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Pulse: The New Science of Harnessing Internet Buzz to Track Threats and Opportunities by [Hubbard, Douglas W.]
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4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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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

  • File Size: 2171 KB
  • Print Length: 212 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0470932368
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (April 4, 2011)
  • Publication Date: April 4, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004W3GFFU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #828,591 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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