[FoRK] scatterplot

Jebadiah Moore jebdm at jebdm.net
Sat Oct 10 05:51:09 PDT 2009

On Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 7:39 PM, Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo
<ken_ganshirt at yahoo.ca>wrote:
> The problem with that is that there's no definition of what constitutes
> "success" for the purposes of the chart. In particular, how do you get a
> range of "success". I always figured if you design a success metric properly
> it will be a binary metric: either you succeed or you fail. Parial success
> seems like partial pregnancy. No?
Assuming we're talking business success, there's definitely a sliding
scale.  Companies A, B, and C all sell widgets in the same market.  Fixed
cost of a million dollars to build a widget factory for all three.
 A sells a million units at $10 profit each
 B sells half a million at $8 each
 C sells only 50k at $10 each before going out of business

C is obviously a failure (no profit), but you could reasonably call both A
and B "successes".  But A seems clearly more "successful" than B with three
times the profits.

You can obviously adjust your metric to include other standards of success
(popularity, chic-ness [by which you might call Apple more successful than
Microsoft], etc.), but in any cases it's likely to be a function of a number
of non-binary metrics giving you a non-binary metric as well.

I suppose you could be strict in your semantics, and say "to succeed is to
meet a goal; you either meet a goal or you don't; therefore, success is
binary."  But people think of it like that, and it doesn't seem to be as
useful either, except possibly for consoling yourself if you're just barely
over the line ;)

Jebadiah Moore

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