Saturday, March 19, 2005

Statistics, analysts, and studies (oh objectivity, we hardly knew ye!)

I love statistics. Well, at least talking about them, but not calculating them. I had almost enough statistics in college to qualify for a minor in statistics. Enough to know I never wanted to calculate them for a living. One of my favorite professors had a book called "How To Lie With Statistics" that he liked to use to point out how important it was that your underlying assumptions were both solid and stated up front. Otherwise, all you had were "lies, damn lies, and statistics."

I find bosses and decision makers disturbingly mesmerized by statistics of usage, sales, and analyst quotes. Any good techie knows that what the various industry analysts have to say about products, technology companies, and how people use those company's products is often severely tilted.

Nonetheless, non-technical decision makers eat them up and make multi-million dollar decisions based on something akin to slanted gossip.

Anyway, with that being said, you will find me posting some stuff from time to time from Gartner, Radicati, and others related to messaging and Active Directory. I include Radicati because I met Sara Radicati years and years ago and have always been impressed with her.

What brought all this up? Well, analysts regularly get trashed on some of the mailing lists I am on. And, in my Exchange 2003 24seven book, I regularly used messaging-related statistics to make a point.


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