I lead Force Five Partners, a marketing analytics consulting firm (bio). I've been writing here about marketing, technology, e-business, and analytics since 2003 (blog name explained).

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39 posts categorized "Events"

October 28, 2014

Driving Social Engagement With Sentiment Analysis: Text Analytics Summit West

McGraw Hill VP of R&D and Analytics Al Essa kindly invited me to join him in delivering this workshop in San Francisco on November 3.  Hope to see you there!

September 01, 2013

#MITX Panel: Analytically Aligned Decision Making in the Multi-Agency Context

I moderated this panel at the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange's (mitx.org)"The Science of Marketing: Using Data & Analytics for Winning" summit on August 1, 2013.  Thanks to T. Rowe Price's Paul Musante, Visual IQ's Manu Mathew, iKnowtion's Don Ryan, and Google's Sonia Chung for participating!


May 20, 2013

"How to Engage Consumers in a Multi-Platform World?" See you May 22 @APPNATION bootcamp panel in NYC

Sponsorpay's Global Sales SVP Andy Bibby kindly asked me to join his NYC Internet Week APPNATION panel on Wednesday, May 22 2:15-3p at 82 Mercer.  Hope to see you there, watch this space for a recap of the conversation.

September 18, 2012

All The World's A Stage, Triathlon Edition

My son Ben and I participated in the Dover Sherborn Boosters annual triathlon this past Sunday.  We really enjoyed it.  It was his first, and my first in 22 years.  Well over 300 folks competed, well-mixed in age and gender.  They seemed like a pretty competitive, well-trained bunch to us, judging by the 95%+ who had lean cheeks and wetsuits and fancy bikes and bags that said "Boston Triathlon Team". 

After the race, I was curious to get a better handle on how we'd done.  All Sports Events  had done a great job of running and timing the event, and their table of results was very detailed and useful.  But I wanted to see it a bit more visually.  The All Sports Events folks were kind enough to share the data file, and with a little fiddling to parse and convert strings to times, I got to this (click on the image to launch the Tableau Public interactive visualization):



Before the race, as I shivered un-rubbered on the beach waiting for the swim to start, I overheard a couple of guys my age talking about how now that they were in their forties, with their kids a little older and with more control at home and work (a state of grace I'm not yet familiar with), they had more time to train, especially on Saturday mornings. 

Plotting 6th-order polynomial trend lines through the data revealed an interesting, if weak pattern that seems to confirm this life-stage effect, for both men and women.  Average performance improves radically as you move from your teens to your twenties, declines as the realities of family life intrude in your thirties, improves once again as you rediscover your inner narcissist child in your forties, and then begins to decline again as Father Time eventually asserts himself (though with plenty of variance around the mean to give us hope).  Like Shakespeare said, more or less.

What do you see?  Thanks again to the organizers and volunteers for a great event!

July 23, 2012

2012 NLG Bike-a-thon Recap: Meeting Desastre and Triomphe With The Same Visage #Autism


As many of you know (having been barraged with a Twit-tensity worthy of @justinbieber), Saturday I rode in the Nashoba Learning Group annual bike-a-thon.  Nashoba Learning Group is a school in Bedford Massachusetts for children with Autistic Spectrum disorders.  Our family has been involved with the school since its founding over a decade ago; it now has 90 students.  It achieves wonderful results, and shares what it learns generously.  And now we're also building an adult program as well.

It's not too late to sponsor me for the Bike-a-thon!  

This year's ride was among the most beautiful I can remember -- a lovely, relatively cool and dry New England summer day.  Nonetheless, experience has taught me to seek any advantage possible.  So, at breakfast, I spied this number, and imagined the drafting possibilities of a one-machine peloton:

Perhaps it should have concerned me that its crew looked a little strange:

Screen Shot 2012-07-23 at 5.39.18 PM
Nonetheless, I smiled back, and off we went!

10 miles into my admittedly parasitic strategy (Hey, I did offer to take my turn at the front, but I think they laughed), I thought I heard "Activate les contre-measures!"  I thought I saw tacks, but I really can't be sure.  Slowly though, the sound of the breeze in my ears was replaced with a slow hiss...

I pulled over, and wistfully waved on the vanguard of riders offering their help.  No matter!  My wife knows I live for moments like this, when I can break out the tools I so rarely get to use!


Furiously I pedaled - no, clawed - my way back. Well, scratched a bit.  Let's just say it was a nice day for a ride. 

Thank you again so much to all of the incredibly generous people who supported NLG this year!

July 20, 2012

Please sponsor me for the 2012 NLG Bike-a-thon: Last Appeal, 2 Pictures #Autism

NLG gets results...

NLG 2010-2011_iep_performanceFA3811E0AA9E

...and makes people happy


Thank you!



Please sponsor me for the 2012 NLG Bike-a-thon, Appeal No. 358: 2007 Ride Recap #Autism

Hi folks, a reminder to please sponsor me for this year's NLG Bike-a-thon!  Here's the link to the donations site.  Below for your reading pleasure is my recap of the 2007 ride.  Thank you!



Thank you all for being so generous on such short notice!   

Fresh off a flight from London that arrived in Boston at midnight on Friday, I wheeled myself onto the starting line Saturday morning a few minutes after eight 
.  Herewith, a few journal entries from the ride:

Mile 2:  The 
peloton drops me like a stone.  DopeursNever mind; this breakaway is but  le petit setback.  Where are my domestiques to bring me back to the pack?

Mile 3:  Reality intrudes.  No
domestiques.  Facing 47 miles' worth of solo quality time, I plot my comeback... 

Mile 10: 1st major climb, L'Alpe de Bolton (MA), a steep, nasty little "beyond classification" grade.  I curse at the crowds pressing in.  'Allez! Allez!' they call, like wolves.  A farmer in a Superman cape runs alongside.

Mile 10.25: Mirages disappear in the 95-degree heat.  (First time I've seen the Superman dude, though.  Moral of this story: lay off the British Airways dessert wines the night before a big ride.) 

Mile 10.5: Descending L'Alpe de Bolton, feeling airborne at 35 MPH

Mile 10.50125: Realizing after hitting bump that I am, in fact, airborne.   AAAAARRH!!!

Mile 14: I smell sweet victory in the morning air!

Mile 15:  Realize the smell is actually the Bolton town dump

Mile 27: Col d'Harvard (MA).  Mis-shift on steep climb, drop chain off granny ring.  Barely click out of pedal to avoid keeling over, disappointing two buzzards circling overhead. 

Mile 33:  Whip out Blackberry, Googling 'Michael Rasmussen 
soigneurto see if can score some surplus EPO

Mile 40:  I see dead people

Mile 50:  I am, ahem... outsprinted at the finish.  Ride organizers generously grant me 'same time' when they realize no one noticed exactly when I got back."

View Tour de NLG in a larger map

July 18, 2012

Please sponsor me for the 2012 NLG Bike-a-thon

Folks, I ride once again this weekend for Nashoba Learning Group.  Please sponsor me if you can, it's a really worthy cause.  Thank you!


March 12, 2012

#SXSW Trip Report Part 2: Being There

(See here for Part 1)

Here's one summary of the experience that's making the rounds:


Missing sxsw


I wasn't able to be there all that long, but my impression was different.  Men of all colors (especially if you count tattoos), and lots more women (many tattooed also, and extensively).   I had a chance to talk with Doc Searls (I'm a huge Cluetrain fan) briefly at the Digital Harvard reception at The Parish; he suggested (my words) the increased ratio of women is a good barometer for the evolution of the festival from narcissistic nerdiness toward more sensible substance.  Nonetheless, on the surface, it does remain a sweaty mosh pit of digital love and frenzied networking.  Picture Dumbo on spring break on 6th and San Jacinto.  With light sabers:


SXSW light sabers


Sight that will haunt my dreams for a while: VC-looking guy, blazer and dress shirt, in a pedicab piloted by skinny grungy student (?) Dude, learn Linux, and your next tip from The Man at SXSW might just be a term sheet.

So whom did I meet, and what did I learn:

I had a great time listening to PRX.org's John Barth.  The Public Radio Exchange aggregates independent content suitable for radio (think The Moth), adds valuable services like consistent content metadata and rights management, and then acts as a distribution hub for stations that want to use it.  We talked about how they're planning to analyze listenership patterns with that metadata and other stuff (maybe gleaning audience demographics via Quantcast) for shaping content and targeting listeners.  He related for example that stations seem to prefer either 1 hour programs they can use to fill standard-sized holes, or two- to seven- minute segments they can weave into pre-existing programs.  Documentary-style shows that weave music and informed commentary together are especially popular.  We explored whether production templates ("structured collaboration": think "Mad Libs" for digital media) might make sense.  Maybe later.

Paul Payack explained his Global Language Monitor service to me, and we explored its potential application as a complement if not a replacement for episodic brand trackers.  Think of it as a more sophisticated and source-ecumenical version of Google Insights for Search.

Kara Oehler's presentation on her Mapping Main Street project was great, and it made me want to try her Zeega.org service (a Harvard metaLAB project) as soon as it's available, to see how close I can get to replicating The Yellow Submarine for my son, with other family members spliced in for The Beatles.  Add it to my list of other cool projects I like, such as mrpicassohead.

Peter Boyce and Zach Hamed from Hack Harvard, nice to meet you. Here's a book that grew out of the class at MIT I mentioned -- maybe you guys could cobble together an O'Reilly deal out of your work!

Finally,  congrats to Perry Hewitt (here with Anne Cushing) and all her Harvard colleagues on a great evening!


Perry hewitt anne cushing



March 11, 2012

#SXSW Trip Report Part 1: The Journey

Arrive Houston late.  Some lady steers my Hertz car out of space 125, toots cheerfully, and is off. (Wonder how she'll persuade the guard: "Yes, I am Cesar Brea...")  I arrange a replacement, and promptly get lost somewhere near Hobby.  

Later:  looking up from the hotel lobby floor is like looking down a shaft on the Death Star.  Thirty stories of beige-brown cantilevered soul-crushing sameness.  Can't sleep.  Accept insomnia, opt for double-header dystopia: the HBO Julianne Moore / Ed Harris / Woody Harrelson docu-drama Game Change about Sarah Palin, then Repo Men.

Morning.  I-290 West, toward Austin; it's  monsooning.  Vaguely Quixotic: a "Dry-Force Water Removal" van blasts past me doing seventy.  Cattle line up near the road, backsides to the storm, in the bovine manner. 

Who says frontier towns are dead?  They're just spread out more, reflecting today's faster horses.  No horseshoes, but plenty of brake shoes. First Church of Such-and-Such -- still here.   Saloons? Gringo's Tex Mex, with "Latino Fusion".  Doc's specialized, or maybe just re-branded to game insurance billing -- "Drive-in Gynecology Clinic" (really).  Depending on local laws -- or lack of them -- gentlemen's clubs = brothels by another name.  Fireworks - pawn - gold - boots - tack - guns - ammo.  Plus, still plenty of 'tude:


We don't dial 911

I cross the Brazos.  (Always wanted to say that.)

"We got all your outdoor needs." Even if those extend to giant welded roosters:


Giant welded chicken


Obligatory BBQ stop. Chopped BBQ sandwich, slaw, jalapeno at the Lost Pines BBQ in Giddings. Highly recommended for friendly service and great food:



Lost pines bbq giddings texas



McDade: two chihuahuas play by the road.

They jump into the traffic.

Doing sixty, I swerve and miss.

The tractor-trailer behind me doesn't.


Crosses, mostly singly, sometimes in bunches: "Have you found Jesus?"

Austin, 30 miles: "Do you know Linux?"



Do you know linux

Part 2: Being There 


Books by
Cesar Brea