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Tableau launches $1.3 million initiative to tackle bums, winos, vagrants, and wackos on our streets

Posted 03-12-2019 at 06:31 PM by Blondebaerde
Updated 04-05-2019 at 09:15 PM by Blondebaerde

This is interesting, Tableau (based on Seattle) will start using tech to track the "homelessness problem" in fifty US cities. This hit close to home (chuckle: literally) because they're local to me, just down the street actually (Kirkland campus).


Related: An Analytics/Big Data "Story"

Some years ago my organization deployed customized CRM software with about a thousand of our users, on a national account, to see what exactly our people were doing all day for a massive customer. Think of it as elaborate timecarding. Consultants do this daily anyway. We got meaningful data in about six months, pretty typical.

What we found was funny, and as analytics director I had the not-so-great pleasure of rolling findings up to our GM. Turns out 40% of people's time was really spent screwing off on FB, MySpace, and similar. Can't say I was surprised, then or now, as compelling clerks and sales & marketing types to account for time, they'll 1) resist you at every turn and 2) spend as much time as possible doing as little as possible. Damn, didn't that cause organizational churn, nationwide! Who caught it worst: their middle management, biggest slackers of them all. 50% departed in the next year due to "re-org", layoff, or performance termination. The mis-managers were the worst bums of all, who didn't give a hoot about high performance.

Sooo...to possible use of data for root-cause analysis of the "homelessness problem". It takes moral courage, completely lacking in most politicians, to follow the data wherever it goes and then take steps, popular or not. Instead of shoveling money at a problem (as Seattle tried to do with a BS "head tax" last year, which would have been spent on more bum shelters or other unaccountable pet projects), will we have some root cause analysis on "chronic homelessness"? So that money can be targeted at solutions that provide results? I suspect same will happen as happened at our company years ago, see previous:

Results come in, with some real insites:

1. Blanket denial that the data means anything. The data is "rejected" because it points fingers at reprobate agencies, managers, and crappy personal decisions made by individuals. This denial invariably comes from bums and slackers, trust me.
2. When the data shows that some (types of) programs work, others are less-efficient, the latter camp will turn the complaint volume up to eleven.
3. There will be news stories about how the data is "discriminatory" or causes us to "hate the homeless" or a dozen other buzz-phrases. The bums and slackers will call news conferences. There will be political pressure on the people who make the tools/software, not the root cause.
4. The root cause will be quietly addressed and BS programs and bums starved out. Efficiency will in-fact improve somewhat, over time.

This is a way to use so-called Big Data, mining massive data sets efficiently for root cause analysis. And when the happens, the world changes, and the Swamp does not get drained quietly into the night...rather, with a huge bang of swamp gas. You can guess what that smells like.

What do you think of such stuff? I'd like answers to the "homeless problem" as a taxpayer, to funnel MY dollars where it does the most good.
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