Metrics your mother warned you about

I could easily find a parking place in Berkeley on Saturday! What could it mean? On a normal afternoon in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto, I usually find just one space open, and often I have to drive around the block once…. Ah, it’s the end of Easter week and a bunch of the university people have gone away. So much for bigger meanings like recession, breaking news on TV or sunspots.

Sometimes such offbeat indicators do mean something. How would we know if the U.S. economy has begun sliding into a severe recession? By a surge in the number of eBay items for sale, according to one article in the March 23 New York Times. That would indicate, I assume, that people had become unusually motivated to liquidate whatever belongings they could.

These metrics measure hard-to-reach places, internal or external. They may be eccentric, creative and even strange.

That’s what I’m writing about next for TDWI’s BI This Week.

So far, my sources include these people:

  • Stacey Barr, a woman in Australia who comes recommended by performance-dashboard expert Stephen Few.
  • The ever-inventive Zach Gemignani of Juice Analytics, whose recent blog post on “Franken-measures” helped inspire the idea.
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