Survivorship bias: when we focus only on success

We were sitting around with friends and family recently over some very nice red wine when our friend Noel asked me about my weekly Toastmasters meetings, and specifically about whether I thought there are some people who simply never learn to feel comfortable speaking in public even after Toastmasters training. After a moment’s contemplation, I replied to Noel:

“I can’t really say – because those who actually feel too uncomfortable probably just stop attending after a while. The ones who stay seem pretty happy!”

It turns out that what I was describing is essentially what’s known as survivorship bias.*  Continue reading

Infographics: have we gone too far?

Paul Marcinkowski

Jonathan Harris, despite his role as one of the pioneer creators of the modern infographic, takes aim at those ubiquitous splashy charts and graphs that take a pile of stats, facts and percentages and morph them into poster-like images, for better or worse:

“Culture’s interest in data is becoming incredibly obsessive and almost pornographic with the rise of infographics.”  Continue reading