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Business Intelligence and the US Presidential Election


I'm a big fan of intellectual integrity. It appeals to my engineer nature.

I'm also an amateur student of all things social, which covers philosophy and politics. So I'm really energized about the Web 2.0 social networking I see all around me these days. I'm also working on a couple projects along these lines, of which I'll share more in the future... ;{>


Love it or hate it, politics is part of the US culture. It's part of other cultures too, I defer to US culture because I have more experience here than abroad.

Depending on your political persuasion, you likely love or hate things every four to eight to twelve years.


The major party candidates are asking potential voters loaded questions. How do I know? I've been asked loaded questions before too - on the job. I recognize one when I see it. I am not saying loaded questions are necessarily bad. In fact, I feel they aren't bad - especially on the job. What on earth am I talking about?


It's good to detect bias early on in a business intelligence project. As the designer or architect, it gives me a sense of priority. Priority drives design and layout. And so on and so on. My point is simple: I want to deliver what the customer wants. If I can detect their bent early on, I have a greater chance of delivering.

This also applies to internal projects if I work for a company. I work for Unisys Corporation these days, having hung up my Independent Consulting cape. Identifying the priority and delivering what the internal customer wants makes things better for everyone.

With politicians, bias is used to manage expectations of the voting electorate.

Where Are you Going?

I'm glad you asked.

Sometimes bias gets way out of kilter. When this happens - and once is too often - bad decisions and pain often result. Sometimes lives are lost. It's that important.

You combat this dangerous bias using the same tool with which you debunk any other kind of bias: information.

Business Intelligence is all about information. That's where I'm going.

Business Intelligence

So, I am going to perform a Social Business Intelligence measurement, and you're welcome to participate. After the election I am going to record three expectations I have about the first term of the next US President. This record will serve as a measurement of my current expectations of the next US administration, based upon my assessment of their policies - and perceived results - as explained before the election.

When the next election cycle gets going full swing, I will revisit and evaluate these expectations. I'll ask these questions in regard to each expectation:

  • Did they do what they said they would do? Did the candidate deliver on their promises or offer justification for not delivering on them?
  • Did they not do what they said they would do? Did the candidate mislead the electorate? Did they do something different than their position during the campaign? If so, what was different? And why? What is their explanation?
  • Did they do what they said they would not do? Did the candidate do anything in office that they said they would not do during the campaign? If so, what explanation is offered for the change?

At some point I'll make my expectations public.

Later, I'll also make my measurements public.

If you decide to participate, whether you decide to make your expectations and assessments public or not is up to you. Regardless, I certainly do not need to know them. You could record your expectations in notepad and email it to yourself for posterity. If you decide to join me, whatever you do with the information is up to you.

I won't mislead you; it would be cool to collect and measure the expectations throughout the coming in administration at critical checkpoints in addition to before the next election. Critical checkpoints like:

  • When a winner is declared.
  • Inauguration Day
  • 100 Days
  • Each State of the Union Address

But again, the point is to record what you expect to happen based on what you know Election Day or shortly thereafter; and then compare that later, when you know more.

What do you think?


Published Saturday, November 01, 2008 2:52 PM by andy
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