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numbers2I have been thinking about statistics…the mind works in funny ways. 

I went from noticing it was March 14, which led me to 3.14159 (and a Happy Pi Day to Everyone on Facebook)…to remembering graduate school, where I was one of the few who really enjoyed statistics class…to Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, Outliers, (  that addresses the use of language in numbers and why non-English speaking children find it easier to count (in Chinese,  22 is  “two-tens-two” instead of the English  “twenty-two” which must be converted to number symbols before it can be added)…to statistics I have been reading about China…WHEW!

I have always been fascinated by what the numbers really tell us about business. My favorite question to ask when someone refers to a number, is:  “Compared to what??”  I find that people often quote improving numbers, downturns, trends and predictions, etc, but have no idea about the context of these numbers as they relate to other processes, competitors or strategic goals.

I have also been reading a lot about statistics coming from China, published by the Chinese Government and reporters for the world press.  Who do you believe? Are there 1.3 or 1.5 billion people in China? And what does this all mean?  Is this the largest potential consumer market in the world?  Or the biggest labor force? Is the relative prosperity in the cities overshadowed by the extreme rural poverty?  What is the purpose of our questions and what is the context of the answer?

Okay, Okay…time to turn off the brain….


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