Monthly Archives: August 2014

Data is data

Data is the results section of a scientific paper.
Data is a graph on the dashboard.
Data is a powerful motivator when it puts what we already know about ourselves in numbers.
Data is necessarily biased because it cannot exist in a vacuum.
Data is rarely perfect or complete.
Data is the Wizard of Oz in whom we only see that which we desire to see.
Data is not meaning.
Data is not opinion.
Data is not a mirror mirror on the wall to reveal the hidden truth in it all.

At the end of the day, data is data. It’s people who write the Discussion sections.
People draw conclusions from analytics.
It’s people who create meanings.  People who form opinions.

Don’t confuse the two.

Sometimes it’s okay to just come up with an answer

Humans are lazy.  We don’t like to think hard.  Proven. In this smart guy’s book.

But sometimes people take brilliant decision science theories too far.

It’s true that very few decisions in this world can be made as black-and-white, but most of us find making a decision using black-and-white terms much easier than by “weighing all the pros and cons.”  This phenomenon is well studied and is called heuristics or attribute substitution – we make decisions by replacing a hard question with an easier one (subconsciously).

Case in point:  Continue reading