The Arithmocracy

The last time I looked, I could add. But I know that I can’t possibly add up all the numbers in the world today, this day, the day I write. In the age of “over messaging” and “#I’m Offended!!” there is one thing that out numbers them all – numbers! The exponential creation of numbers per second in

earth seconds gives new veracity to the term “infinity”. Nature has no equivalent for the concept of money, and the most aged of indigenous people have a completely different concept of time than those of us using Georgian calendars and Greenwich Mean Time. So for those of us hanging onto

a planet spinning at 1,000 kph, numbers are also a rapidly changing concept. They are more important and less visible than ever.

Now some people organise these numbers and call it data, some simply use its binary nature to create organising systems, while others use numbers to get stuff done. Some people even use numbers as weapons. The Egyptian and Greek geometry we live with, as brilliant as it is, has been

added to by computational power where numbers are no longer linear, to the point where we can now easily bend data into three-dimensional cross relational logic. We now live in the “Arithmocracy”. Those people with the numbers and a cogent argument for what movement they

signal have power.

They always have, it’s just that now in our time there are more of them, and that makes things more complex, and complexity is a mathematical as well as a commercial problem.

So for those of us in commerce, what does this mean? Well most of us simply have too many numbers at our disposal. To make matters worse ,what if they are the wrong numbers? Well we’ve just doubled our complexity right there and have obfuscated the problem we are ultimately trying to solve.

If red and blue ocean theory taught us anything it was the power of simplicity. Red = hyper competition = bad, and blue = less competition = good, based on a new lens to reimagine our businesses with. We need to do this with numbers.

The legacy numbers pre-2007 (the start of the info tronics era) may be less relevant to our businesses now more than ever. I can barely find an example of a customer journey that has not been altered substantially by the intersection of technologies post-2007.

It’s more than possible therefore, that we our comforting ourselves with “Red” data; with un-actionable data. In the name of “we have always measured that way”  etc. We might just be guilty of a love affair with an old flame that informs and reminds us of our past successes – our glory days.

We need to audit our red, un-actionable data sets, and confine them to the petabyte external hard drive. Then harvest the “lessons” from this data to provide a macro- framework of our revenue history to refer to as a sense check. Observe but not attend.

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