…this new breed is injecting economics into the structure of Silicon Valley firms. While they are too busy to realise it such firms are also providing the best defence of economics against its critics. Far from being unrealistic and out of touch, the role of chief economist will design the way that the firm works.Of those who are specifically lettered in economics, they describe the work of: Bryan Balin of SmarterTravel who builds algorithms that detect the probability that a user will become a buyer. Scott Nicholson, a Stanford economics PhD who advised hiQ on how to detect employees at risk of leaving the company and is now building systems to benchmark sales and customer retention for Poynt. Riley Newman, head of economics at Airbnb whose efforts led to techniques to better align supply and demand of lodging. Request your invitation to Dent here.
As you can tell by our speaker lineup for 2015, we’re sold on the idea of firms having a “Chief Economist” on staff. Hence our aggressive courting of Redfin’s Nela Richardson to join us onstage. In the article “Silicon Valley economists: Meet the market shapers” the Economist magazine profiles several silicon valley firms who are gaining competitive advantage via the wonkiness that economists and data scientists bring. At Dent, we will learn firsthand from Nela Richardson how she is working with data and economic models to predict consumer behavior. From the article (emphasis mine).