On data dependency

On data dependency

Seth Godin on data and faith:

In my experience, data crowds out faith. And without faith, it’s hard to believe in the data enough to make a leap. Big mergers, big VC investments, big political movements, large congregations… they don’t usually turn out for a spreadsheet.

The problem is this: no spreadsheet, no bibliography and no list of resources is sufficient proof to someone who chooses not to believe. The skeptic will always find a reason, even if it’s one the rest of us don’t think is a good one. Relying too much on proof distracts you from the real mission — which is emotional connection.

I’ve noticed a pattern.

At the start of a project, you arrive at the first meeting with all the documentation that’s ever transpired between you and person X. Every binder, document, SOW, business plan, and paper clip — you have it and carry it faithfully to each meeting.

As projects unfold, you become less dependent on artifacts, the stack of paper gets smaller. You arrive at meetings with less. The more meetings you have, the fewer meeting paraphernalia you bring. And by the last meeting — once you’ve really connected with a project — you can show up with nothing but a pencil.

Less dependency on data, as he says, can yield an emotional connection.