DataGeek: It's Complicated...

All DataGeek wants to do is sign up for a new magazine, but he's having trouble answering some of the registration form questions...

This ever happen to you?

David Loshin has been writing and talking about a joke which inspired this silly little cartoon today:
Question: "What is the most dangerous question to ask data professionals?"
Answer: "What is a customer?"

Mr. Loshin is going beyond the joke and pondering what it really means to have (or search for) a "single view of a customer" when most folks can't agree on what a customer is. Read about it here and here.

I really enjoyed hearing David's joke a first hand at a seminar a couple months ago and I'm glad he's digging into it deeper.

Through the years I've learned to avoid using the word customer in my reply back when answering questions like "how many customers do we have?" question. I typically answer this "silly little question" with what I do know for sure, an answer such as "we have X number of distinct account billing locations, Y number of people who use our applications, Z number of blah-blah-blah, etc...".

This response usually gets people to gloss over and wonder why they invited me to their meeting.

Maybe I should just answer this "silly little question" with the "silly little answer" - "It's complicated".

Executives are busy these days with their red/yellow/green dashboards just as everyday people are busy with iPhones/iPads/Facebook and I'm tempted to go back to the behavior I exhibited when I was fresh out of college - just give them a number like which they are expecting.

The big difference between now and then? When I did it back then I didn't know any better and when I give it to them now I'd fully recognize that I'd be supplying them with a "silly little number" to their "silly little question".

If the person asking the "silly little question" can't recognize that the answer might be "it's complicated", then perhaps the "silly little answer" with a very large margin of error is all they deserve.

Until next time...Rich

Related Post: See how DataGeek helps with sales here...


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