Happy Springtime, Measurement People!
The NCAA does not have an exclusive on madness in March. In New England it’s the time when, after three months of winter, we turn wild-eyed and “Woods Crazy,” as songwriter/poet Bill Morrissey says.* It’s that slightly unhinged feeling you get when you’ve just finished shoveling 16 inches of heavy wet snow—and you hear there’s yet another blizzard on the way.
You start thinking it might be fun to take an axe to your house. Or your relatives…
It’s also in March that a bunch of crazies up in Alaska hitch themselves up to 16 dogs and race each other through 1,000 miles of wilderness. And of course March is the month that Irish Americans, of which I am one, put on ridiculous green outfits, consume a lot of alcohol containing green food coloring, and sing a lot in honor of a Saint.
Clearly, sanity is in short supply most everywhere in March.
Which is why we decided to spend this month’s issue tackling communications and marketing professionals’ current obsession with data. It’s kind of like green beer: almost everyone agrees that too much of it is bad for us, but that doesn’t stop us from demanding more.
Avinash Kaushik inspired our march to sanity with his post “Five Strategies for Slaying the Data Puking Dragon.” (Read it here on our site, or in its original form at Avinash’s Occam’s Razor blog.) How can you not love that title?
Sadly, the problems that Avinash helps resolve resonate all too loudly with my experiences over the last three decades. And they will definitely connect with anyone in communications measurement who is faced with too much data.
So we set out to fix it in one issue. (I told you March is a crazy time around here.) We’ve put together plenty of advice on dealing with too much data:
- Certain data problems show up again and again. Here is how to avoid or fix them: The 6 Most Common Data Problems—and Practical Tips to Fix Them
- How to Write a Communications Measurement Report that Will Tame the Data Puking Dragon
- Nothing kills a presentation like too much data. Here’s how to keep yours alive: Too Much Data Will Kill A Presentation: Here’s How to Avoid Death by PowerPoint
- Learn how to defuse this presentation bomb: When the CEO Says, “Tell Me Something I Don’t Already Know!”
- A surprisingly short list of the metrics that really count, organized by type of project: The Only Metrics You’ll Ever Need: Katie Paine’s Guide to Taming Your Data Dragon
- For you data-overload newbies, these beginner’s tips will get you off to a good start: Make Data Your Bitch: 4 Quick Tips
- Editor Bill Paarlberg writes about how our bodies deal—or not—with information overload in Our Eyes Know How to Deal With Too Much Data, But Our Brains Are Beguiled by It
- Avinash Kaushik Is Measurement Maven of the Month
- Exit Polls Are the Measurement Menace of the Month
- And finally, try your hand at a little anthropological measurement and speculate on What’s That Measurement Tool? The World’s Oldest Computational Device.
* I think you will enjoy the lyrics to Bill Morrissey’s song “Woods Crazy”:
I took a wife named Daisy many years ago
Daisy went woods crazy on the very last spring snow
Now she walks around without her clothes
She yodels through the day
I’d take to the doctor
but I like her thataway
(Graph image thanks to Let’s Graph.)