Dumb Numbers

(Reading Time: 3 minutes)
Nate Silver knows a smart number from a dumb one.

In the months leading up to Tuesday’s presidential election, the major news networks regularly presented the results of polls of the popular vote.

Funny thing, though – here in America, we don’t elect candidates based on the popular vote.  We have an Electoral College.

A poll of the national popular vote is kind of a dumb number. Continue reading “Dumb Numbers”

Want Results? Get Objective.

(Reading Time: 4 minutes)

It was 1995 when the phone rang at Van Melle USA, manufacturer of Airheads and Mentos candies. A reporter from a major advertising industry publication was calling Liam Killeen, Van Melle’s vice president of marketing.

The reason?  To inform him that a panel of big-agency creative directors had just voted the Mentos ads the worst of the year. So, the reporter asked, did Liam have any plans to kill the campaign?

“Yes, we absolutely do,” said Liam.

The reporter began to make some noises about what a smart decision that was, but Liam interrupted him. Continue reading “Want Results? Get Objective.”