"People call them unicorns..." ☛ Data Scientists that is... - wsj.com

"People call them unicorns" because the combination of skills required is so rare, said Jonathan Goldman, who ran LinkedIn Corp.'s LNKD +0.66% data-science team that in 2007 developed the "People You May Know" button, which five years later drove more than half of the invitations on the professional-networking platform.

Employers say the ideal candidate must have more than traditional market-research skills: the ability to find patterns in millions of pieces of data streaming in from different sources, to infer from those patterns how customers behave and to write statistical models that pinpoint behavioral triggers.

"Competence Debt: ... The gap between what is in your codebase and how much of it you understand..."

Over the years I have worked on a number of replacement projects. Looking back I realize that the real motive for many of these replacements was a severe competence debt in the old system. People would claim that the old system was impossible to maintain when the real problem was that they did not understand how it worked. Yes, technical debt made things worse since the confusing code and lack of automated tests made it frustrating to understand the system.
Unfortunately, replacing a system just because the competence debt in the old one is too high is seldom a good idea. The whole project lacks meaning for the users since the new system will not give them any visible improvements.
Ironically, the process of replacing a system often forces developers to study the old system, thereby reducing competence debt in it…
Read the entire post at leanway.no

"Ringing alarm bells about commodity prices..." -Jeremy Grantham

Q: You've been ringing alarm bells about commodity prices. Why all the worry?

A: They came down for a hundred years by an average of 70 percent, and then starting around 2002, they shot up and basically everything tripled—and I mean, everything. I think tobacco was the only one that went down. They've given back a hundred years of price decline and they gave it back between '02 and '08, in six years. The game has changed. I suspect the game changed because of the ridiculous growth rates in China—such a large country, with 1.3 billion people using 45 percent of the coal used in the world, 50 percent of all the cement and 40 percent of all the copper. I mean these are numbers that you can't keep on rolling along without expecting something to go tilt.

via wsj.com

It's the hardware silly...

The reason so many programmers have switched to Macs over the past decade isn’t just OS X and nice third-party Mac software; Apple remains the laptop manufacturer to beat in an era where desktop computers have all but vanished in most development shops.
via al3x.net