Lemon #90. The size instinct

Lemon #90. The instinct

While Reading “Factfulness” from Hans Rosling we learned about the Size Instinct and its implications. 

We tend to get things out of proportions because we tend not to compare the numbers given.  Never, ever leave a number all by itself. Never believe that one number on its own can be meaningful. 

In 2016, 4.2 million babies died worldwide. What are your feelings about this numbers?

Probably, you are feeling that this number is terrible. 

However, remember than things can be bad and better, and the number of dead babies was 14.4 million in 1950. In fact, there has never been a lower number since the measuring begin.  With this extra information, our perception changes. 

To control the size instinct: 

  • Avoid lonely numbers
  • Compare it with something relevant. For example, CAC and LTV.
  • 80/20 rule: We tend to assume that all items are equally important but usually just a few of them are more important than all the others put together. 
  • Divide: Amounts versus rates can tell vastly different stories. Rates are more meaningful, especially when comparing between different-sized groups. 

Factfulness is recognizing when a lonely number seems impressive and remembering that you could get the opposite impression if it were compared with or divided by some other relevant numbers.

Hans Rosling @ Factfulness.

Josep Guitart

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