Saturday, January 22, 2011

Quantificators

Everyone wants a yardstick.  For better or worse, we are data intensive, analysis driven decision makers. We want the facts, statistically derived, right here, right now and in living color, indisputable, irrefutable facts.  It bears repeating that facts are only as good as the sensors that collect the data (and tuning sensors will always cause blind spots), as well as the ability to derive insight from the collected data.  

Data is also very time sensitive.  Trending information for a year is fine, unless you want to act on it.  By the time you set plans in motion to catch, forestall, or otherwise exploit the newfound information, you are already too late - unless what you are analyzing is relatively static.  Considering the rate at which things change, this seems to exclude using data for any really useful planning. 

Analyst:     “We are trending left.”
CEO:        “Good Information.” – turning to product development – “Develop something for the left.”
ProdDev:  “Will do!” - tick tock, tick tock - “We have something for the left.”
Analyst:     “We are trending right.”

Perhaps this is why we use industry analysts to sound off about future happenings, so we can get in front of trends and make intelligent decisions on trends that ultimately die on the vine, stall out, under deliver or morph into something pretty much the same - but different enough that we have to reinvest in new technologies.   

CIO:      “What do we need?”
Tech:      “Fog Machines will solve our problems!”
Analyst:  "What’s your biggest priority next year?”
CIO:      “Fog Machines.”
Analyst publication – “80% of CIOs place Fog Machines as their top priority for next year.”

This seems a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy.


I am not suggesting that everyone wait until a technology is main stream, though this is a strategy many companies adopt, and I would never think of denying you your fairly insignificant first mover’s advantage.  In the end I really don’t know what I’m saying.  Except that markets are often so rapidly changing, ambiguous and unpredictable and that the best way forward is to take a step and check things out.  If you like it, take another step, if not, turn and take a step...



Michael

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