Liz Asks: How Good are Political Campaigns at Data Science?

Summary: Direct Mail campaigns by politicians could really benefit from the services of ‪#‎datascience‬ and ‪#‎contentstrategy‬ folks. In 2016, we have evolved from simple, generic, stereotypical messaging with our audience.

How good are Political Campaigns at Data Science? Not Very Good At All.

As the election season gets closer here in California, I’ve become fascinated by the direct mail campaigns of the political candidates.  I don’t have cable, you see, so I rarely see television advertising. And my radio listening is primarily NPR those rare times I’m in the car.  Every day I get one or more pieces of direct mail from the current crop of political hopefuls. Some days I will get up to three from a single candidate in the same day.
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XPath and XSLT for Everyone

Anyone working with XML content can benefit from learning XPath. XPath is the way that elements are identified and located inside an XML Document. Want to find the first title in your document? Or the fifth? Or the 2nd one that also has those 3 special notes following it?

Stylesheets are easier if you understand how to write an XPath expression. It just takes practice to learn how to structure the question that you use an XPath expression to answer.

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Do You Feel Lucky?

Last month at STC Summit, someone came by our booth and we got to talking about the TC Dojo. The TC Dojo is a webinar series we started 4 years ago. It works like this: First, we poll the community to find out what they want to learn. Then, we recruit experts to teach the topic, or an aspect of it, in a short webinar. We record the sessions and post the videos to YouTube. And we don’t charge for any of it.

This person asked me how we make money off it. I told her, “We don’t. This is part of our community service.” The puzzled look I got in response reminded me of an article in The Atlantic, “Why Luck Matters More Than You Might Think” that I had seen only one week earlier.

In the article, Robert Frank describes how generosity and public spirit is affected how much someone attributes luck to their own good fortune. It’s a phenomenon that social scientist researchers have been looking at, too:
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