Kenton Kivestu

Founder @RocketBlocks. Previously built products at Google, Zynga and Flurry. Love to sail & to cook, but not simultaneously.

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Accuracy vs. precision: what it means for your product decisions

What’s the difference between accuracy and precision? My Dad asked me this at the age of 10. I told him it was a stupid question. However, it’s increasingly important as we become inundated with data. There is a risk of PMs / orgs / companies over-utilizing a “data-driven” approach to the point where decision makers neglect pursuing step-function changing ideas because the “data doesn’t support it.” A healthy use of this data requires a keen understanding of when to ignore it. This is where precision vs. accuracy enters the picture.

Wikipedia nicely sums up the technical difference (I added some formatting for emphasis):

Accuracy of a measurement system is the degree of closeness of measurements of a quantity to that quantity’s actual (true) value. The precision of a measurement system, also called reproducibility or repeatability, is the degree to which repeated measurements under...

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What behavioral economics can teach you about product development: The remembering self

If I could sit down with anyone for one hour and then have them pick apart the motivations driving users in my product, it would be Daniel Kahneman, the behavioral economist behind this TED talk and Thinking Fast and Slow. Although he hasn’t set out specifically to discuss consumer tech, gaming or any reach of the interwebs, his insights are real, verifiable and directly applicable.

One key insight is that human memory is significantly biased. And it is consistently biased. So much so that it’s helpful to consider two selves: an experiencing self (the one that fully experiences every detail, nuance, perfect moment as it happens) and a remembering self (the one which packages up that experience, culls through it, retains a few key nuggets and forms a “memory” of it).

Unfortunately, much to the chagrin of traditional economists, the memory is not an exact reflection of the actual...

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Education should be more like Sim City

With all the hype around the new Sim City, my experience with Sim City 2000 when growing up is top of mind. It is, despite all the high quality education I’ve been fortunate enough to have access to (top 100 public high school, UVA and an Ivy league grad degree), among the most important educational experiences I’ve ever had in my life.

Rounding out the top 5 would be 1) Ken Elzinga’s class on anti-trust economics 2) a 2 week geo-political simulation game I played in 7th grade history 3) Kumon math and 4) charging down the UVA lawn with a 30 ft piece of PVC tubing with 100 classmates in order to understand the heroic level of discipline required to keep a Greek phalanx together while charging at the enemy - thank you Prof Lendon. (I should note that none of these are the typical classroom experiences we routinely jam down students throats day in, day out. The closet would be Elzinga’s...

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