“Spoken like a nitpicky analyst”

So, my friend Barmak tweeted these words in response to a tweet of mine. I don’t know that I am really all that nit-picky, or even just picky, but things should have clarity of meaning. It is hard enough to communicate simple concepts accurately. When things become more complex, we must strive for greater clarity.

Likewise, when we use data to tell a story or a recommend a policy, we absolutely must be clear in what the data means and what it does not.

When we released the our wage reports in 2012, I took some ribbing and minor criticism for the length the statement regarding the limitations of the data. When an editorial in the Virginian-Pilot described us as being “admirably blunt” in stating the limitations of the data, I felt a great deal of pride. I never want my work to be be confused as representing something it does not.

So, if I am considered by some to be a “nitpicky analyst,” I’m good with that.