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  • Writer's pictureElise Hampton

That's Not My Reusable Algorithm....

For anyone with a young child you'll be familiar with the 'That's not my..' board books. My 1 year old is obsessed with them! She's particularly loves 'That's not my Kitten'. For those of you who have not had the fortune to be indoctrinated into these books, they follow a repetitive pattern. There are several 'That's not my [kitten]; It's [tummy] is too [fluffy]' and finally finishes with 'That's my [kitten], It's [fur] is so [soft]'. Each page has something that can be touched as a textural experience for our kids' learning. The author, Fiona Watt, and illustrator, Rachel Wells, of these books have hit on an algorithm that kids love and can be reused in many situations, e.g. Kittens, Puppies, Pirates, Tractors, Elves etc.

.... It's too boring.

A reusable algorithm is something that you can take with you wherever you go. It can be easily and quickly implemented, and works in different situations. It's not the latest 'thing' on the market, it isn't necessarily new. In fact a lot of good reusable algorithms are, well, boring for those who implement them day after day. But just because an algorithm is repetitive doesn't mean that the output isn't exciting. Think about a client, like a bank with data to be analysed; they haven't seen this algorithm before and what your reusable algorithm can bring them will help them in their day-to-day business. They'll be excited.

.... It's too repetitive.

Using the same algorithm over and over again could get very repetitive. However, like the 'That's not my..' board books, different inputs can make each use different and exciting. For example using Marketing Mix Modelling (MMM) at a bank would be different to using it at a retailer. Banks spend marketing money on promoting accounts and home loans, while a department store would be marketing sales on particular areas of their store. Even the input data will be different, on different time scales, or maybe different data sources. All of this can add challenge to using the same algorithm over and over again.

.... It's too mainstream

Reusable algorithms should be the bread and butter of any analytics group. Yes, all analytics groups do need to try out new things which are exciting but these can take time and don't always pan out. It can also be a hard sell into a new client when you don't have something you can showcase. Going into a client you should be able to show them something new to them that you can implement easily and quickly. This will get your foot in the door and who knows what else your client might want after they see that you understand what you're doing and can help them with their business.

That's my Algorithm,

It's so reusable.

With 66 different 'That's not my...' books available, Fiona and Rachel hit on a reusable algorithm that's loved by many children. The books are fun and even I enjoy finding new ones and reading them to my little one.

It's the same as being able to meet with new clients and show them successful analysis you've done previously and could easily and quickly implement for them. Companies are always looking for new ways to make their business better and reusable algorithms are a great way to get in quickly and see results ASAP.

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