Blog Archives

A Word from the Engineers: Thanksgiving and Christmas are Different

By Robin Morris in A Word from the Engineers on January 31, 2013

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Here in the engineering group at Baynote we had a big milestone at the end of 2012.  We successfully completed a major step of the platform updates we are putting together.  But more of that another time.  Here I want to look back at the last two months of last year, in terms the data we collect on e-commerce ... Read More »

Writing a Hive Generic UDF

By Robin Morris in A Word from the Engineers, Featured on November 13, 2012

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(How to convert an array<struct<target: bigint,quantity:int,price:float>> into an array<struct<target: bigint,quantity:int,price:float,externalid:string>> ) If you’ve been reading my blog posts over the last few months, you will have noticed that they’ve been focused more on the issues in the engineering side of Baynote, and less on the technical details. This blog post is an exception. It’s going to get very technical very quickly. Sorry. The back-end component of our ... Read More »

Why Amazon and Netflix have it Easy

By Robin Morris in A Word from the Engineers on October 8, 2012

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Product recommendations on websites came into the public consciousness because of their prevalent adoption and continued use by two high-profile sites – Netflix and Amazon.  Amazon was first with a homegrown solution that offered recommendations based on what others browsed or bought that matched items that you bought.  Netflix next offered suggestions for films you might be interested in watching, based on ... Read More »

Find the Elephant

By Robin Morris in A Word from the Engineers on August 23, 2012

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The last few weeks have been busy here in Baynote engineering. We’re about to go live with a new algorithm that runs on all of the new infrastructure that the platform team has been building over the last few months. The models are built on our hadoop cluster and incorporate a lot of the ideas I’ve written about in ... Read More »

Revenue, Margin, Seasonality and the Problem of Choosing the Best Recommendations

By Robin Morris in A Word from the Engineers on July 17, 2012

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On the back of my business card it says, “Baynote: personalized shopping experiences.”  This can often seem very remote from what we in engineering work on day-to-day, where much time is spent in the technical guts of the products. So every now and again it’s good to think about the end goal that we’re working towards – providing ... Read More »

Big Data, Little Data, and the 18th Century Mathematics behind Product Recommendations

By Robin Morris in A Word from the Engineers on June 26, 2012

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Here at Baynote we process many terabytes of data each day, putting us squarely in the domain of “big data.” This data comes from embedding tags on our customers’ web sites.  These tags enable our customers to send us data from all of their users’ interactions with their site.  We use this data to build predictive models ... Read More »

A Word from the Engineers: Merchandising, Moneyball and Product Recommendations

By Robin Morris in A Word from the Engineers on May 30, 2012

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Since joining Baynote last year, I’ve learned a huge amount about ecommerce retailing and how the technical side of developing algorithms for personalized product recommendations interacts with marketing, merchandising and a retailer’s website. I’ve observed some tension between the technical side, who advocate relying on the wisdom-of-the-crowds algorithms, and product merchandising, who want to hand-tune ... Read More »