Sometimes, the Data DOES Paint a Clear Picture
By Tim Wilson on in Analysis, Data Visualization with 5 Comments
I’ll admit right up front that this is the least value-add post on this blog to date. Part of me sincerely hopes that it holds that distinction indefinitely. But, I know me better than that, so no promises.
We all have them. Those moments where someone says something — in person, in an e-mail, in an instant message — that triggers a completely random, but oddly inspired, response.
What happened: One of my pet peeves is the cliche, “If you can’t measure it, don’t do it.” It sounds good, but I challenge any company to fully apply this overly simplistic maxim and survive. I’m all for having a bias towards measurement, but I get nervous when people speak in absolutes like this.
Earlier this week, I fired off an internal e-mail proposing an initiative that was extremely low cost that seemed like a good idea to me. It really wasn’t an initiative where it made sense to try to quantify the benefits, though. I made a comment as such in the e-mail — that, despite it not being practical to measure the results, I still thought it was a good idea. (I was having one of the 15-20 snarky moments I have throughout any given day.) Two of the five people on the distribution list immediately responded with demands for an ROI estimate.
10 minutes later, and I’d fashioned the following chart in Excel and responded to the group with my analysis:
Everyone had a good chuckle.
Here’s the spreadsheet file itself. It’s as clean as clean can be, so feel free to snag it and put it to your own use. If you put it to use with entertaining results, I’d appreciate a quick comment with the tale. Or, if you make modifications to enhance the end result, I’d love to get a copy.