State of mind
Above is the first panel of a comic I found on 9gag. You can see it whole here. http://9gag.com/gag/anBZgYz
It is about the state of mind of a statician regarding a simple yes-no question and I’m not sure if it is accurate of not, I just found it funny. Nevertheless, it illustrate a point about how “normal” people see statistics.
You know, “normal” people think a 60% chance is less than a 70% chance, but when you have to make a yes-no decision, it all depends on the environment. For instance, you cannot launch a product with a 75% approval rating. That is not good enough to tip the balance in your favor, when the current products have 100% approval rating in the cash register. You need at least 80% of approval, guessing that current products are not 100% satisfactory for the clients. If not, you need 20% price discount to have a chance. It is as simple as that.
That’s why you cannot rely only in “cold numbers” to make decisions. You have to listen to them. The woman in the cartoon is looking for objections above one sigma to stop the marriage and it is funny how the cartoonist choose that number. You know, dispersion is like looking a jello pudding. Less disperse is a more “solid” pudding, more disperse is a wobbly pudding. One sigma objection would mean the marriage is shakeing more than the average and they should not marry. Or maybe they will.
Most marriages and most business these days are more shakeing than before. In today’s environment you cannot expect 100% acceptance in marriage or in the market. And with marriages lasting less than the average product, maybe you can launch a product with “more than one sigma” objections, if you want to take the chance and you can afford divorce.
Maybe I’m the only one who find these funny.