Mar 282020

Why do people hoard toilet paper during the COVID-19 crisis?

Because we do not know if there will be enough in the near future.

Because we don’t know how COVID quarantines will play out.

Because we don’t understand how it spreads, exactly.

Because we don’t know how many people have it who are not conscious that they have it, and are continuing to spread it.

Because we don’t know how many people that should be tested are actually getting tested.

Because we don’t know if the testing is kind of accurate (70%’ish), mostly accurate (85%’ish), or really accurate (>95%’ish).

The list of unknowns is long.

I believe the next two weeks will yield much more data. Good data leads to better collective decision making, for everything from what level of quarantines are smart, to what treatments help, to what interactions are fine, to how big the problem is, to how will it continue to crop up in various metros. While we might not all be back to normal life and work by Easter Monday, we should have much greater transparency and visibility than we have had throughout March. Great data matters for it offers visibility.

This contagion has demonstrated, at a cost of trillions, that good data and great data transparency is the single most important thing we need to have when the next contagion plagues the world. I’m 100% certain we will solve this one, but we need to learn the lesson and get more serious to prep for the next one, for someday, it will come, and it is far more likely than the killer asteroid collision we imagined in Armageddon (the Bruce Willis movie).

One last question to think about: how can you improve your decision making in your personal life and work life? How do you enjoy better success with your investments, or your health? How do you better decide where to live? The answers reside in what you will do to improve your data.

Let’s pursue better data and analytics. It is the obvious path to smarter decisions and a better world for the human race.

I.M. Optimisman

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