Don’t Base Business Decisions on Data and Statistics Alone 1

Here’s another great lesson in not believing so-called data, statistics and research.

  1. News media follow a Facebook report with headlines on Facebook losing users.
  2. It turns out that the actual data showed a decline in web views more than compensated by increases in mobile views. Facebook Usage via Huffington Post Craig Kanally

The chart here—with my thanks to Craig Kanalley who posted about this in Those Reports About Facebook Losing A Ton Of Users Are Bogus on the Huffington Post—show what’s really going on. But headlines talked about Facebook losing users and published analysis conjectured about Facebook having reached its peak.

My point:

“There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.” (Mark Twain)

Data is good as an input to decisions. But don’t just believe it. Don’t make business decisions based on data alone, without reviewing the guts of the data, and subjecting it to your own good judgment. Does it make sense? Are there holes? Does it show what you see with your naked eye?

About the Author Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Follow him on Twitter @Timberry. Follow Tim on Google+ Read more »

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  • Stephen Lahey

    Interesting. Well, then I’m guessing that advertising to mobile users is major focus at Facebook. It will be interesting to see how they approach that challenge over time.