(Found this in my drafts folder it was written a year ago. In the middle of writing a post about The Four Hour Body, I thought it needed to be published.)
I don’t know when it happen, but I noticed the other day I’ve become a metrics asshole. And no I’m not saying I measure everything in liters and kilograms. Rather I doubt almost everything people tell me unless it can and has been measured.
A friend said he wanted to produce a certain kind of book because “everyone would like it.” Really? How do you know.
I guess I’m not really an ass yet because I didn’t actually say that out loud.
Another person told me I should change some copy on my website because it was too long and wordy. He based this on lots of experience with web design. My first thought was, have you tested that? I’m in the middle of split testing two complete sets of copy to see which is actually the best. I happen to like one and think it is the better, but I don’t know it is until Google Web Optimizer tells me so.
Lots of stuff is counter intuitive and you won’t know it until you test.
Reminds me an experiment in the great book Made To Stick. One author made his class give a 1 minute speech on violent crime vs white collar crime in America. Then right after the speech he had every student who had heard the speech rate which was best. So he had which ones everyone thought were best.
Then he showed them a clip from Monty Python and then told them to get out a piece of paper and write down what they remembered from each person’s speech. Very few of them could remember anything from the speeches. And the ones they could remember from were not the ones they voted the best speaker.
So everyone thought they knew which ones were best, but in reality they were wrong.
Now I think about that kind of thing all the time.