I think Vincent put it extremely well in his John Mayer article that my colleague Matt Waller and I tend to post for the weekday and coffee crowd. Without further ado, grab a cup of coffee and settle in. Happy Monday morning! Welcome to another edition of ‘the Effects’. Our first series featured a very positive topic, highlighting certain products, people or players that do not receive their due respect. This week will be the opposite, focusing our attention onto entities that have received their fair share and (in our opinion only, mind you) do not necessarily deserve the level of praise.
The Kings of Leon Effect – n. the effect whereby an object becomes drastically underrated at a certain point and thus subsequently becomes overrated
1. Kings of Leon – This band has had a strange place in my hierarchy of musical taste for a long time now. I discovered them all the way back in the frigid winter of 2005, where a cherubic Cameron Daniels was still in high school. (Is it kosher to call yourself cherubic?) The reason I remember the specific winter is I remember where and when and in what circumstance my friend first played some of their songs for me. We laughed at the lyrics for the word ‘Soft’. They were bluesy, twangy, rocky and raw. I think I would call it garage rock.
Then, Only by the Night was released in 2008, featuring songs like ‘Use Somebody’ and ‘Sex on Fire’, the latter of which to me sounds like a horror film about picking up a companion at a shady bar and sweating over those test results from your doctor (!). I digress. The album to me was a major disappointment because of my super high expectations.
2. The Films of Wes Andersen – With all due respect to my colleague Vincent Kwan (who posted his opinion as the exact opposite of this), listening to Wes Anderson fans talk about the power of The Royal Tenenbaums’ soundtrack makes me wish for a fast and painless death. I don’t want to make a big fuss over this because I truly enjoy his work. For the record, Bottle Rocket is one of the funniest movies ever made. The level of criticism needs to be levied against many of the fans.
“Wes painted a rich tapestry of suburban New England in Moonrise Kingdom” – Generic Coworker #2
Moonrise Kingdom had parts of it filmed in my hometown and I had to put up with this at work. To portray you how foreign this type of praise is uncommon for fans of anything else, let me cite the timeless Simpsons in their assessment of Jim Carrey:
Hugh: I’ve never met anyone who so understood the magic of Jim Carrey
Lisa: He can make you laugh with no more than a frantic flailing of his limbs.
3. Houston Texans – Boy, were the last six years fun. Every single year I got to hear about how chronically underrated and talented the Texans were! Did you know they had a billion Pro Bowlers! Did you know how much Arian Foster could run and Andre Johnson can plow over defenders like a Mack truck? Can you tell that I am a Patriots fan?
4. Big data – Either in the media or in social circles, I have noticed more reverence for statistics as a game changer and requisite for career, political, or financial prowess. As a Math major in undergrad (are you allowed to say ‘undergrad’ as opposed to ‘college’ if you didn’t go to grad school?), I support this movement. The fact that my co-writer Matt Waller can get excited about Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise is a fantastic development. If this were 20 years ago, I imagine his literary attention would be only focused on writers similar to Johnathan Franzen and David Foster Wallace (whoever their late 80s corrolary would be), but I can only speculate.
Then, Bill Gates quit Microsoft and Larry Page/Sergey Brin got so rich that they don’t know what to do with their time anymore. So they go around the world and consult about the power of data and how that is where all the competitive advantages are in business, education or health care. I highly suggest listening to Bill Gates speak about education and health care. His passion for his new work really shows and having listened to him I am more confident than ever in our ability to progress on simple, measurable metrics.
In the media, big data is expressed as a simple recognition of math as a tool to use and then the rest is trivial. It is what I do every single day at work, dealing with big data (Math FTW!) and what we talk about, debate and consult over are important things to know when dealing with big data. How does your AIC or SBC compare over time, does it degrade outside build, how have we weighted observations, are there multi-collinearity concerns?
I can drone on and on.
The devil is in the details. I worked as a research assistant for an economics professor while I was at Notre Dame. This could be measured as ‘big data’-ish. When I was interviewing my senior year, having this on my resume was very interesting to talk about with the interviewer.
“Oh, I see that you have some statistics work as an undergrad. What kind of things did you do?”
“Outside of get coffee?”
<Interviewer aggressively laughs at my perfectly timed and orchestrated joke, caught in surprise at my compelling wit>
“Well, there’s a lot to it. Variable selection, build selection and the actual coding takes a lot of time. There are theoretical issues that we need to be concerned with and how we are proxying for certain exogenous factors that will adversely impact our vertical readings in this time period. What we did was….”
No job offer received on that one.
5. Frank’s Red Hot – I put that shit on everything. Mac N’ Cheese + Frank’s Red Hot for the record is what eternal bliss is for me. Except it’s not eternal because I can wolf down an Easy Mac in, maybe, 30 seconds? When I’m hungry? I haven’t timed myself. I wanted that to preface what I have to say next. I have met people who refuse to eat buffalo wings that aren’t made with Frank’s Red Hot. I have met people who have looked down on the fact that I don’t throw it on my burgers or salads (sometimes gotta stick with the classics, like Italian or Ranch).
It’s a cult. Sweet Baby Ray’s has a similar cult surrounding it and I almost put that here, but I just think the product is too good (I’m a card-carrying member of the cult).
There you have it, my top five. If you disagree with me, remember that this is just my opinion. But also know that you are wrong.
Cameron Daniels works as a financial analyst in Texas. Hailing from the Greater Providence area, he is obsessed with following the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics and lets you know it ad nauseum. His other interests include chess, Good Will Hunting, Pearl Jam and playing piano. He also currently writes for Don’t Quit Your Day Job, a personal finance website dedicated to the night and weekend crowd. You can contact him through e-mail.