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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.

Blackrock Builds Robots

Institutional Investor

It’s amazing how much news we find about the most powerful investors ramping up their investments in data. Last week it was Tudor; this week it’s BlackRock. In fact, the company’s 1500 strong Aladdin product group sounds suspiciously like a giant laboratory building nothing short of robots to make trading decisions. And it’s all in support of the oft-repeated adage: “We want to find the data sources that are not well known but are in fact predictive of future returns… Read More

Big Data and Expected Returns


It’s a question we’ve asked ourselves in the past – what is the link between alternative data and insider trading? Matt Levine ponders the evolving definition of “material” information in his latest column, and gets us thinking about the “fairness” factor of alternative data. Read More

An Army of Human Data Collectors Emerges

Institutional Investor

“Nadir Khan hopes to help hedge funds and other organizations produce alpha by harnessing the power of data.” Hm. Where have we heard that before? A former SAC trader, Khan is building a data company dedicated to producing data and insights intended for fundamental stock pickers. His method? An army of human data collectors based in Karachi, where labor is cheap, who call stores around the world to pick up meaningful cues. When will they be replaced by drones? That is the question. Read More

Goldman Sachs Says They’re Still Using Sentiment Data

Business Insider

While many believe that sentiment data has lost its edge, Goldman Sachs says it’s a quant strategy they favor. As they see it, there are corners of the market that continue to be heavily informed by sentiment data and that’s not going to change anytime soon. This is either fodder for an evolving debate, or a giant red herring. We’re not sure which. Read More

Free Satellite Data Abounds

Science Business

The European Commission is calling on the private sector to dig into its vast trove of earth observation data, but few are listening. The data is free and readily available, and while the public sector is taking advantage, the private sector seems to be staying away. Why? Perhaps 5m resolution and 6-day refresh rate have something to do with it. But the Commission thinks we’re just not thinking hard enough. Read More

From Onsite Storage, to Cloud, and Back to Onsite Storage Again


For those who still aren’t convinced that the cloud is secure: Cisco seems to be listening. The company is releasing a storage-optimized system that can house massive amounts of data and function as an alternative to the public cloud. It also takes up less space, uses less power and less cabling than traditional hardware. And, apparently it’s cheaper than cloud-based storage. We wonder: what’s the catch? Read More

4 Great Infographics Produced from Data Exhaust

Barrachd Blog

Alternative data for purposes outside of investing can still offer insights. 45 years of Man Booker Prize data points made it easy to predict this year’s winner: be a man in your fifties from England writing about a man set in England in the present day. A unique look at exhaust data visualized in multiple infographics from the folks at Barrachd. Read More

More on China’s GDP Statistics

The Market Mogul

As China reports a growth rate of 6.7%, economists and analysts alike continue to be suspicious. This article claims that crowd-sourced sentiment data balances out the uncanny results. We’re obsessed with China’s secrets and convinced we can solve them with alternative data. But maybe all that effort doesn’t produce a different result. Read More

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