First, left to their own devices, the data-driven direct response people will compromise and dumb-down everything to the point of complete blandness with the excuse of â€œitâ€™s what the visitors want!â€ People donâ€™t always know what they want. This is something that Steve Jobs knew well according to Guy Kawasaki:
â€œApple market researchâ€ is an oxymoron. The Apple focus group was the right hemisphere of Steveâ€™s brain talking to the left one. If you ask customers what they want, they will tell you, â€œBetter, faster, and cheaperâ€”that is, better sameness, not revolutionary change. They can only describe their desires in terms of what they are already usingâ€”around the time of the introduction of Macintosh, all people said they wanted was better, faster, and cheaper MS-DOS machines. The richest vein for tech startups is creating the product that you want to useâ€”thatâ€™s what Steve and Woz did.â€
Second, as soon as managers pick a numerical metric as a way to measure whether theyâ€™re achieving their desired outcome, everybody starts maximizing that metric rather than doing the rest of their job.
Third, data isnâ€™t enough to motivate others. From Seth Godin: â€œIn 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.â€