Q: What is/are your current area(s) of research? What business challenges are you helping to solve?
A: My ongoing research falls into three intersecting streams. In the first stream, I focus on mechanism design issues in online contexts, such as how to allocate online advertising resources and how to efficiently assign individuals to jobs via dynamic auctions while preserving their privacy. I also examine how social networking interacts with economic decisions in online marketplaces such as peer-to-peer lending markets and open innovation. Finally, I examine gamification designs that can engage individuals in positive behaviors such as in learning and healthier lifestyle.
Q: What current business issues or stories in the news are you following and why?
A: I generally follow business and technology stores related to my research and teaching. Most recently, my favorite subject is gamification and big data. For example, Philip has made a toothbrush that links up with a Mobile App Bluetooth, so that kids can brush their teeth and get points. The app is so popular that some parents start worrying that their kids brush their teeth too often. Stories like this fascinate me because many areas such as wellness, training, and participation in online platform desperately need engagement like this. I follow big data news because I teach a big data course. My students and I use an online forum to trade such news and learn from each other.
Q: What is your favorite class to teach?
A: I generally embrace hands-on problem-solving courses. My new favorite is a newly developed harvesting big data course, offered to Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) students. In this course, we get exposed to the fundamental concepts and recent developments in big data, and build our skills in big data analytics. The subject is so different from other courses, and it is almost always an eye-opening experiences.
Q: If you weren’t a business school professor, what would you be doing?
A: I would probably be a computer scientist to release my inner geek.
Q: What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
A: Shhh, I haven’t read a book from end to end for a long time.