Hey, I love analytics. Two of my clients produce analytics software. Their products provide tremendous value to their customers in terms of insight and decision support.
Plus, their technology is slick as a trick and cool as ice.
So don't get me wrong.
But when I read an article in the current issue of ASTD's
Learning and Development, I had to wonder about taking analytics too far. The
article, by Ellen Wagner, is about learning analytics, but it references a 2009 blog post by Douglas Bowman former graphic design leader at Google as to why he left that company.
Bowman says in part:
Yes, it’s true that a team at Google couldn’t decide between
two blues, so they’re testing 41 shades between each blue to see which one
performs better. I had a recent debate over whether a border should be 3, 4 or
5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case.
Bowman concludes by saying he would not miss operating
"under the sword of data."
Like I said, I love analytics. And far be it from me to
suggest Google may be wrong about anything. They seem to be a fairly successful
But Sheesh, if your
team can't decide on whether a line should be three or four pixels wide, has
the reliance on data maybe gone a little too far? Even with the smartest
analytcis tools, who has time to test every detail? (Other than Google
At some level of granularity, don't you have to just trust
people to make decisions?
I don't know, I'm asking.
5 hours ago