Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Very Thought Provoking Interview with a Google Statisitician

From an interview with Nick Chamandy, via Simply Statistics:
Grad school teaches us to spend weeks thinking about a problem and coming up with an elegant or novel methodology to solve it (sometimes without even looking at data). This process certainly has its place, but in some contexts a better outcome is to produce an unsophisticated but useful and data-driven answer, and then refine it further as needed. Sometimes the simple answer provides 80% of the benefit, and there is no reason to deprive the consumers of your method this short-term win while you optimize for the remaining 20%.
I wish more people doing academic research thought this way.  Striving for perfection is a habit that dies very hard.