Exalting Data, Missing Meaning

I’ve observed a common failure mode in decision-making: an overriding obsession with data—with appearing scientific—and an associated repudiation of philosophy.

That’s a totally appropriate obsession in some fields, like manufacturing, transportation, and aviation. But in consumer products, education, and so many other domains involving the messiness of humanity, the data obsession falls prey to hidden errors and distorts our true goals. Worse, it deprives us of truly meaningful insights that are available via philosophy, intuition, and stories, but not yet fully explicable through quantitative systems.