Plane crashes, software crashes, and business crashes

I’ve run into the same theme in very different contexts lately: people ignore data from crashes.

FlowingData has an article today claiming that, contrary to popular belief, some parts of an airplane are safer than others.  According to the article, pundits routinely claim that all seats are equally safe even though data show that the probability of surviving a plane crash varies from 49% in the front of the aircraft up to 69% in the rear.

Also today, Coding Horror published its second article on software crashes. See Crashing Responsibly and Twitter: How Not To Crash Responsibly. Many applications don’t collect data from crashes, and those that do don’t always make good use of it.

Finally, Scott Shane’s book The Illusions of Entrepreneurship (ISBN 0300113315) examines small business crashes. Entrepreneurs, investors, and policy makers often make decisions based on myths that are soundly refuted by data.

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