How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business

How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business by Douglas Hubbard was more technical than I expected and a great refresher, and then some, on my old statistics course.

Hubbard gives several insights into the reason to measure and methods to think about how and what we’re measuring.

According to Hubbard, measurement is the process of reducing uncertainty. We may often think of measuring as taking the length or weight of an item. When set against the ruler or placed on a scale, we know it’s length and weight. However, in business, and even daily life, the decisions we make are not often based on items so easily measured. But Hubbard walks the reader through several means of reducing uncertainty – though our choices may not be perfect, they’re better than making guesses.

Hubbard also mentions that we tend to overmeasure what we find easy to measure and ignore what erringly define as intangible, or items that take more energy to walk through the process of measuring.

Hubbard comments that many saw their college statistics as a marketing class, that one can tell any story depending on how they display the data. I fall into this group but recall “taking” statistics again in Chemistry I and II. I find more similarity in Hubbard’s methods and what I learned in Chemistry than what I learned in stats back in 1999.

Measuring is about clarification – not only by use of measurement but by ensuring we measuring the right items correctly. At times we must give more thought to the issue at hand, identifying the real problem we’re working to solve, to take an adequate measurement.

Be willing to take a little more time on this read than others, or at least scan through some of the more technical areas to understand what’s available when the need next arises.

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