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Data and Opinions

I give a lot of talks to our students touting the value of data in business decisions.  The Tepper School prides itself on its analytical approach to business, and data is at the heart of this approach.  Of course, what you do with the data is also pretty important, which brings in statistics and operations research.

For years, I have used the following quote in my talks:

Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.

That quote works (I sometimes substitute a cruder word for “person”), but some students continue to think “OK, so let’s talk opinions”, which is not quite what I have in mind.  So I think I will change this to a great quote from Jim Barksdale, former CEO of Netscape:

If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.

That does the job!

HT: Thanks to @JohnDCook whose tweet reminded me of quote.