If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

 

The famous quote by Peter Drucker does more damage than good, in today’s context.

 

To understand this phenomenon, we have to understand a lot about the times in which it was said? It was said when Industrial manufacturing was in its glorious times or stepping into glorious times. 

 

The quote still holds its grounds if you are in manufacturing. For example, if you are manufacturing bearings, you must have a specification in place and optimising is necessary. To optimise you must measure what exists in the first place.

 

When you have the desired number and currently available number in place, in between is what needs to be the navigating area, the area that needs the work. So the quote stands its ground. 

 

Internal diameter = 28 mm and tolerance +/- 0.001 mm

External diameter = 52 mm and tolerance +/- 0.002 mm

Steel balls diameter = 6 mm and tolerance +/- 0.0005 mm

(I’m not a manufacturing expert or have been a floor manager, the above numbers may not be the right numbers. Please, take the message alone).

 

It was an Industrial economy. 

 

Today, if you are an Industrial worker, most  likely, you won’t be reading this in the first place.

 

Today we are interpreting Peter Drucker’s quote directly at face value and trying to apply it, everywhere.

 

How?

We took the management quote from the Industrial economy and applied them fully to the knowledge economy. 

 

What happened?

We have more numbers(read as data) that give any value at all but give the pleasure of measuring, seeing, feeling surprised at it. 

 

We are producing or are being sold more data than what we can handle or necessary.

 

In today’s world, data is like a river, it can only show what is there within the banks of the river.

 

In today’s knowledge economy we almost always work beyond the banks of the river. 

Data can provide within its bounds. But we see people buying into data without being aware of the bounds. Numbers also carry a context, which is often ignored or not looked into in-depth.

 

So,
  • Data killed approaches, Intuitions and frameworks.
  • People started to work where data is easily extractable. Safe.
  • Companies started to manipulate using data, just to prove their arguments.
  • Everybody is convinced to believe data. How can anyone say anything against data?

 

It continued.

 

More products with shiny dashboards are flooding the online market to produce more data. 

 

Marketing dead, data won. 

 

Today,

An estimate states that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements each day. Yes, each day

 

Because of the exposure to the overwhelming no. of ads we have also learnt to ignore them. Because we learnt to ignore, we also have no idea how many we ignore. It ranges from 4000-10000, online & offline put together. 

 

Is it not because of data?

 

Let me explain,

Facebook’s 98% of revenue is through ads.

 

What do you get when you initiate an ad campaign? A dashboard. What does it have? Many numbers aka data. It tells you who saw, who clicked, all that Facebook can throw at you in the name of data. You believe it on its face because of its numbers, its data. 

 

You also know how Google makes its revenue. 

 

Do you know, Amazon is in the ad business? We all know that they are an e-commerce giant.

 

Source: Chartr

 

It still hurts my head to see that Amazon’s ad revenue is higher than YouTube. Both are entirely 2 different platforms. One is for selling and the other is meant for consumption but the selling platform sells better ads than the consumption platform!

 

Something is wrong at the very foundation. 

 

Do I blame the platforms? Probably not. They are serving what you want them to do.

 

You want to push your products up in the search even when people want some other product. Who is wrong? rather what is wrong?

 

Why you are not on their preferred product list?

 

Google search page, a page full of search ads.

 

(This search was not done by me and I’m unable to get the geographical location where the search happened). Source: Twitter post.

 

One thing becomes clear – you cannot buy your customer. Probably the most suffered person by the data. The good thing is he/she doesn’t know it. 

 

It looks like we can have data for everything except what brings value to the customer – The primary reason that makes them buy from you.

 

What if we are measuring totally irrelevant, unnecessary data which was thrown to you because you’ve paid money?

 

 

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