Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Quantitative, Qualitative or Low Hanging Fruit? When To Take Action on Observations

How much data do you need before implementing a change in your product? I heard an interview with Brian Tierney, CEO of Philadelphia Media Holdings on NPR last week. He's owner of The Philadelphia Enquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News. The downward spiral of the print business has been going on since the 1980s. His struggle to increase circulation and profitability isn't something new, but there was something in the interview that was interesting. 

He told a story of walking into a Wawa and seeing someone purchase a cup of coffee for two dollars and a newspaper for fifty cents. As the man walked away, he took out the sports section and threw out the rest of the newspaper. That was all it took for Brian Tierney to make the decision to up the price from 50 to 75 cents. His rationale was that if people are spending a couple dollars on coffee every day and if just the sports section was worth 50 cents, the rest of it was worth more. 

I wonder if this was a real observation or an anecdote he created to back up a belief he had. Assuming this was real, this was a single piece of data used to change the price of a product. He didn't embark on a survey to see if this change was acceptable or have someone set up a focus group. 

When is the time right to take an action based on feedback? How much feedback is needed to make a decision? Product design is an art form that requires events with uncertain outcomes. Never count your money while you're sittin' at the table. Tell'em Kenny...

1 comment:

Jonthan said...


I came across this post today and would love to get your permission to reprint it on the recently launched website for Walden University's College of Management and Technology, Think+Up (

Please take a look and let me know what you think.



Jonathan Maziarz
Content Editor
EAT MEDIA: For the Content Hungry
Florida/New York
646-530-8664 x3