Raise your hand if you’ve ever looked up something called a Zestimate. It’s the best guess of what a particular home is worth. The online real estate company Zillow crunches data from users, and it takes market conditions and location into account to come up with it. Margins of error matter in data science, though. So the company offered $1 million to whoever figured out how to improve its Zestimate algorithm the most. Jordan Meyer, a data scientist and a member of the winning team, talked with Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal about whether he thinks there’s still room for improvement in the algorithm and why Zestimates matter. “For most people, their home is probably the most significant investment of their lives. So, you know, having the information that you might need to make an informed decision there, especially making sure that that is accurate, is going to help a lot of people invest wisely.” When asked how he plans to use his share of the prize money, Meyer said, “Well, I’m currently spending my evenings browsing Zillow for investment property.”
Click the audio player above to hear the full interview.
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.