Alternative Data Weekly Newsletter Archives


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A curated digest of must-read news from around the internet about alternative data. Join the buy-side professionals already reading the Alternative Data Weekly.

eBay Looks to Outperform in Q4


In this report from Quandl’s “Alternative Data In Action” series we present an analysis of eBay’s Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) inferred from 3 million opted-in email users. By aggregating the dollar totals of email receipts from eBay and StubHub, we can construct an index that is a proxy for eBay’s US GMV. From there, we discovered the GMV drivers and quality. All in all, eBay looks to slightly outperform this quarter. Read More

Inside a Moneymaking Machine Like No Other

Bloomberg Markets

Why are they keeping all the money for themselves? Renaissance’s best performing fund is available to employees only – as long as they are willing to pay 5 and 44. This is a fascinating biopic about a top hedge fund that does things a little differently: they look for weak signals, they employ dueling string theory twins, and their website hasn’t been updated since 1993. Read More

Renaissance’s Skill

Bloomberg View

Bloomberg’s Matt Levine follows up with his thoughts on the Renaissance coverage. His takeaway is not the dueling string theory twins, but rather: Renaissance doesn’t look for signals that make sense. Instead, they look for signals that don’t make much sense, that are weak. Then they call in the machines. Read More

Big Data Is a Big Mess for Hedge Funds Hunting Signals


The data created by humans through their everyday use of technology is “low-grade,” and quantity does not equal quality. But the signals are hidden among the noise, and in order to make sense of it, Matei Zatreanu believes hedge funds will have to make many substantial changes to running their businesses. Too many are just “checking the box” on data-driven investing. Read More

Beware of Data Mining

Bloomberg View

A warning from Bloomberg’s Barry Ritholtz: data mining does not predict anything and shouldn’t be relied upon to make forecasts. This article is a short but thoughtful look at approaches to data and testing, and a reminder that “investing after the fact is easy.” Read More

Unstructured Data Sources for New Opportunities


Take a look at how three companies are transforming unstructured data into something clean and actionable. Parrot Analytics, used by the BBC, generates a “demand rating” for TV programs. Digital Globe takes pictures of the earth. City Bldr uses algorithms to rank property sites for their redevelopment potential. More

How to Disappear in a Fog of Data (and Why)


We all know we’re being tracked, but beyond targeted advertising, it is difficult to understand to what extent. Motherboard reviews a book that teaches us – in depth – how to obfuscate ourselves from the algorightms catching the hail of bits we produce. It’s another reminder to those of us using data to make predictions that we must be mindful of its reliability. Read More

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