PhD Research Associate, Engineering Systems Division, MIT

"Hubbard is one of the first to show us how the vast powers of the Internet can be harnessed to let the data speak to us in producing timely and reliable economic and financial forecasts. This is no small feat, and readers will be rewarded with many more and highly practical insights."—Daniel Hofmann, Group Chief Economist, Zurich Financial Services

"Doug Hubbard has written the first comprehensive book about the social data revolution and its implications for macrotrends and decision-making. Combining research from disparate fields and a variety of data sources, Hubbard creates an insightful and compelling vision of how social data will impact individuals, companies, and society."—Andreas Weigend, PhD, Director of Social Data Lab, Lecturer, former chief scientist, Amazon.com


Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeping Pace With The Speed of Light April 22, 2011
By D. Hall
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I suppose I'm the pragmatist in the group, who mostly enjoys reading when it provides meaningful and measurable results to what I do in my life and work. Doug Hubbard consistently provides practical science in everything he writes; and, in "Pulse: The New Science of Harnessing Internet Buzz to Track Threats and Opportunities" he helps me stay ahead of the incoming wave far enough to make the difference.

Doug Hubbard has continued where he has left off with his other works, specifically "How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business", and has proven the information needed to make the critical, fast-paced, informed descisions for today is available online and can be quickly interpreted. For folks like me, he walks through the process of breaking down the cultural and conceptual obstacles that stands in the way and gives step-by-step advice on how to implement the Pulse as part of a Decision-Making process. His other best-selling books are 5 stars (user-reviewed!) in difficult and critical business categories; Pulse will join that elite group.

I purchased the Kindle version for my iPad so that I could bookmark, highlight and have it close by as a reference tool. As a Searchologist, I recommend it highly.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MOVE OVER FAITH POPCORN! April 18, 2011
Format:Hardcover
First came the high-speed growth of the Internet. Then the even faster growth of social networking sites.

Is it any wonder that this level of success would leave clues? In this case, what is left behind is the sheer magnitude of data generated by technology users.

In "Pulse: The New Science of Harnessing Internet Buzz to Track Threats and Opportunities", Douglas Hubbard shows how our daily tweeting, "friending" and even searching on Google provides data that accurately shows trends long before any surveys have been taken, calculated and made public. While each of us may blog, post in Facebook, buy from Ebay and do so for any number of different reasons, the sheer magnitude of data from all users consistently shows trends and outcomes as accurately as surveys, opinion polls and other traditional research that has been relied on for years.

Hubbard opens with a clear definition of what Pulse is and how it has evolved from more traditional, historical methods of data gathering. More fascinating though, are the chapters describing how it works. Many examples in the book walk us through how our tweets, blogs, wall posts, video watching and so on, all contribute to the big picture. In Part ll, Hubbard breaks down the various areas that make up our "digital footprint" where "surf, friend, say, go, buy, play" are elaborated on.

My favorite parts of "Pulse" are the final chapters that discusses how this tool could be used in the future. Where historically, we have been more accustomed to static, two-dimensional facts and figures gathered months, or even years ago, we have now moved into gathering up-to-the-minute data that easily translates into future trends and predictions.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another revolution is near... April 18, 2011
Format:Hardcover
Hubbard once again presents fascinating revelations based on meticulously
researched scientific sources. This time it is the "Social Data Revolution"
which will fundamentally change how social science is done and how leaders
and even the average citizen will track what is going on in the world.

Pulse illustrates how a recent flurry of research has shown that by analyzing
millions of data points available to anyone we can track and predict a range
of social phenomenon. Trends that used to be visible only weeks or even
years after they occur are now available almost immediately and perhaps even
more accurately. Hubbard's analytical thinking leads us to see how
harnessing such events as the relatively recent explosion in social media
and the vast amount of data generated by it can be leveraged for practical
decisions. For the cost of the book and the investment of time to read it,
business executives could easily begin to make positive dynamic decisions,
based on real-time data, to vault their companies to the forefront of their
respective fields.

As with his previous publications, Hubbard has arranged this book in an
intuitive fashion. He explains his methodology and provides the facts that
underpin his findings. Any business leader not using the predictive power of
the Internet will be left behind in what may be the biggest revolution in
business, society and social science since the start of the Internet itself.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pulse delivers on "New Science" revelation May 10, 2011
Format:Hardcover
I would assume that for most people, reading about applied statistical analysis and theory would be unbearably boring and mundane. For those individuals, I would recommend Pulse, Hubbard's latest contribution to the world of Applied Information Economics. And I must say that it is a damn good one.

The seemingly simplistic idea behind Pulse is to be able to accurately predict events in real-time, almost as they are unfolding. It's a concept that most of the "established" statistical world may find a bit radical. But it goes hand-in-hand with today's "now" culture where all things must be done as quickly as possible. And Mr. Hubbard lays the groundwork for doing as such when he so easily explains why such a concept is necessary and achievable. I thoroughly enjoyed how he progresses from the birth of this idea through the ways in which it can be practically applied in everyday life. His examples and clear explanations along the way provide a path for which even the layperson to use the Pulse to their advantage.

I would hope that governments, researchers, scientists, lawmakers, as well as your "average" person on the street is able to apply the teachings of this book to real life. The faster certain activities are discovered, the faster a resolution can be found. Not to mention the vast amount of money that could be saved by shortening the time an event occurs until the time that event is realized. The applications are endless.

Mr. Hubbard writes in such a way as to make obviously complex topics seem relatively simple. This is a gift that not many people have. In fact, I would venture to say that most people are the opposite in that they want to make the simple things in life difficult. Not so in this case. I so enjoyed this book that I will be reading Hubbard's first book "How to Measure Anything".

Nicely done, Mr. Hubbard. Keep up the good work.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
A wonderful idea applying real time data to making decisions. Very well researched and thorough. I really like the creative vision of the book.
Published 13 months ago by RF
4.0 out of 5 stars Do not underestimate the power of these ideas.
As a fan of Mr. Hubbard's earlier work, I bought Pulse soon after it was originally released. I was left with something like "Google and Twitter can be data mined". Read more
Published 16 months ago by Lu Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent book by Douglas Hubbard.
Excellent introduction on how to use publicly available information from the Internet to get a pulse on anything that interests you.
Published 16 months ago by FHC
5.0 out of 5 stars the future in making
Although the techniques and notions described in this book are well known, the application is new and very insightful. Mr. Read more
Published 19 months ago by N.Chibani
5.0 out of 5 stars Hubbard does it again!!
One of the best books ever written on the practical potential of the Internet. This book uncovers the future of research techniques vis-à-vis the Internet. Read more
Published on April 23, 2012 by Gene
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book, a lot of good stuff in it! Well worth the investment of...
I spent the last month, on and off, reading Doug Hubbards's book on my iPad Kindlr reader. I enjoyed the book and made so many annotations that I maxed out what Amazon allows me to... Read more
Published on September 18, 2011 by M. Sponder
3.0 out of 5 stars Great idea, not-so-great execution
This book is about using the electronic trails we all leave behind, the vast amount of public, online data, for the purposes of forecasting, nowcasting, and trend analysis. Read more
Published on August 31, 2011 by Inside Out
5.0 out of 5 stars Douglas W. Hubbard does it again.
Douglas knows his stuff and he proves that once again in this excellently written book. he gives detailed, in-depth examples of just how powerful a tool social media can be and how... Read more
Published on June 22, 2011 by Michelle Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Many ideas for the strategist keen to merge web and traditional...
Like Douglas Hubbard I'm an exponent of measurability, not measurement for measurement's sake but more as a key step in the translation of data to insight. Read more
Published on June 11, 2011 by Tim Dire
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More About the Author

Douglas W. Hubbard is the inventor of Applied Information Economics (AIE). He is an internationally recognized expert in the field of measuring intangibles, risks, and value, especially in IT value, and is a popular speaker at numerous conferences. He has written articles for InformationWeek, CIO Enterprise, and DBMS magazine. His AIE method has been applied to dozens of large Fortune 500 IT investments, military logistics, venture capital, aerospace, and environmental issues. Doug is the author of How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business (Wiley).

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