Does Intuition Fill Data Void?


In his final letter to Groupon employees ex-CEO  Andrew Mason wrote this as his biggest regret,

My biggest regrets are the moments that I let a lack of data override my intuition on what’s best for our customers.

Decisions need to be based on data. Right and relevant data. Decisions must change based on data, when new evidence is uncovered. Decisions with same supporting data must be reproducible and repeatable by anyone within and outside the organization.  This does not mean we are assured of the results. We never will be certain of results. The role of data/information is to reduce the uncertainty.

But how do we decide when there is lack of data? It is likely true not all that matters is measurable but do we give up on gathering data? Does lack of data mean we fall back intuition?

Decisions based on intuitions are not repeatable by you or by others with their own intuitions. It is like throwing darts blindfolded, you might hit the center but that does not mean your method is correct.

Lack of data does not mean we let intuitions drive but we experiment to seek data that will help improve our decisions.

Your regret should never be you did not override your intuition but you did not experiment enough.

Now a final word on Groupon whose stock is tearing around $2.30 from its IPO level of $20. The problem is who is group’s customer? The deal seeker who moves from deal to deal or the small business owners? You should read my book from four years ago to understand that.