Randall Bolten Blog

March 16, 2014
Yes, we’re still looking at Constant Contact’s (Nasdaq: CTCT) investor presentation, and the topic is still how tiny changes in the way we present numbers can have a significant impact on how our integrity and our ethics may be perceived.



March 14, 2014
Today – March 14, or 3.14 – is Pi Day, a day celebrated by mathematics aficionados the world over. I shudder to think of the partying that will break loose in two years, when the date is 3.14.16. Hide the women and children!



March 09, 2014
In recent posts we’ve seen how tiny changes in the way we present numbers can have a huge impact on how well the information is understood. In this post, we look instead at how those little things can affect how your integrity or your ethics might be perceived.



March 04, 2014
We’ve recently run posts about bad quantation in the media, about Olympic medal counts and Oscar betting odds. This time we discuss good quantation – the Food & Drug Administration’s proposed changes to the “Nutrition Facts” label. This is a great example of how small changes in the way we present numbers can have a significant impact.



February 26, 2014
Far be it from me to help a gambling website present information better, and one based in Curacao to boot, but I can’t help myself. My friend John Cardozo sent me a link to the Pinnacle Sports website, where the betting odds for the upcoming Academy Awards are posted.



February 24, 2014
It’s important to present numbers that your audience actually cares about. We sometimes lose sight of that in an effort to turn out a beautiful table or graph. I have Ira Apfel of the Association for Financial Professionals and the editor of AFP’s Exchange, to thank for a great example of this point. Here’s a snip from the “Medal Tracker” page of the ESPN website.



February 17, 2014
“How Useful a Measure Is GDP?” is a thoughtful and thought-provoking article by Diane Coyle. She observes that the concept of GDP has come under fire recently by those who argue that it doesn’t really measure well-being – that it doesn’t measure, for example, happiness, or income distribution, or sustainability.



February 12, 2014
As a financial executive and a consultant, I’ve been a part of or observed endless debates about what is the correct cost of capital to use in evaluating a project’s net present value (NPV). And I have to ask: Does this debate really matter?



February 01, 2014
In a recent session of my U.C. Berkeley class, “Presenting Quantitative Data Effectively,” we started with a discussion of the adjectives that describe “good” communication. “Communication” could be spoken or written, and on a sheet of paper, a computer screen, a whiteboard, or through speakers.



January 06, 2014
Happy New Year! If you’ve been reading my posts, you’ll know that if there’s one thing I dislike as much as deliberately misleading quantation, it’s pie charts. So in honor of the New Year, I want to present the most unarguably accurate and readable pie chart I’ve ever seen, sent to me courtesy of my pal Hal Ettinger.


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