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Numbers

NUMBERS: Keeping it 100

100-percentI was reading a short post on a friend’s FaceBook page. She was asking her readers if the slang expression “Keep it 100” means tell me the truth? or in actuality, does it mean tell me what I want to hear? My answer: it means tell me the truth, however, I know too many people who only want you or me to tell them what they want to hear. That would be Less than 100. This provides a good segway to how we use and view numbers everyday, and what they really mean to each of us. Is anything other than 100% less than acceptable? In the words of one of my B-school instructors, “It depends!”

The above conversation surrounding the slang phrase Keeping it 100 actually opened the door for a new category on this blog: Numbers! This blog’s focus is business and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), and until now, the subject of math has gotten the short end of the stick.

percent-sign-bluepersonMost people who know me will tell you that I am a news junkie. I attempt to read, watch, or listen to a variety of news sources each day. Perhaps this is my way of identifying which news outlets are Keeping it 100. Lots of numbers and stats are reported on or tossed about as news. For many of the listeners, readers, and viewers, there is a struggle to identify what is meaningful information. When percentages are being used, when is less than 100% good? meaningful? or acceptable? Again, it depends!

Facebook has close to 1 billion users. Within this group of strong users, 200 million are mobile users. For this example, 200 million represents one-fifth (1/5) or 20% of the population that accesses FaceBook using their smart phone or another non-PC device. [Ref 1] Is 20% good or bad? It is certainly good for those manufacturers who make smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices. Existing and new vendors have emerged to fill this need in the market place.

Switching topics from social media to online dating, news sources [Ref 2] tell us that there are 54 million single people in the U.S.  We are also told that 40 million people have tried online dating at least once. However, I am not going to assume that everyone who reported that they have tried online dating is single, although I’d like to think that most were single at the time they used the service. However, it appears that there are almost as many male online dating users (52.4%) as there are female online dating users (47.6%).

percent-sign-redOne of the arguments against the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is that no one wants it. Now, this is not a discussion on politics, but the numbers being used to support or not support differing viewpoints. A recent Gallop poll showed that 56% of Americans were opposed to ACA. Most view that as a slightly negative response. [Ref 3] However, the data also shows that 44% of those polled were in favor of ACA. I don’t know about you, but if 44% is an indicator of the adult population that is in favor of ACA, this is a number that is extremely attractive to seller(s) of health care insurance. “No one wants it” certainly isn’t representative of the 1.5 million people who attempted to access the website on October 1st, the first day that the exchanges opened. My argument is really not about being for or against ACA, or even if the website is working well, but noticing that there are an awful lot of folks in the U.S. who either do not have healthcare and want it, or are unhappy with their current plan and are at least interesting in trying to improve it. And there are potential opportunities that will be created because of this.

Research on social media shows that 95% of FaceBook users log into their accounts each day, 60% of Twitter users do the same, but only 30% access LinkedIn. [Ref 1] Therefore, if I needed to trim my marketing budget for social media, which site do you think I would eliminate? While I am an avid user of LinkedIn, it appears that my opportunity to impact or take advantage of marketing is greater with FaceBook and Twitter. These stats could change in the very near future, however, they are the numbers we are working with today!

I’ll be thinking about my next post on numbers. Until then, Keep it 100!

References:

  1. “5 Surprising Social Media Statistics for 2013”, by Mark Scott, http://socialmediatoday.com/docmarkting/1818611/five-surprising-social-media-statistics-2013;
  2. Online Dating Stats, http://www.statisticbrain.com/online-dating-statistics/
  3. Amid Exchange Site Glitches, View of Health Law Steady, Frank Newport,  http://www.gallup.com/poll/165641/amid-exchange-site-glitches-views-health-law-steady.aspx?ref=more (last viewed October 31, 2013)

 

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About Vi Brown

Vi is principal and CEO of Prophecy Consulting Group, LLC, an Arizona firm that provides business and engineering services to private and public clients. Prior to establishing her consulting practice in 2001, Vi worked with Motorola, Maricopa County Government, Pacific Gas & Electric, CH2M Hill, and Procter & Gamble. As an adjunct faculty member, Vi teaches undergraduate calculus classes and graduate level environmental courses. She is also a professional speaker.

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