More on data vs. information

I’ll just blast out some thoughts I had during the last few days…

  • There is no correlation between the amount or quality of data and the amount or quality of information. Example: “I don’t use a DSLR camera for filming because it’s not good enough.” This opinion (information, subjective) does not require anybody to know all the facts. Everybody has a different threshold when they feel having sufficient “information” (it’s data) to make a decision, change or define their worldview and tell themselves a story. The data which is not included in the story becomes irrelevant. Trying to persuade them differently is unlikely to yield success then.
  • On Air Promotion trailers: The less data you need make the viewer feel informed, the better. The worst thing you can do is give the audience too much data. The factual data should no more than name and time of the show. Everything else better be a story people can connect to (and for this to happen, any emotional reaction is what you want, not only positive ones). Don’t give them data, because then they’ll start putting all the input into context themselves and stop listening. You don’t want that, of course. This applies to advertising in general as well.
  • The previous part also applies to presentations. The purpose of a presentation is to give information by present data in a narrowed context. This means you (the presenter) need to boil down the data to a level as simple (yet still correct) as possible. Do not show complicated charts or graphs (and worse, reading them to the audience). What’s on the screen or whiteboard is only supplemental to your verbal argumentation. It is not the information.
  • Do we really need compilations of references? At least their compiler should have the decency not to label it a “Guide” or similar. Because it’s not. It’s a directory, index, compilation, collection. Yeah I know. People love Guides and How-To’s. People love “not getting scammed” even more.
  • We need to train and force ourselves to decide on the spot more often, because it is often that we do have enough data and information to decide on the spot, but we’ve so gotten into the habit of “digesting” and “sleeping over it” we’re just too slow.

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