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What To Think When Looking at a Chart

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    In a business context, what should you think when presented with a time series? Or: a really dumb question that nobody seems to talk about.

    Note: this is Part 6 in a series of blog posts about becoming data driven in business. You may want to read the prior parts before reading this essay.

    At this point in the Becoming Data Driven Series we’ve covered a bunch of big ideas. Those ideas are starting to become a bit unwieldy. I promise you that I’ll bring everything together at the end of the series — unwieldy ideas aren’t as useful as distilled, simple ones, and long time readers should know that I care about being useful above all.

    This essay is going to be one of the simpler ones. I want to focus on a really basic, really dumb question, which is implied in nearly all the previous posts in the series, but never discussed explicitly. The trigger for this essay was really a presentation I gave at Holistics (a company that I consult for) a few weeks ago, which summarised everything that we’ve covered in the series so far. You’ll see slides interspersed with the text below.

    Here’s the question that I want to answer today: “In a business context, what should I think when I’m looking at a chart?

    Originally published , last updated .