Is Big Data Just Noise?

Judging by the amount of information available on big data, I would say that paradoxically that the concept is poorly supported. More of a giant with feet of clay. Let us do for example a Google keyword analysis: “big data” search reveals 829,000,000 results in 0.44 secs. (which means that Google has spend some time about it). Apparently a lot.
The problem reveals after you start browsing the pages. The first 10 pages of results show in all cases either definitions and white papers about big data (very vague and fluffy), either selling links. Virtually there was no value added info on the concept itself (except maybe for the Wikipedia article, which is showing some well structured info at the introduction level).
And then we go. All resources which are published up to page 100 are consisting in what I call “meta-information”, information about information which reduces the meaning below a value-adding level. Actually, the more you read about big data over the web, the less you are likely to be convinced about the topic. I know this sound very semiotically or Foucault like, but my perception became a bit one of a frustrated librarian who cannot put the finger on the concept. Read more

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    (An Almost) Perfect Profile of a CEE CFO (2)

    As usually, when you start analyzing a topic, other collateral findings start to pop up. More recent articles, written by practitioners, shed a more enlightning picture on the CFOs’ hurdles in East Europe.

    First of all, most of these new articles show that CFO’s have been really abated and overwhelmed by the depth of the crisis. With the massive deleverage taking place in 2009-2011, markets are still suffering and CFO’s are still trying to find new sources of profitability. And if there was any reluctance of restructuring the finance departments during the initial years of the crisis, in 2014 the situation changed – restructurings are still taking place, with many companies still having finance (and others) hiring freezes – or even promotion freezes.

    This might make the CEE CFO’s more risk averse than ever, with an ever increasing amount of work on their desks. Read more

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      What Is The Perfect Profile Of A Central East And East Europe CFO?

      Recently I was browsing a few articles on the CFO job in Central East and East Europe. Actually quite interesting readings, even if you are not a boring finance professional trying to make his/her way to the top. Whilst reading them, I had two major surprises:
      – The articles on the topic were few and far in between, and quite old (we are in 2014, they were from 2007-2010, when probably the enthusiasm and the PR needed to recruit high-caliber professionals for CFO jobs were substantially higher);
      – Surprise to surprise – despite their aging, the CFO blogs had some interesting insights which are still valid so far.
      What were the key findings of these headhunter blogs related to the ideal CFO?:
      – CFO’s in CEE need to have superior technical finance knowledge, especially related to the complexity of accounting standards, fiscal requirements, M&A’s and financial analysis (the Western Europe CFO’s who deal with much fewer and more developed countries need paradoxically less of such technical skills);
      – Communication skills are highly priced in CEE for the senior financial leaders of the companies; Read more

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        Reflections on Big Data

        Here we go with some of my reflections on the fast emerging concept of big data – more of aphorisms then everything else:
        Big data is a programming concept re-packaged for the experienced MS Office user.
        Big data is a tool, not a concept. It can be applied to small data or to billions of users.
        Big data means nothing without a clear understanding of the analysis goal. And this is paradoxical.
        No data can also revelate big data (to quote Ernest Hemingway).
        Bigger data cannot be reduced to big data without deleveraging its meaning.

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          Next Financial Crisis

          I was reading these days several articles in the financial press. All is so quiet… dangerosuly quiet. Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, LA Times, Forbers etc they are all silent about what the banks are doing or what other financila insitutions are up to. To me, this means only trouble brewing.
          Economic data for US looks slightly promissing and the real estate market is slowly growing. Not an accelerated pace (foreclosures in US declined to 650,000 in August, down from 1 million 1 year ago and 3 million 5 years ago), but still… EU is stalling, with Germany and France almost to a halt (industrial production -0.1% to LY, first time in recent history when Germany stumbles a bit). Usually US profits from these moves.
          So what next? Read more

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            Interviewing for Finance Jobs

            IMG_6499One of the problems some of the CFOs have in their careers periodically is that it is stalling. Then, naturally, you have to do something. As a consequence, they go interviewing. Or maybe (more probably) they are on the other side of the desk and are looking for somebody. Again, they go…well…interviewing, right?
            Well, the recruitment companies are full of advice of how to go for a finance interview. Guess what – most of it is useless, since if you are a finance professional you will already know most of the interviewing questions, techniques etc.
            Maybe some of the more practical advices below could help you be more successful when you interview for a finance top job:
            1. Go for your level of job. Maybe slightly aove it, but not too much, or you will risk flying too high and disappoint yourself. Read more

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              Managing Corporate Finance in Multinationals as a CFO – 1

              When I started my financial manager career several good years ago (almost 15), I entered the ranks of the commercial finance professionals very idealistically. I thought:
              a) everything is according to the books or even better
              b) there is no room for politics or hazard in decision making and
              c) I will change the world, even in a small way. Read more

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