Humans in business cannot really function or be productive without data. Sorry, but it's true in my experience.
That's why, when I see things like this on LinkedIn, it really makes my skin crawl.
I understand after reading this several times, how it can go either way, as the original author of this post points out how he believes data should be used, however, I want to be very clear about WHY HUMANS NEED DATA.
A web design and development project with one owner (one person on the "client side" who makes decisions related to strategic direction and design approvals) have a success rate near 100%.
Let's define "success" as a project that not only gets done on time, and on budget, but makes the person funding it extremely happy.
And, then, of course, 1-3 months later, after looking at analytics, is performing better than it's predecessor website.
1 person making decisions = no problem. Consider "gut, experience and empathy" per weird spiky hair dude above, totally fine decision-making criteria. I've found that when legacy analytics and data aggregated from similar type websites (per our 2018 data download) is used, even better results are achieved in the short and long term, but data is less needed.
Well, this is where the "Over Opinions" part of "DataOverOpinions.com" comes into play.
When more than one person on the "client side" or even on the "agency side" is involved in the decision making (again, strategy and design approvals related), there are serious, serious problems without data.
Let's table the performance / results driven aspect first, and only look at the fact that Opinions KILL PROGRESS.
PROGRESS is everything to website redesign and development projects.
Progress is the difference between getting things done in a 1-week to 3-month time frame, depending on the size of a website, to a project getting dragged through the ridiculousness of multiple opinions that don't matter at all, and extending the project by 3-10 times the original timeline and budget.
I'm completely uninterested in these types of projects.
If I quote a project at $1,500 and say that it should take 6 weeks to complete, I do not want that project taking longer than six weeks, or costing my client more than $1,500.
It's bad for everyone if that happens.
Why? Simple opportunity cost.
The reason for a website redesign is always the same. The current website isn't working anymore. It isn't driving business.
For every day that there's not a new website on the market in front of that business' audience, that client is bleeding opportunity cost. I've been in this business long enough to know what's expected of our team. And if results don't come after a new website launch, there's a problem.
When more than one voice is using his or her GUT, EXPERIENCE or EMPATHY, there are conflicting points of view. On every aspect.
- What verbiage should be used for the Headlines and Calls To Action?
- What Colors Should the Buttons Be?
- What imagery should be featured?
- Where should the Icon sets come into play?
- Do we need social media icons in the header?
- How much copy is the right amount of copy?
- What should be "above the fold" and what should be "below the fold?"
I've been a part of 300+ web design projects in the last 8 years. That's only 7 questions. Let's just say the average web project has 5-10 times more questions than what I listed above.
You really think more than one person can "agree" on up to 70-80 detail oriented questions?
Ray Dalio talks about Thoughtful Disagreement in his Principles. He talks about Believability.
It's why his company, Bridgewater associates is so unique, and he also says these things don't happen with 99% of people.
Enter the data. The data can cut through 99% of humans inability to conduct themselves in a manner that doesn't result in hurt feelings and a derailment of perfect progress.
So, Mr. Tom Goodwin and these other people commenting on this LinkedIn thread that got me fired up.
Yes, it's possible to achieve results without data, but we can't "stop talking about making decisions by looking at data," because humans are incapable of truly collaborating to be efficient with their decision making process without it.
Optimal efficiency can't be achieved without data.
Unless you're Ray Dalio or one of his disciples. Are you?
Until then, let's stop arguing. Let's stop getting our feelings hurt. And more than anything, let's stop pontificating and being unproductive.
Let's stop the opportunity cost from growing and let's launch that data driven website for crying out loud.
Gut, experience and empathy can only get you do an insight. You need data to get you to the end result.
Group decisions need data. Respect it. Achieve results.
Hit me up with any questions anytime at email@example.com.
Thanks for reading, watching and listening, and have a great day!
Paul Hickey, Founder / CEO / Lead Strategist at Data Driven Design, LLC has created and grown businesses via digital strategy and internet marketing for more than 10 years. His sweet spot is using analytics to design and build websites and grow the audience and revenue of businesses via SEO/Blogging, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook and Instagram Ads, Social Media Content Marketing and Email Marketing. The part that he’s most passionate about is quantifying next marketing actions based on real data.