What Do You Want Your Statistics to Say?

My buddy Jason <TheLisnakFactor> (who owes me a post) has helped me with statistical analysis from time to time. Whenever I bring a data set to him I ask him, “What does the data say?” He always chuckles and reply’s, “What do you want it to say.” My answer is always “Something that accurately reflects reality.”

74.351% of all statistics are massaged to exaggerate and serve someone’s agenda.

OK… I made that stat up, but you get my point. Stats, the hard “facts” lie. They lie even more when someone is pushing an agenda for financial or political purposes.

Take the study that concluded that as much as 41% of all installed software is pirated, and the software industry is losing 2/5 of it’s potential profit.

Let’s pretend for a minute that that number is believable (it isn’t).

Way back in one of my first posts I described what a “freetard” is.

Freetard – A person who goes to great extremes to download things illegally.

One thing that I have noticed about your typical freetard is that they will download anything and everything they can. They hoard software, ebooks, music, movies, and video games. They aren’t necessarily using all of the stuff they hoard, they are just hoarding it.

A really busy software pirate will install an unbelievable volume of illegal software and never use most of it more than once.

The Orange Light of Avarice (Another Green Lantern reference)
The Orange Light of Avarice (Another Green Lantern reference)

If one is willing acquire software for free and install it, that does not necessarily mean that same individual would be willing to pay for the same software package. To put it in other terms: I might be willing to listen to a CD that a friend loans me, but if I don’t really like the album I will never be willing to buy it.

Your thoughts?

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