Posted by: shoji | October 3, 2007

Follow the data

What data would suffice to make you abandon your belief?

I used this quote from Derek Lowe in a previous post called Thimerosal redux. It’s rather salient given the comments elicited in my post on Smoking bans (which, unfortunately, moved away from data-based arguments at times).

Blogger/writer/entrepreneur Ramit Sethi posted on data and experimentation in his blog (below). Click on the link to read a list of examples on following the data including:

  • Dr. Susan Blackmore writes a gut-wrenchingly honest account of why she’s given up her life’s work of chasing paranormal activity. The short version: She went with the data.

There’s one HUGE caveat to following the data: interpretation. More on interpretation later.

I Will Teach You To Be Rich » How a beggar in Grenada uses data to optimize donations
The key was incremental improvement every day through data. He had hunches that he subjected to testing, not handwaving. This is one key differentiator that, I believe, allows people to be an entrepreneur, by which I mean having a disproportionate impact that’s larger than the average person. Instead of just going on gut, they make lots of small, incremental improvements, measuring each one along the way.

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