Numbers I have loved
The joys and benefits of quantitative thinking and analysis
Some of these essays are about competitive strategy and strategic thinking; some are not. “Are Capitalists Copping Out?” “We Will Play Soothing, Uninterrupted Music While You Wait.” “The Formerly United States of America.” And more.
Your odds of dying as the result of an unprovoked shark attack are roughly 1 in 300,000,000 in the USA. The odds are more than 20 times higher in Australia. Therefore, if you don’t want to be killed by a shark, you should flee Australia immediately for the USA. It’s safer here, except maybe for the gun thing.
Albert Einstein said, “Things should be as simple as possible, but not simpler.” So when it comes to business decision-making, what’s too simple, what’s not simple enough, and what’s just right? We’ll investigate with Groupon, social ROI, and a strategy simulation.
Here we’ll look at people who switch, 20% liberals, a tremendous success rate, and customer satisfaction. What does that crowd have in common?
What will you experience in this essay? I don’t know. Different people read the same words and see different stories. Which, actually, is what this essay is about. Which story should we believe? In this case, about the value of hiring CEOs with experience.
People whisper to horses, dogs, and (according to TV) ghosts. Why not models? The model whisperer — perhaps you, savvy strategist — gently, wisely guides models into shape and helps them achieve fulfillment as oracles of your business’ future. (#3 in a series)
The challenge in developing an effective strategy begins long before we decide what actions to take and how to execute them. The challenge begins when we decide what model to use. By selecting a model we frame the way we see and evaluate our strategy options. (#2 in a series)
We can classify models chemically: those based on carbon and those based on silicon. The former, mental models, operate inside our heads. The latter, computer-based models, operate inside computers. They behave differently. (#1 in a series)
The presence of numbers does not guarantee insight, knowledge, or inspiration. On the other hand, the absence of numbers limits us to anecdotes, impressions, and hypotheses. So, we want numbers, and we want them not to drive us crazy.
Upcoming programs from ACS: Webinars about business war games and strategic thinking, and a workshop at the 2010 SCIP Conference entitled Numbers Gone Wild: Or, Precision In, Garbage Out.