Soft data…..the first time I heard that term I thought, what are they talking about – how can data be ‘soft’? Or hard for that matter.
These are the basic common definitions. For some. And I think they’re a whole lot of BS. In fact, I know they are. Here’s why.
There ain’t no such thing as hard or soft in any data. Data is data. It’s be like saying, “this cake is hard and this other cake is soft.” Total nonsense. If the data is valuable don’t make it seem less important by attaching the term soft, which is inherently and conventionally interpreted as subordinate.
All data matter and in fact some data holds greater swag. Take qualitative insight for instance. Qualitative data is insight which helps us understand reasons, opinions, and context in which decisions are made. This information is incredibly important and necessary for us to move forward in life and business. It’s the why behind all our actions.
I’d hardly call it soft and therefore give the impression of it being subordinate in import. Quite the contrary.
The Why, as I call it, is the pinnacle of knowing how to move forward. Stats make me crazy. The only thing worse than stats are the people who wave them about like they’ve just found the meaning to life! Stats are dead. Stats are numbers which tell us what HAS been, not what can be. If we dwelled on the past, we’d be in a world of hurt…oh wait a minute, there’s still gobs of areas we still do…..
All data bears weight. All data has a certain validity in context to what you need to use it for. The insight of the Why, the qualitative – the reasons why we act and react – will always be more valuable than statistics ever can be. Stats will hold you back. You rest on previously documented laurels; they cannot move you ahead by looking behind. Insight like qualitative data moves us forward.
Soft data, my left earlobe. It’s the only stuff that really matters for progress.