Archives for posts with tag: facts

Statistical sophistry? What on earth do I mean by statistical sophistry, other than repeating it for improved SEO purposes?

Well, one of the first things we should all learn about statistics is that you can pretty much use them to illustrate any point you like. People use them all the time, because they add a layer of credibility to an argument or case. We’ve all heard the phrase that 48% of all statistics are made up on the spot – feel free to insert your own stat as you read this – but the dangerous thing about statistics is that they can be created, skewed and twisted to serve any purpose. You only have to ask the global political establishment.

Then there’s the sophistry. They used to bandy the term about in Ancient Greece to draw the differences between genuine philosophers and thinkers and the sophists who argued for the sake of things, using trickery, guile and superficial nonsense to dupe their audiences. I originally typed ‘dope’ there my mistake; maybe the typo is more accurate.

The key to interpreting all statistics is to look behind the numbers. What do they really mean? How were they arrived at? What was the sample size? How rigorous was the analysis? How objective was the work, or was it done to justify a preconceived view? Often you can’t answer all these questions, but it still pays to look behind the numbers and peer into the ‘why is information being presented to me in this way?’ abyss.

Just because you use a stat, doesn’t mean it’s true. People who use statistics responsibly and clearly are edifying and educating us. People who use them to distract or obfuscate are not. It’s up to us to keep our wits about us to distinguish the true philosophers from the sophists.


In the seventh B2B product launch process step, we reviewed the outcomes of our efforts and hopefully learned some lessons to help us improve the next time.

So what’s the eighth B2B product launch process step? It’s the same as the last step of the B2B marketing process, the B2B buying process, and the B2B sales process. It’s back to the beginning, to the first step.

The cycle of the B2B product launch process is complete. As at the very beginning, we need to check our facts. We’re onto a new project, a new product launch, step one of a new launch process. Off we go – again!

OK, so you’ve seen the signed-off roadmap, or heard about the launch, or perhaps you’re already involved in the earlier steps of the product management lifecycle. Regardless of your personal situation, the first step in the B2B product launch process is this – check your facts.

Sounds obvious doesn’t it? It is, but not everyone does it. Here are some facts you want to consider before anything else:

  • Who’s on the launch team? Who’s the executive sponsor? Who’ll work on the project day-to-day? Who’s project managing the launch? You need a good project manager with good communication skills to stay on track. If it’s you project managing it, great 🙂
  • What are the milestone dates? When will development be done? When will you alpha and / or beta the product? To whom? Work back from when you plan to GA (make the product Generally Available) and build in buffer at every stage
  • How much of the strategy is done? Have you sight of a business case document so you can understand the market analysis, objectives, pricing, positioning, features, benefits etc?
  • What other background documentation is there to help you build a picture? The more there is, the less you need to create, and the less time you need to make with people to interview them for the background, their insight and preferences
  • When’s the launch kick-off call? If one isn’t organised, apply pressure for it

Get armed with these facts and you’ve already won half the battle.

Do you remember in the old days of business training? There used to be a phrase, still prevalent today, that ‘to assume makes an ass out of u and me’. We were told never to assume.

This for me is not only out of date, but it’s plain wrong. It should be consigned to the era of conforming, regimentation, uniformity. The era that’s not the era we’re in.

Life’s too short, and the business world moves too fast, for us not to assume. There is too much complexity, too many variables, too little time for us to not to do otherwise, unless we want to left behind with the also rans. And who wants to be an also ran? They have neither choice nor control.

My advice on assuming is this:

– assume, whenever you can

– the first law of management is to check your facts, so do that if it’s possible, and do it quickly and effectively

– then make assumptions around what you don’t know, based on your experience, your gut feel, and preferably both

– then make that decision quickly and confidently

Assuming helps us make quick decisions, wrong decisions, fail more quickly, and learn and improve more quickly.