Friday, September 18, 2009

Visit to NYU Stern

I visited NYU Stern to give a talk. Putting disparate people together pays off. I met with faculty from OR, Data Mining, Stats, Econ, and Social and behavior sciences working in a single division. So, during the day, I discussed many different topics and saw how much the faculty had learned from each other being colleagues who make hiring, teaching, mentoring and funding decisions together, with social lunches too.
  • Vasant Dhar: Transparency and speed of exchanges auctions in ARCA, SEC's REG NMS spec for getting the best price across all the exchanges, 30 ms that each platform gives itself to fill an order before it accesses other exchanges and the resulting dynamics.
  • Foster Provost: Identifying people with brand affinity using friends in social networks and using the user-target feature in ad exchanges to market to such users across web properties. Level of trust among ad networks, brand advertisers, exchanges etc.
  • Anindya Ghose: Confs that bring marketing and CS folks together such as CIST09. Bidders in ad auctions seems to care about competitors: at what granularity should they care (aggregate or individual)?
  • Arun: A practical economics puzzle: the medium coffee costs more per ounce than small or large coffee at the Stern Cafeteria, why? We also talked about teaching math to Business majors, and the cute Manga Guide to Calculus. He is a clever man: during my talk on sponsored search, I spoke about bananas, and he asked, "Organic or Sponsored"?
  • Alex Tuzhilin: He was an expert witness on a click fraud analysis case, and his report is public. Click report audit and verification is sometimes outsourced to third party companies such as ClickForensics. ACM conf on Recommender Systems will be in NY. Exactly how much did NetFlix gain with a paltry $1M competition? :)
  • Lunch at Lupa, Dinner at Tabla. oolala.
  • Sonny. Understanding organizational and human capital in services. Scrapping resumes from LinkedIn. How to infer hierarchies from communications among people.
  • Yannis Bakos. Classic Econ discussions. Tradeoff between finding better matches vs cost of search, eg in the "house around the lake" model (on a circle, rather than on a line as in Hot dog vendors model). Bundling and what happens when marginal cost tends to zero. During my talk, Yannis asked how to bundle ads, something in general worth thinking about.
  • Sinan Aral: Information flow in organizations. He asked what is on my mind these days, and I answered: I would like to design a reservations/futures marketplace for ads.
  • Students: I met Nikolay, Jing, Eyal, Xiaohan, Shawn, Bebe, Ning, and others. I dont see their homepages.
  • Post-Talk: Over wine and cheese, Panos, a thoughtful blogger, quickly converged on the second part of a proof I left out in my talk. Btw, check out his citation tracker.
  • Dinner: All dinner conversations should be so scintillating! Roy Radner asked two questions: Why should Economists care about Internet Ads? What is the total value of Internet Ads to the society? I can only answer these over dinner. :) Foster Provost, clearly very deep into thinking about Internet Ads, challenged me about the standard notion that Internet has made ads measurable: in particular, if you ignore direct marketing, there are more offline measures and measurements of brands ads than online.
Coda: It is amazing how much Hal Varian populates conversations even 3000+ miles away.



Post a Comment

<< Home