Working daily with people who are trying to measure and understand their world through the use of technology and BI methodologies I often hear lots of “things” that are important to determine.

  • What is this years top 5 products and what is their annual sales growth for the last 5 years?
  • Which company division has the most profitable customers, and which division has least profitable customers?
  • What time of day, in a registered website visitors home time zone are pages viewed on our website split by category?

In other words, there are some very specific things people want to know and brag about both within the company and externally to investors, analysts, and the media.

This predisposes me to question numbers I hear anywhere. What’s the qualification, what little keyword allows this company to say they are the top in their cateogory? Company XYZ is the Number 1 in Sales (in Asia Pacific small to midsized healthcare providers not owned by government and groups exceeding 1billion market cap for fiscal year 2003). We’ve all seen it…

One of my online music stations had a refreshingly simple claim to fame today that made me laugh out loud:

“Total Country. Rated #1 amoungst people who really like us!”

A refreshingly honest figure!

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