Data Indecision

Data is useful, trying to think back to the first time I made an active “Data” based decision - it was probably in high school and I decided not to go to the dance because I had just consumed an entire bottle of Tobasco sauce and my stomach hurt. That was my one data point that represented me never chugging an entire bottle of Tobasco sauce again.

The decisions we make every day are flooded with data input and output. Which party has the most people? Which product should we use to build our mobile app? Should I jump off this 40 foot cliff or not?

The first “big data” example that my Dad used to talk about was where at a convenience store, if a man bought diapers, they would also buy beer. So they moved the diapers right next to the beer, and they sold twice as much beer.

We have evolved from “Diaper/ Beer” big data. To indecision big data.

Data is everywhere now. Our iPhone follows us, Facebook tracks us, analytics is a necessity not a nice to have.

But more and more often, I sense that entrepreneurs won’t make decisions on their startups because they don’t have enough data to back it up one way or another. In a startup, data can become the enemy. People will use it to carve a story, to support their decisions, it can become something to blame, rather than something that directs you.

In a startup, you need to make decisions to survive.

“In life there are two kinds of decisions 51/49, and 70/30. So the first thing you need to do is get enough facts to decide what kind of decision it is.” - Mike Maples quoting his Dad, Mike Maples Sr.

A majority of the decisions are 51/49, because of the enormous dependents on data collection of today, people paralyze their decision making and constantly feel that they are making 70/30 decisions, when they are really only making a 50/49 decisions. and The most important part is just to make a decision and keep moving. Time becomes the enemy in a startup. Indecision kills companies faster than anything else.

One of the Boost VC startups called me yesterday, and had been debating a decision internally for 3 months that did impact the direction of the company, but if you waste 3 months of energy on it, you have wasted 3 months of focus.

I think data is great. I’ve invested in a mobile analytics startup and a VR analytics startup and tons of other companies that feed on the “oil of today,” which is data. However - Data doesn’t make decisions, you do. Make the decisions and move on. Close the loops. Clear up brain space for the important stuff.

By Adam Draper

I ponder as a VC.

It's a quick one minute read to make you think, smile, or laugh.

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