ncs logo

Media

Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: Data Driven…Anything photo

Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: Data Driven…Anything

by Evan Bumann, 11/30/18

“Data-driven ______”. Fill in the blank with just about anything relevant to today’s societal events and chances are a Google search will turn up at least a few thousand examples of whatever it is you typed in. Much like other current business buzzwords (“big data”, anyone?), I see one phrase used far more often than necessary, and far too frequently in a way which is more or less redundant. “Data-driven analytics” and “data-driven decision-making” are two terms which immediately come to mind. The concept of using empirical information to make decisions is not brand new, though in present-day society... Read More >
Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: Statistical Significance photo

Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: Statistical Significance

by Isaac Freitas, 11/16/18

What’s the difference between the right amount of ketchup on a burger and too much or too little? One might think they could just eyeball what is right, but when it comes to large quantities of burgers, a specific measurable process would be needed to define what is or is not abnormal.  For those of us not making hamburgers, the same principles apply to figuring out whether a difference in any two or more groups is statistically significant.  These principles can be applied in any industry including the adult beverage industry where the origins of statistical significance found root. ... Read More >
Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: Machine Learning photo

Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: Machine Learning

by Jason Adams, 11/2/18

“In the Big Rock Candy Mountains, there’s a land that’s fair and bright….” In this song about a distant, magical place, not only is the land fair and bright, but it never rains or snows, the wind is never blowing, eggs come out of hens already soft-boiled, work never has to be done, and, among other nice things, people are free to do whatever they want there. While the song is clearly fictional, there is a Big Rock Candy Mountain of sorts that exists in the minds of many people involved in data analysis. In this “place,” every question... Read More >
The California Cannabis Authority Gains Momentum photo

The California Cannabis Authority Gains Momentum

10/31/18

In a small conference room in Yolo County last week, a number of County Supervisors, Treasurer Tax Collectors and Auditor-Controllers from around the state gathered together to talk pot. More specifically, they gathered together to talk about the numbers – cannabis permits, state cannabis licenses, tax proceeds, and how they are going to use this data to better regulate cannabis businesses in their jurisdictions. This is the California Cannabis Authority (CCA), a new Joint Powers Authority established by county governments to develop and manage a statewide database to consolidate state and local information and provide... Read More >
Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: SEO photo

Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: SEO

by Katie Orong, 10/26/18

“You have a lot of strong feelings, don’t you?” This was something a professor said to me in grad school. To be honest, he’s right. There’s a lot of things that I think are super annoying. I cannot stand Los Angeles, I don’t like capers, I think that e-books hurt your eyes and I also believe that SEO is a buzzword that needs to die in a hole…alone. I’ve been in marketing for several years now. I’ve learned about content marketing, video marketing, social media, graphic design, even managed cost-per-lead programs. But throughout my time in marketing,... Read More >
A half-banked industry — new cannabis businesses need access to financial service photo

A half-banked industry — new cannabis businesses need access to financial service

10/22/18

If you ever open a cannabis business, you will have this meeting: Some really big guys will contact you about your cash problem. A cash problem only they could solve. It will require unmarked, bullet-proof vans, guns, more big guys, and some special relationships with government officials. At one point, when you ask how they get the money through a specific checkpoint, one of them will reply, “We know a guy.” A little shaken from the mafia-like meeting, you might research why it is difficult for cannabis businesses to get typical... Read More >
Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: Proformas photo

Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: Proformas

by Mark Nassi, 10/19/18

Not all of the “buzzwords” in this series are about technology. As a CFO, my most hated buzzwords are “proforma financials.” (I’ll tackle its less attractive but equally annoying cousin “budget” in another post.) Don’t get me wrong, they are valuable, but they are definitely not the end all be all in decision making. One of the biggest misunderstandings in this process is the carefully choreographed dance behind the scenes. Understanding the different motivations of users will help you efficiently and effectively craft your projections. Proformas.  People always ask for them when you are at your busiest.  Right when you are... Read More >
Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: KYC photo

Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: KYC

by Paige Reimers, 10/12/18

Buzzwords. I heard them while I was a banker and I hear them now working  in fintech. There are PLENTY of tech terms that make my skin crawl, but the one that I hear thrown around the most is infamous for anyone who has ever worked in a financial institution. It’s something that is engrained into your job in an FI and also is one of the most overused acronyms. It’s the ever so popular KYC. KYC, or “know your customer”, was the phrase I heard most during my time in banking (besides the notorious CYA, “cover your ass…ets”). It is... Read More >
Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: Big Data – Understanding the Myth photo

Buzzwords & Bullsh!t: Big Data – Understanding the Myth

by Adam Crabtree, 10/5/18

 “Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it.”    This all-too-true analogy is attributed to Duke Professor Dan Ariely. Big Data, its connotations, and its often-incorrect implications, also are a pet-peeve of mine. This week’s diatribe will hopefully demystify Big Data, as well as give a functional, albeit basic, understanding of what Big Data is. A later installment will examine what it can and can’t do. Big Data is one of those terms that everyone says but no one... Read More >
Buzzwords & Bullsh!t photo

Buzzwords & Bullsh!t

by Adam Crabtree, 9/28/18

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools speak because they have to say something.”      -Plato The goal of the NCS blog series has been to give the reader unique insights, be it into the startup life through “Founders Corner”  or a better understanding of a specific methodology or treatment through “Nerding Out” . Well this new series “Buzzwords and BullSh!t” is no different, just slightly more cynical. The goal of this series is to take a hard look at some of the most talked about technology, explain in common terms what it can do, what... Read More >
Take a Snapshot: Using Vector & Raster Data in Mapping photo

Take a Snapshot: Using Vector & Raster Data in Mapping

by Evan Bumann, 9/21/18

Spatial relationships have been and always will be a relevant part of life; any piece of data which can be observed in space and time can be mapped and visualized. This geospatial data is typically stored in one of two forms: raster and vector. Raster data is organized as a grid, every square of which is consistent in size and tied to a geographical reference point in space at a specific time. Geographic data of this type is often multispectral or hyperspectral imagery acquired via aircraft or satellite (think of an aerial map). The terms Multi- and hyperspectral refer to the... Read More >
Unique Program to Track and Trace Dollars in CA Could Pave the Way for a Banking Solution in the US photo

Unique Program to Track and Trace Dollars in CA Could Pave the Way for a Banking Solution in the US

9/13/18

State and local governments vary greatly in their ability to attract and compensate regulatory personnel that bring institutional knowledge and experience to regulate the nascent Cannabis Industry in their respective spheres of influence. Think about it, the challenge for any state or local government is to find and afford people with the experience and the know how to anticipate their regulatory needs as well as the necessary skill sets to accomplish the job. This generally means poaching from state regulatory personnel in existing legal markets or from the ranks of the private cannabis licensed companies where the upside return can... Read More >
Some Models Don’t Tell the Truth – Using Statistical Models Realistically photo

Some Models Don’t Tell the Truth – Using Statistical Models Realistically

by Jason Adams, 9/7/18

“All models are wrong, but some are useful.” This quote, well-known to statisticians, comes from one of the most influential figures in statistics, George Box. The point that Box was making is one that is misunderstood by many data analysts, from novices to experienced researchers: every statistical model is an approximation to reality. To understand how an approximation to reality can still be useful, consider the two models visualized in the following figure.   Knowing that both of these models come from the same data set, a... Read More >
How to Tell if You’re Banking a Pot Business photo

How to Tell if You’re Banking a Pot Business

by Katie Orong, 8/27/18

Though established over 70 years ago, Salal Credit Union in Seattle only began exploring business banking in 2012. And at first, it took clients at their word. “We were still in the infancy of our business banking growth,” said Russell Rosendal, chief executive and president of the $594 million-asset credit union. “They might say that they were a flower business or something like that.” Due diligence afterward caught customers that didn’t disclose they were in fact selling medicinal marijuana (legalized in Washington state for medical purposes in 1998 and for recreational use in 2012), but the issuance of the Cole Memo persuaded... Read More >
How to Use Regression and Classification in the Regulatory Space photo

How to Use Regression and Classification in the Regulatory Space

by Adam Zukowski, 8/24/18

When it comes to analyzing data there are a variety of methods that can be used. But most applications of data analytics today fall under one of two categories: regression and classification. Regression is the process of using past data to predict the future value of a continuous numerical variable. This can include anything from predicting a stock’s price next week to predicting how many people will be infected by an epidemic. Classification, on the other hand, is the process of using past data to place data points into discrete categories.... Read More >
Qualitative vs. Quantitative: Which Method Should You Use? photo

Qualitative vs. Quantitative: Which Method Should You Use?

by Isaac Freitas, 8/10/18

Any analytics project, whether analyzing for compliance in cannabis regulations or measuring market dynamics over time, begins through understanding the data available. Data can be placed broadly into two categories: quantitative and qualitative. These categories determine whether statistical and/or mathematical techniques are appropriate for the research. Quantitative data encompasses any information represented in a numeric form, such as integers for a count of plants, or continuous intervals or ratios, like a measure of weight or a percentage. Reliable quantitative data has more precision, leading to more defensible results (e.g., there are two plants per square foot). Quantitative data can be used... Read More >
How to Do a 30 Second “Elevator Pitch” when Everything Your Company Does is CONFIDENTIAL photo

How to Do a 30 Second “Elevator Pitch” when Everything Your Company Does is CONFIDENTIAL

by Lew Wilks, 7/26/18

Businesses are often faced with the challenge of doing a concise value proposition, commonly referred to as the “elevator pitch”.  This is especially true for start-ups!  Fairly often for companies who deal with highly confidential technologies and market data, even the basic value proposition has to remain somewhat veiled because disclosure can compromise the integrity of the model, the value of the design or the secrecy and protection of the users and stakeholders. First, never underestimate the power and importance of intrigue as a value unto itself.  I have found most people want access to something that others cannot obtain.  By... Read More >
Pot banking regtech is ready for its moment photo

Pot banking regtech is ready for its moment

7/25/18

By Nathan DiCamillo For startups developing regulation technology for financial institutions that do business with marijuana firms, there’s one clear upside to the fact that medical marijuana remains illegal under federal law. “We don't have the traditional pressures from the large scale tech players because they don't come in and play,” said Adam Crabtree, founder and CEO of NCS Analytics, a platform that tracks high-risk industries for government customers. “We all got to come into this space, grow and adapt without the big traditional tech monsters. … IBM’s Watson isn’t hopping into the cannabis industry anytime soon.” Free to bloom without fear of... Read More >
People Lie, but Data Does Not photo

People Lie, but Data Does Not

by Mark Nassi, 7/11/18

If there’s one thing that drives me nuts about parenting, it’s lies. Me: Who left one spoonful of ice cream in the container? Kids: Wasn’t me Me: Who was using my tablet? I know I wasn’t playing Fortnite. Kids: Wasn’t me Me: Where did you get all those packets of sugar that are now empty and on the floor in your room? Kids: What sugar? I feel like I’m constantly saying to them, “Just tell me the truth. It’s far worse to tell me a lie than to tell me you wanted to play video games, so you snuck to the basement.” But this hasn't made a... Read More >
Founder’s Corner: What’s in a Name? photo

Founder’s Corner: What’s in a Name?

by Adam Crabtree, 7/6/18

What’s in a name? Over 400 years ago, William Shakespeare posed this question in his romantic tragedy, “Romeo and Juliet.”  He followed up that question with the proclamation that a rose, by any other name, would still, in fact, smell the exact same. I’m paraphrasing, of course.  “But Adam,” you might be asking yourself, “what does this have to do with NCS?” Our name is the issue at hand. As we have grown, expanded and evolved as a company Nationwide Compliance Specialists just doesn’t really “fit” us anymore. As we grew, I caught myself more and more shortening it to just “NCS,”... Read More >
Founder’s Corner: the Standard Introduction photo

Founder’s Corner: the Standard Introduction

by Adam Crabtree, 6/27/18

As the title would suggest, the point of this very first blog post isn’t so much to shock, entertain or motivate, but more so I can introduce/warn you about what you can expect here in this new blog series. I would assume that if you have made it this deep into our website you are already familiar with who I am, but on the off chance you aren’t, my name is Adam Crabtree and I am the Founder and CEO of NCS Analytics, or more commonly just NCS. NCS is an an advanced analytics company focused on applying our patent-pending predictive... Read More >
Reports from New Mexico’s seed-to-sale tracking system…. photo

Reports from New Mexico’s seed-to-sale tracking system….

by Adam Crabtree, 5/26/17

Why is a compliance component necessary, along with seed-to-sale tracking? At Nationwide Compliance Specialists (NCS) we use our proprietary advanced analytics tool to identify concerning trends in real-time, catch bad actors, keep communities safe, and identify sustainable solutions to ensure clients are both compliant and protected. Not to mention – compliance efforts also help states capture revenue. It’s not about being “for” or “against” legalization – it’s about ensuring states and local governments are advised on best practice. Yes, the differences flagged in the seed-to-sale tracking system could be simple mistakes; however, without proper data analytics, we’ll continue to see discrepancies like these... Read More >
Provided the bill passes, Vermont will be the third state in the northeast to pass marijuana legalization photo

Provided the bill passes, Vermont will be the third state in the northeast to pass marijuana legalization

by Adam Crabtree, 5/17/17

Nationwide Compliance Specialists (NCS) has an unparalleled understanding of the ins and outs of the legalization process. As lawmakers, like those in the Green Mountain State, work on legislation tied to marijuana legalization, it is NCS’ primary goal to use our proprietary advanced analytics tool to: Assist in compliance Support auditors/enforcement agents in catching fraud and concerning trends Help states capture revenue NCS is comprised of a team of cannabis experts – from the compliance, banking, and enforcement realms – who, to be clear, are neither for nor against legalization. It is, however, the opinion of NCS that if legalization is going to move... Read More >