Making Numbers Sexy in an Overstimulated World

By David Evanhaim

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Some people might argue that numbers were never sexy. After all, nobody but the odd rocket scientist would conjure up the word “sexy” if the conversation was about Albert Einstein. Even in Hollywood, despite recently romanticizing John Nash in “A Beautiful Mind” and Alan Turing in last year’s Oscar nominated picture “The Imitation Game,” numbers have never been a sexy topic.

The importance of numbers may be changing our appreciation for them, but making them a hot topic is still rather challenging. We live in this overstimulated world full of visual. Everywhere we look we see images and, more and more, video. This is what drives our understanding of the world around us. It’s what we connect to. It’s what we would more readily accept as ‘sexy’. Yet in this world where we are bombarded with content and imagery, it is increasingly difficult to cut through the noise. That goes doubly so if the point you are making is numbers-based.

I hear you statisticians and data analysts in the background objecting. Yes, numbers are paramount levers for understanding our world and, in a less grandiose aim, understanding our day to day. It’s isn’t the importance of numbers that is the issue, it’s actually the opposite. Given how crucial numeric-based data is, why don’t they get a rise out of us? Why can’t we get up in the morning, look at our social media feeds, see numbers everywhere, and be delighted for it?

One problem may be that numbers only lead to more thoughts. Hear me out here, I’m not arguing for a world where we think the least amount possible (that may be where we are headed anyway, but I digress). It’s true that numbers on their own force you to paint your own picture. Whether you are drawing up a roadmap for a product you are managing, or analyzing the results of consumer research, you need to take numbers and create a story to really understand their impact.

Essentially, numbers demand that you build a mental image of how things look rather than having one presented for you. This isn’t easy! That’s why we are much more apt to take in images and videos, where things are presented quite clearly for us. Even physicists can get behind this idea, it’s essentially the well known Path of Least Resistance.

Visuals Must Lead The Way

If the problem is that numbers just aren’t sexy, then what is the solution to keeping them relevant and interesting? It’s not as if we change them from what they are. Dress up a 3 all you want, it’ll still be a 3 at the end of the day (or an 8, if you connect a couple dots). It doesn’t seem like banging our heads against the wall and hoping numbers become more popular is a winning formula. In a world where visuals inundate us daily, we may have to approach things a different way for numbers to be popular.

One way is to simply let visuals lead the way. You may Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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