Nate Silver and the rise of analytics

This isn’t just about politics — this is about rational decision making. Kind of like they had the ability to make the 6 million dollar man, we now have better insights into decision-making. If only people, organizations, and governments would start to value intellectualism again! But selling intellectualism in industry is sometimes hard because “academics” don’t understand the real world. Selling intellectualism to the masses is viewed as some kind of liberal conspiracy. Selling intellectualism to the government…well, it’s a bureaucracy — it doesn’t like logic.

In the end, it’s time to embrace the reality — we need smart people to run the country. Not everyone’s smart. Not everyone is good at decision-making. It’s now time to critically evaluate our relative skills and attributes!


As the election drew near, many political and stats junkies (like me) became fans of Nate Silver, aka @fivethirtyeight, the shrewd political number-cruncher and blogger for the New York Times. His way of aggregating the most reliable presidential polls into megapolls, and factoring in those polls’ historical accuracies, was considered by some to be as revolutionary as the introduction of “Moneyball” — or use of undervalued stats — on baseball.

Like anyone who develops a following, Silver soon drew his shares of detractors. Newsmen, pundits and politicians alike scoffed at his methodology, and Silver tended to respond quite intelligently with an unrivaled grasp of statistics. Even as the news networks hyped the election as anyone’s game last week, Silver said his estimations “represent powerful evidence against the idea that the race is a ‘tossup.’ A tossup race isn’t likely to produce 19 leads for one candidate and one for…

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