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Just Take the Win


I was once a product manager for a software company back in the 1980’s where vaporware was considered the normal course of doing business. Since everything was so new, getting “something out there” whether it worked or not was deemed “marketing.” If a whole lot of people started yelling that they really wanted the software if it only freaking worked, then you could see whether the software developers had any hope in hell of actually developing a product.

One product in particular taught me an important life lesson having to do with data and graphs. The product manager for this particular bit of software was a guy named Frank. Frank’s job was to market and promote a product which simply did not work but for which customers were paying $5,000 a copy on the expectation that it might work one day. The entire software package was something like $70,000 so five grand was really pretty cheap and many customers went ahead and bought the option — thinking, wrongly, it must really actually work but maybe not all that well. No . . . it really didn’t work.

Each quarter Frank would show a graph where the product’s sales were consistently low. And then one quarter, engineering finally fixed the product and it actually WORKED (more or less). When Frank presented his graph, his forecast was for the same low sales but in actuality sales had soared! Funny how when something works, people are more inclined to buy it. /s

I remember sitting in the meeting as Frank presented his slide and thinking “he’s going to be blasted by the VP of Marketing since his forecast was off by an order of magnitude [Note 1].” After all, Frank was a very bright guy and he should have known that the product sales would soar once it was fixed!

The VP of Marketing stared at the graph for a very long time and uttered the words that have stayed with me till this day.

Frank, this is the greatest example of marketing I’ve ever seen! You’ve exceeded your forecast more than anyone has ever done! This, people, is what you all need to do! Frank, I need for you to present this to the executive team this afternoon!

My friends, no one is ever punished for beating a forecast.

And this leads us to Covid-19 and tweets such as:

What’s the reality of Covid-19? At this point, I have no clue and I think Scott Adams is correct when he says that all the data we’re seeing at this point is crap. However, what I’m pretty darn sure of is that whatever the actual numbers are, everything will ultimately be portrayed as the hugest (sic) pandemic win in the history of the world.

And I’m OK with that because President Trump gets the win. 

Did the CDC, WHO, Bill Gates and all the rest of them get it pretty much completely wrong? Probably but we can never know for sure.

Are Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci second guessing themselves? NOT FOR A MOMENT because winning is so much better than losing — particularly when someone else is paying the price.

As we move into the presidential election, we’re all going to have to put our natural skepticism aside and join President Trump in celebrating than he and his team saved two million lives through flattening the curve. Yes, I don’t believe it either and I’m not even sure what it means anymore.

One more time with enthusiasm. President Trump and his team saved two million lives through flattening the curve. It is the hugest (sic) victory over a pandemic in the history of the world.

 

Note 1: An order of magnitude is ten times. If you ever want to sound really smart in front of technical people use this sentence — “That’s at least an order of magnitude more difficult!” It works in almost all situations such as “buying a decent cut of meat at Walmart is an order of magnitude more difficult than at a butcher.” See how smart that makes me sound?

 
Mark Rosneck

Written by Mark Rosneck

Site owner and bilagáana

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