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Data: Famous Sayings about Data worth remembering!

DATAData has always been important to business, so with the ever increasing talk about data and analytics I thought it would be fun to remind people about some of the well known axioms / sayings.

This is just a small selection and I am sure that you have your own favourites.

Please leave a comment below with your additions to this list.


What gets measured

“What gets measured gets managed”, William Thomson, Lord Kelvin (1883)

This is probably the most famous of the sayings and is based on the simple premise that unless you have a way to measure something it is very difficult to really manage it.

Be it temperature, volume, speed, length, density. weight or ………. if you are measuring it consistently then you can define the appropriate parameters to manage it – for example, upper and lower control limits, expected number per hour or any other metric you fancy.

The metrics you set are providing definitive guidelines for management of the process that are unambiguous and non-subjective.


without data

“Without data you are just another person with an opinion”, W. Edwards Deming (1988)

This is a great one that is so true. If you are expressing an opinion, unless you can back it up with data to prove your assertions then it is only your personal view. However, if you have some form of data to prove your argument then you are now fact based and far more difficult to dispute.




In god we trust“In God we trust, all others bring data!”, W. Edwards Deming

A quote that is widely attributed to Deming, but no one is really sure when or where it was said or published! Be that as it may, its still a great quote which reflects the need to only trust what is confirmed with data.

Deming had the fundamental philosophy that data measurement and analysis were essential to attaining superior performance in every facet of business.

This fundamental principle still holds strong today for any business presence.  A significant number of businesses have very little idea on how their business is performing; and more importantly identifying ways to improve it. This quote by W. Edwards Deming, very concisely explains to us the importance of understanding and interpreting the large volume of data that gets created almost every day by the world (from Quora).


Engineers can be creative

“Engineers can be creative but the results are not always good!”, (unknown)

A fun quote to end this brief post. This plays on the stereotype of the typical engineer that are very black and white, and not good with creative past-times.

Before you all write to me complaining and telling me about very creative and talented engineers…. I did not create this axiom, but I am sure you can think of some engineers that it applies to!!. I also have various friends who are engineers so know that its not always true, but its a fun way to end this article!



Let’s hear your suggestions to add to this list!


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