Having a good day?

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” ~ Steve Jobs

Today we look at one simple trick you can use to raise productivity, quality and customer satisfaction while simultaneously reducing absenteeism, attrition, shrinkage and even safety incidents. Find out how after the break.

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How many Countries in Africa?

“The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he’s one who asks the right questions.” ~ Claude Lévi-Strauss

If you don’t know the answer to the question in the title then you’re far from alone –please don’t google it just yet!

So, imagine you’re observing a study. There are two groups that are separately given the same task, to collectively decide whether the number of countries in Africa is more or less than a certain provided value. One group are asked “Are there more or less than 20 countries?” for the other group the provided number is 40. Lets look at how this is done and how the groups differed.

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So what?!

“The purpose of computing is insight, not numbers.” ~ Richard Hamming

In the manifestos of most analytical teams and thousands of analyst job specs the words “deliver insight” ring proud. This is surely what we all aspire to do. It’s such a powerful word. Insight. Being insightful. It conjures images of wisdom and intellect beyond the ken of normal man.

But what really is it?

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Accuracy Vs Precision

“If you don’t know the answer, just guess and use two decimal places. Nobody will question it.” ~ Anonymous previous manager of mine

As analysts I’m sure we all feel the draw to improve the accuracy of any figures we provide. It’s all too easy, however to confuse precision with accuracy. Unfortunately this is at least as true for the people we deliver to as it is for us. I wouldn’t advocate following the advice in the quote above (despite having received it myself!) but it is all too likely to be effective…   for a while.

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Data Chewing

What’s this? A new blog?
Have you ever had one of those conversations where you’re really nerding out about some awesome interesting subject but the person you’re talking to has started to just nod along and look for the exits? If you’re a data analyst I’m going to bet the answer is yes. Unfortunately we can’t expect everyone to be super excited about how Richenbach’s Principle relates to operational performance or the merits of in-memory data and schema-on-read systems. I don’t know why some people find this stuff dull, but apparently they do. So here’s a new blog, somewhere I can write this stuff down, get it off my chest. Then maybe at dinner parties I can simply hand out business cards with this blog address instead.

What’s with the title?
I’m a big fan of Calvin and Hobbes and when looking about for a title I came across this strip. It’s part of a short series (click for the link) that really encapsulates the excitement and enthusiasm someone can have about a topic others just don’t see the appeal of. I figured that would do.