Tonight I am having farewell party with a friend leaving Vancouver for good, then the big group went to watch Starwars together. The line up is pretty long, even though we went almost 1.5 hours early, the seats are just so-and-so. In the gathering, I had met some old friends who had left the company. They talked about their career plans and I found I couldn’t join the conversation. I simply have nothing to say about my career, I know the job at PMC leads no where, and I don’t feel like talking about the plan after I graduate, since I still haven’t got my degree yet. Talk about something that vague in the future even makes me think I am just BSing. I am glad that my friends are able to move on to their next stage of life, but what about myself? Anyways, enough whining for the day, now switch the topic to something more positive.
I read this anecdote from HBR, which is quite inspiring and I planned to use it in the Toastmaster meeting. In WWII, a statistician Abraham Wald was appointed by the US air force to improve the survivability of the warplanes. From the data the air force had gathered, they found that the some parts of the planes get hits much more often. So the military naturally concluded they should reinforce those parts. However Wald come up with an opposite conclusion from the data, he figured that the part that hit least should be reinforced. His reasoning is that the data is biased, only planes had survived are included in the statistic. If a critical part is hit, the plane is already crashed and it won’t show up in the data. Therefore reinforce those heavily damage parts won’t give any improvement in survivability, as the pilots can still make it back to the base. Selective bias when reading statistics can be very misleading and give us a false sense of security.