Decision MediaWorks

How the Government Will Destroy Google

No Florida specific angle today but I wanted to address the NSA data mining program and the impacts it could have on things we take for granted in the “connection economy.”

If you are unfamiliar with the connection economy, it is a term coined by author Seth Godin that describes what businesses like Facebook, Google, Amazon and this blog have in common. They all exist to connect people with specialized interests to other people and things that satisfy those interests.

In the economy of old, we exchanged money for goods and services. In the connection economy, we exchange information about ourselves for information about something else. I give Facebook a profile and I get connected with my friends from high school. I give Google a search query and I find the best website for dog training.

We trust (and trust is the oil of all free market transactions) that all this data generated by us and billions of other people is used for only two purposes:

1)      Sell ad space to people who want to sell things to people like me.

2)      Make their websites more useful to me in the future.

That is the business model of the biggest players in the connection economy, but it requires that our data is not used for any purposes contrary to our interests.

Google has an unofficial motto of “don’t be evil” because if the company is ever seen as untrustworthy with data, then its business model will collapse. If we no longer trust Google with our email and search queries, then Google has less data to improve its products and target ads. This means the value of ads on Google fall, and revenues plummet.  Good-bye Google.

For this reason, it is particularly heinous that businesses were compelled to breech our trust and handover our data (without a warrant) to an entity assuredly not seeking to sell us designer shoes at low prices.

More unfortunate, is that the entity taking our data has violated an explicit agreement that prevents it from taking our data without warrant.

I leave this post with one question: If we would not tolerate the installation of government video cameras over our shoulder to watch our online activity, then why would we permit them to watch our online activity from the other end of the pipeline?

A State Divided: College Loyalty and County Lines

In Florida, college affiliations matter…a lot. Anyone who has driven Florida’s interstates knows that our state is regionally divided into distinct post-secondary tribes. We wanted to find out just where those lines of demarcation are drawn in the Sunshine State, so we designed a project to do just that.

We used specialty license plate sales by county to measure college pride around Florida. The first map below shows which school is the number one seller of speciality plates in each county. The second map shows the top school per county when you take away Florida and Florida State.

A few notes:
– The number one spot in each county is held by UF or FSU in every county but Miami-Dade.

- Ignoring UF and FSU dominance in plate selling, FAMU holds its own around the northern portions of the state with Miami covering South Florida.

- The I-4 corridor is the Yugoslavia of Florida with Bethune-Cookman, UCF, Miami and USF all holding at least one county in the region.

Click any county for more detail on the number of active plates and sales ranking among college speciality plates in each county. As always, if you like it, please share it.

Map Colored by School with Most Active Plates in Each County


Map Colored by non-FSU/UF School with Most Active Plates in Each County 

Data Intelligence Briefing #1 “Trending In The Florida Legislature”…Coming Soon.

Later this month, we are going to be releasing our first Data Intelligence Briefing (DIB) titled “Trending In The Florida Legislature.” The DIB will provide you with detailed forecasts of which Florida legislative districts are going to become swing seats in the next few cycles.

Whether you are an observer or operative in the Florida process, this is a must read to keep ahead of the competition. The DIB will only be sent to our email subscribers so sign up on the sidebar at right. We promise not to spam you or share your information.

Every DIB will be easy-to-read, packed with graphics and provide you with actionable information- info you can use right now to better understand the world of Florida politics and policy. Again, DIBs are free to readers. All you have to do is fill in the “Email Sign-Up” on the side bar and we will send you the first DIB in later this month.

Tarpon Fishing in Boca Grande

If you are a sportsman in Florida (or just watched the Florida Channe today), you’ve likely heard of the controversy surrounding fishing tarpon in the Boca Grande pass using the jigging method.

The Florida Wildlife Commission had a seven hour long hearing today in Lakeland on rather to make tarpon a catch-and-release species and rather to ban jigging in the pass.

This got us wondering, is there any data on tarpon fishing?

Below is a chart of the Google search volume for the term “tarpon fishing.”  You see a clear pattern of peaks and valleys in searchs that seem to reflect the tarpon fishing season. There is a slight overall decrease in “tarpon fishing” searches from 2007 to present.

You will also find a U.S. map that plots where search volumes for “tarpon fishing” are highest. Besides Florida being the gold standard in “tarpon fishing” searches, you can also see where other tarpon fishermen live and thereby have an idea what states send us the most tarpon tourists.

N.B. Click here to learn more about how Google measures the data below.