How to make practical sense of data (and win a book)
Jun 14, 2011 1:43 PM
Kaiser Fung is a statistician with more than a decade of experience in applying statistical methods to unlocking the relationship between marketing and customer behaviors. He leads a team of statisticians at Sirius XM Radio responsible for gaining insight into customers and operational best practices.
You may know him from his popular blog, Junk Charts, which pioneered the critical examination of data and graphics in the mass media. He was also a keynote speaker at the JMPDiscovery Summit in 2010, at which he gave a speech that asked “What Happens After the Math Is Done?” And he is author of the book Numbers Rule Your World. (We've got 25 signed copies for a special JMP Blog giveaway. Details are below.)
Information-design guru Edward Tufte threatens that every time someone gives a PowerPoint presentation, he will kill a kitten. Kaiser Fung knows Tufte is only kidding, but Fung is still concerned.
Fung has seen too much not to be concerned – too many slides jammed with absurd amalgamations of information.
There’s so much information to ponder, so readily at hand. But insights are often lost in the clutter or lack practical value.
Don’t get Fung wrong: He is in favor of data and data-driven decision making. He worries about how presenters lose the audience when conveying quantitative information.
“A lot of things are needed in order to bring insights about numbers to the point where you can get nontechnical people to move in a direction that is essentially driven by evidence and not simply by data,” Fung says.
And if you are among the first 25 people to comment on this blog post explaining your strategies for promoting data-driven business decision making in your organization, you could win a signed hardcover copy of Fung's book, Numbers Rule Your World. Your contribution to this discussion should be between 50 and 75 words long. Be sure to enter your e-mail address when you write your comment so we can contact you if you are a winner. Only one book per commenter.