Data Mining Interview: Guillaume Main

May 26, 2011
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portrait_gmGuillaume Main is the creator of Statosphère, one of the most famous blog about statistics in France. He accepted to answer the questions of Data Mining Research. I’m very happy to have a french point of view on statistics and analytics. Thanks for your answers Guillaume!

portrait_gmGuillaume Main is the creator of Statosphère, one of the most famous blog about statistics in France. He accepted to answer the questions of Data Mining Research. I’m very happy to have a french point of view on statistics and analytics. Thanks for your answers Guillaume!

Data Mining Research: Could you introduce yourself and explain your way to statistics?

Guillaume Main (GM): Hello Sandro ! My name is Guillaume and I’m working in statistics and webanalytics. Today, i’m a consultant in statistics as a freelance and in webanalytics as an employee in a parisian web agency. Both are really exciting. In the past, I have been working as a responsible for data processing for 7 years : my mission was to make samples for surveys (with quota sampling, population representative data…) in TNS SOFRES, the pollster. Afterwards, I have been working as an online programmer in OpinionWay for one year. My mission was to create online surveys (with complex filters, open and closed questions, multiple choice questions, double entry table etc…). Now, my job in webanalytics is interesting too : it deals with eMarketing and many others e-things like conversion optimization or trafic management.

DMR: What is Statosphere and why this name?

GM: Statosphere.fr is a blog dealing with everything that has to do with statistics : all kind of statistics, surveys, opinion polls, web trends, predictive model, the numbers of social networks and many other things. I founded Statosphere in February 2009 while I was unemployed. This name is a mix between Statistics and Sphere : initially, my goal was to introduce my readers to the world of statistics. Today, Statosphere is a good way to find prospects for my freelance activities. It also helped me a lot as a great showcase and resume of what I’m able to do on the way to get a job during my period of unemployment.

DMR: What is StatBase and who is it for?

GM: Initially, I wanted StatBase to be a service similar to what Google did with his tool Google Internet Stats, but in a french way. Unfortunately, it didn’t work very well and very few people seemed interested in it. I must say that it was difficult to update, every week, and I didn’t find a good solution to automate StatBase. Globally, it’s also quite complicated to get the French to contribute to something online : they need a carrot. That’s the reason why I’m thinking about a new tool that would be a custom market search-engine to be aware with pollster’s activities.

DMR: What is the status of statistics in France (industry/research)?

GM: In France, most people are confusing statistics with polls. Some other people are considering statistics as if that was something like astrology or prediction. Fortunately, most international industries in France know that statistics are necessary for their business : pharmacy industry, bank, insurance, quality control etc… There is no real statistical culture in France. As we are sadly used to say, France is five years behind USA. Actually, let me be more optimistic : things are moving these days. For example, data journalism is rising and government is finally recognizing the value of open data. Things are going slowly but surely.

Guillaume Main, statistical consultant & blogger