13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2011
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.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2011
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. This will offer new opportunities as well as new challenges, and the author brings up many ideas on both the good and the not-so-good aspects to take into account. (For example, playing online games could very well be a future source of a very rich data stream to track all sorts of trends.)
This book is a fascinating and thorough look into how our internet actions are the basis for a dynamic new technology sure to become more useful as we learn how to use, measure and tweak the Pulse. It will be interesting to see how quickly governments and corporate America will jump onto this concept and upgrade to this new, innovative approach of information gathering.
Highly recommended reading for forward thinkers in business and government, but a must-read for anyone interested in trends and history in the making.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2011
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
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.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2011
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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2011
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. I am currently working on an exercise to merge online analysis with that for offline, essentially harvesting the web as a source for deeper insight to traditional marketing. My end goal is to derive a synergy, to make the combined online-offline analysis greater than the sum of the parts. "Pulse" has certainly provided many ideas in to this end. Hubbard's relating the tracking of internet buzz to epidemiology is most illuminating. Coming more from the traditional side of marketing, I had never related word-of-mouth to the spread of a disease, but it makes sense.
Unlike many books in the data-metric-analysis-insight space Hubbard has made "Pulse" both readable and thought provoking.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2011
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. Google, Facebook, Twitter, E-Bay and others have vast amounts of data, lots of it even in real-time, that can be analysed to predict all sorts of things from flu outbreaks to economic indicators to product popularity. All good, but the book is is a slow read, being a hybrid between an academic text and popular science. In spite of its sexy title, Pulse is written in a somewhat dry, academic way and is rather drawn-out. It would have been better presented as either an academic text (a long review article) or as a truly popular science text, with smoother writing, of shorter length, and easier to digest.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2011
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 it can be used to predict all sorts of interesting trends. If you want to know how to put social media to work for you, read this book!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2011
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 share on Facebook and Twitter. Having said that, there's too much information in the Pulse for me to do the book justice here. Nonetheless, I will attempt to say a few words.
I enjoyed most of the book, perhaps chapter 6, the most. In my own writings I have taken a similar view to Hubbard on the use of real time Internet data, and the need for structures, triggers, specific measures that most companies or individuals that measure, leave out. Enjoyed and took great interest in his approaches to the value in data, both maximum and the point to cut your losses, get the early wins - and save extensive investment of time, energy and resources to where it's truly needed.
I plan to write a much more extensive review of the book on my WebMetricsGuru.com blog shortly.
But I will say this - I wondered about the choice of the title - is there truly a movement here to use public, aggregated, real time data for qualitative and quantitative data analysis, largely surpassing all previous sources? Yes, but its called something else.
After all, the focus on "Big Data" along with the sharing of public records exists, and the name, The Pulse, seems to be, really that. Why not have gone with that, rather than using a new vernacular almost no one uses?
I fully recommend this book and it will help very much in formulating some new lines of thought, approaches, I will be coming forward with, shortly.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2013
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". Thinking I now "understood" I put down the book for about 20 months with a sense that it didn't meet my expectations. However the context and content of this work simply seemed too important to me and I began to wonder what I may have missed; so I re-read the book in order to study it this time. Now it is clear that I was blind to my real intentions: being entertained rather than being educated by an innovative thinker.
This is a magnificent book. It will stretch non-mathematicians to dream bigger and use many non-mathematical options to vastly outperform their intuition. It will stretch purist engineers and scientists to apply their talents to practical ends--if for no other reason than to employ the tools we now have to transforming life as we know it. I imagine my own talents to lie somewhere between these categories of readers and I'm now puzzling over how to engineer and apply my own meaningful approach to the pulse. As cautioned earlier, this is not a book to be read but one to be studied.
The book ends where Mr. Hubbard's other work began: go measure something. As such, I see the Pulse as an extension of the body of knowledge he is laying out in the area of Applied Information Economics. To my view, additional study of the author's other books are necessary to apply the Pulse effectively or the reader may be left with an under-appreciated and under-utilized tool set. That would be a shame because these ideas are harnessing the foundational power of our already historically relevant evolution as a society.
Strap on the ideas in the Pulse and prepare to outperform other smart folks that "understand" but don't have the penetrating thinking or necessary data to avoid the pitfalls of playing the old game.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2012
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. We learn the profound impact of the massive volume of free data that is the Internet and the potential for next generation researching trends and habits of the masses. This is essentially a new science and this book does a superb job of describing this new science and the rippling effect it will have on virtually every aspect of our lives. This is a must read!