Frankie Colclough – This man taught me the art of prediction….. #bigdata

This is my dear friend Frankie. He’s not a data scientist (that I’m aware of), nor is he a programmer (that I’m aware of) but looking back over the years this is the man who taught me the art of prediction with data.


We worked together in a record shop and his knowledge is encyclopaedic. Anyone who has visited the Eleanor Arms will see from the CD collection for the Minestrone Of Sound.  So from late 1991 – 1995 I learned the art of working in a record shop. Key objective, don’t get lumped with stock you’ll never sell especially when it with CD singles.

Knowledge takes time but you can monitor and sense what’s going on in a Nate Silver kinda way, if you can see the patterns of the past that sort of gives you a sense for the next week, two weeks at a push. It’s not rocket science.

Each CD had a card and it listed the date and quantity of that product that came in. From that card, watching shoppers and generally sense what was playing on the radio (and the record company reps coming in) we built up the order. This vital data drives your order, to few and customers will go elsewhere and buy, too many and you’re left with an overstock when the record dips out of the top ten.  Once a record dives, it dives quick.  Remember we weren’t dealing with computers or multiple POS reporting. This was all done by hand with a large doses of head, heart and gut reaction.

He also taught me how to tune the shopping area to the type of customer who was in. Slap a Daniel O’Donnell CD when you see a bus tour past, it does not fail. Stick it a on video wall and it was one of the most strangest sights I’ve ever seen.

Like cinema there were numerous new products coming out every week so what to choose, what to get a couple of and what to ignore is truly an art.

Frankie taught me and I learned the hard way but he was gracious enough to give room to make the odd mistake. Fact of life it’s going to happen. The long hours during Christmas, the odd customers, I’m still asked to recall stories of working in a record shop, I loved it.

He also introduced me to the music of Curtis Magee….. but I think that’s another story for another day.

Thanks Frankie 🙂

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