So it’s 5768… In these terrible days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we are supposed to sit and think about all the terrible things that we have done in the last year and ask for forgiveness from the people that we may have hurt. I can make abstract claims that this blog is one of the things that have suffered this year, but it’s not why I’m posting today. I’m posting today because in the middle of all these terrible and depressing thoughts, when you get your mind into thinking mode, it brings also some “positive” ideas.
What makes this even more interesting and cyclic is that these ideas end up, for me, being even more torturing than the thought of the past. It’s worse to think about what options you will have in the future and that you probably won’t accomplish any of them, than to think in the past.
Out of these ideas that have been torturing me, some I can’t really write about here. Most have to do with product reviews. I feel like most review websites out there could really benefit from a more scientific approach. Not only this, I also think that any company that is trying to make a product being successful would benefit from a third-party company testing its product against competitors following scientific evaluations and then allowing time for the original company to analyze and criticize the methods employed. This can only happen if:
1) You have all the methods explicitly explained (not only ratings like: cleaning abilities – Great; smell – Good)
2) You have a relationship with the manufacturer and allow for unedited reply to analysis
3) You present all this to customers and allow the customers to suggest tests to be done (I care about MP3 players that can fall from my pocket and still work)
4) Allow also consumers to explain what their most important features in an item are to: (a) generate a single-dimensional list of products they should look into; (b) provide feedback for manufacturers on what customers are looking for so that they spend their R&D on things that matter.
If you create this cycle, you might have high-quality, authoritative item reviews that will provide consumers with the power to select the best product that matches their needs and manufacturers to modify the products to better satisfy customers.
There are examples out there of specialized sites that try to approach things like that, but I’m yet to see (it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist, just that I don’t know of it right now) a system that includes all these feedback approaches.
The rest that I’m interested in is how to represent all this data in order to display it on some website and learn with it about what makes a good product. Also, there will always be some subjective component to all reviews. How this can be split out of the “scientific” part is tricky. Any good statistician knows that all statistics are biased towards what you want to prove or disprove. The important part is to make it as explicit as possible.
Oh, well, anyway, I’m still thinking about things. I wanted to send a lot of emails yesterday and today to friends, but didn’t get to send any. I was just reading things, doing some random coding here and there, I’ve watched “The Corporation” – great movie, by the way, I’ve also played some Wii and DS (so odd), and, shockingly, I’ve even done some art. Nothing exciting, I’ll have to admit.
Ok, time to go to bed.