Just because you can...
In response to a recent Wednesday Wisdom on averages hiding the extremes, a past client of mine said: "This reminds of the old saying: Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."
And he's absolutely right! There are many examples of this in data management. Here are just a couple:
+ "While our members are renewing membership, let's ask them a bunch of other demographic questions." Just because you CAN ask those questions, is during the renewal process the right time to do it? I would argue "no" because the more steps you require someone to complete to renew, the less likely they are to renew!
+ "Let's ask them for their [random piece of data] because we might use that data someday." Just because you CAN ask for that data doesn't mean you should. Every piece of data you collect should have some use immediately. If the data isn't being used for something, it shouldn't be collected at all.
And of course, there are many more examples. Technology makes it incredibly easy and inexpensive to collect data. But be sure you've got a good reason to collect the data, and make sure you're collecting it at the right time.
After all, just because you can collect it doesn't mean you should.
Wes's Wednesday Wisdom Archives
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