Friday, June 03, 2011

Bad books - bleg

One kid from the insti on an internship wanted some help on his project. He is supposed to recommend how to improve demand forecasting in one of our businesses. He has a recommendation, which is simple, intuitive but assumptive. He tests it on one data point. It works. He tests on another. It doesn't. He wishes away the evidence. I don't let him move on. He finally says something to the effect of - 'it's a theory, I studied it at the insti.' I don't remember studying anything of the sort, so I ask him where he read this theory. He whips out a book. International authors, fancy cover. 10 pages devoted to A/F ratio (the theory). I skim through it. It's 10 pages of tables with lots of data points, calculations of the mean and standard deviation of those data points, celebrating the normal curve and devotedly explaining why 99.8% may not be very different from 100% but 90% is (I'm not kidding).

Then, somewhere in between, there's one little sentence. 'Since the forecasting bias (A/F) of last season was x, we can assume that maybe it will be the same this season'. That's it, that's all. The entire model, the entire meat and juice, apologetically assumed way, to devote 10 pages to arithmetic, banal arithmetic at that.
I fancy a job as an editor sometimes.

1 comment:

Vivek said...

Title of the said book?