Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are
People on the Internet amass an average of 8 trillion gigabytes of data per day. This enormous amount of information offers a window into human behavior and decision-making, says Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a former data scientist at Google. In his New York Times bestseller Everybody Lies, Stephens-Davidowitz explores what our search results reveal about who we are. By consuming data more intelligently, he shows us how to see the world more accurately, ask more meaningful questions, and deliver what consumers really want.
“Everybody Lies is an astoundingly clever and mischievous exploration of what big data tells us about everyday life. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is as good a data storyteller as I have ever met.”— Steven Levitt, co-author, Freakonomics
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz has used the Internet to find groundbreaking insights into advertising, sports, sexuality, health, and many other aspects of 21st century life. His debut book Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are summarizes this research, arguing that much of what we thought from traditional, offline data sources has been dead wrong. A breakout success, Everybody Lies was named an Economist Best Book of the Year, a PBS NewsHour Book of the Year, an Entrepeneur Top Business Book, and an Amazon Best Book of the Year in Business and Leadership. It’s also a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. The Economist describes it as “a whirlwind tour of the modern human psyche using search data as its guide,” while renowned psychologist Steven Pinker, who wrote the book’s forward, argues that Stephens-Davidowitz’s work points to “a new path for social science in the 21st century.”
Stephens-Davidowitz is a contributing op-ed writer for The New York Times and a former visiting lecturer at The Wharton School, where he developed a course about his research. A direct, succinct, and frequently humorous writer and innovation speaker, Stephens-Davidowitz has presented his original research scientific manuscripts, public journals, and engaging lectures all over the world. He holds a PhD in economics from Harvard and a BA in Philosophy from Stanford, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa.
“Seth gave an amazing talk at The Sohn Conference. It was both informative and funny, and afterwards, guests kept on telling me how much they got from Seth's talk. I highly recommend Seth any time you need a speaker to give cutting-edge insights, all while showing you a really good time.”Douglas Hirsch, Sohn Conference Co-founder and Co-chairman
“Seth’s research will take what you think you know about yourself and your peers, and flips it on its head. A compelling narrative for any marketer seeking to better understand the real wants and needs of their consumers.”Founder, L2
“Seth’s curious intellect leaves no subject unturned. His talk was both wonderfully educational and entertaining, backed by real data and thorough research.”Global Content Director, CLSA
“We couldn’t be happier with Seth’s presentation at our recent E-Summit. He was great to work with, focusing on those areas of his research we felt would resonate best with our colleagues. His delivery was sharp, engaging, and funny. He received a perfect five out of five stars from all attendees. We hope he is available next time we need an engaging speaker!”Senior Manager, Abbott
How can Google search terms help predict elections? How many white Americans voted against Obama simply because he was black? Are crime rates affected by violence in the media? Are boys secretly favored over girls amongst parents? For Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, the answer to these questions doesn’t lie in traditional polls, but in the billions of Google searches we make every day. Through his original research with search terms and big data, he’s discovered—and predicted—a number of counterintuitive insights, often that fly in the face of conventional wisdom. And in this surprising keynote, he lays out just what big data can reveal about our biases, anxieties, and hidden desires—and how Internet searches can provide answers to questions we’re often too afraid to ask. Though sometimes uncomfortable, these revelations are designed to help us understand the world with more accuracy. And they’re here to help us become smarter consumers of data, based on asking better questions. It’s about what people are actually doing, Stephens-Davidowitz argues—not what they say they want to do.
Many companies are unduly wary of big data—they see it as meaningless, or too abstract, or just too, well, big. But to Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, analyzing vast tracts of information—especially search results, clicks—can be vital to discovering counterintuitive insights about how consumers really behave. It’s not enough to ask customers what they want; in fact, what they reveal in feedback is often a distortion of their real beliefs. Instead, intelligent companies pay attention to measurable behavior—hits, decisions, purchases—to give consumers what they actually want (even if those ‘wants’ aren’t what they’re always willing to admit). In this talk, Stephens-Davidowitz maps out the secrets behind some of the Internet’s biggest businesses. He offers insights on rapid experimentation and cutting-edge advertising techniques. And, drawing on a host of case studies and hidden experiments, he shows how all the world’s a lab—if you know how to test it.