Musings, streams and flashes

November 1, 2007

Johnson’s World by Steve Johnson

I see more and more of phrases of this ilk cropping up: “A Google search on ‘direct mail’ gives 355 million results. Obviously you cannot afford to overlook such a hot market.”

We're supposed to conclude that this means direct mail is incredibly important because of all the search results.

I just did a Google search on “lima bean” and found 1.2 million+ results. In spite of this rockhard statistic, I see very few successful eating establishments rushing to showcase the lima bean on their menu.

The moral: Take statistics with a grain of salt — especially when the statistic is utterly irrelevant.

It reminds me of the old maxim, “Don't worry about what people think. They don't do it very often.”

If recycled paper usage continues to increase at the current rate, the entire world will be overrun with trees by the year 2078, and there won't be any place left on the ground for people to stand.

Hard to believe? I hope so; I just made that one up. I followed another old maxim, “The more outrageous or stupid something sounds, the more believable it becomes to most people.”

No matter what facts, figures, ratios and statistics you are presented with, make your business decisions by first weighing the figures. Once you've validated the fact, next be sure they are applicable to your business situation.

The alternative is the fate of one lemming, who turned to another and remarked, “The water we're all about to plunge into is an average of only three inches in depth.” Think about it.