You have arrived at the web home of Noah Brier. This is mostly an archive of over a decade of blogging and other writing. You can read more about me or get in touch. If you want more recent writing of mine, most of that is at my BrXnd marketing x AI newsletter and Why Is This Interesting?, a daily email for the intellectually omnivorous.

November, 2010

Algorithm + Curation

The influence of algorithm and curation on recommendation engines.
I was struck with the simplicity of this idea on how to make the Hunch + Gifts.com recommendation engine much better.
The real problem, it seems, is that Hunch's algorithm is more sophisticated than Gifts.com's stuff selection. The universe of gifts dominates the software's ability to find good presents within it. To be a little unfair to Gifts.com, it's like being taken shopping at Spatula City with the world's most sophisticated personal shopper. At the end of the day, you still end up with a spatula.
As good as an algorithm is, and Hunch's seems pretty damn good, it's ultimately a slave to the data (or in this case gifts) it's working with. As the author notes later, "If you go into a well-curated place like. say, Gravel and Gold in San Francisco, it would take an anti-miracle to purchase something that wasn't better and more interesting for my girlfriend than a sake set." I suspect the answer is somewhere in-between.
November 24, 2010
Noah Brier | Thanks for reading. | Don't fake the funk on a nasty dunk.