Incomplete numbers

India’s premium smartphone segment grew 29% YoY in 2019; Apple was the fastest growing brand, up 41% YoY, and OnePlus maintained its No. 1 position

—The Economic Times (via Techmeme)

This headline is bothering me. It appears to present the idea that the Indian market is (finally) turning towards premium smartphones. But these numbers only present half the story.

It’s great the the premium smartphone segment grew 29%, and Apple’s sales (I presume) grew 41%. But from what base did they grow?

Also, how fast did the overall smartphone market grow? If the overall smartphone market grew by more than 29%, then the market share of premium segment actually shrank.

Half the numbers, half the story. Still makes it to the front page of Techmeme :/

Continue reading Incomplete numbers

Bias is good

Economist - Red, but not a red top
Red, but not a red top.

In professional cycling, the more dangerous surface to race on is not the slippery one, or a rough / cobbled one, but an unpredictable one. The cyclists can slow down, and/or change the angle of approach if they know about the slippery conditions, or broken road surface. Crashes happen when they go into a corner full gas not knowing about the bad road surface condition ahead.

Moving from pro-cycling to media (and people), the problems caused by bias are just the same. It’s easier to deal with a person who you know is strongly, and consistently biased one way or the other1 – irrespective of whether that bias is in alignment with, or against, your own biases views. It’s the unpredictable ones who are harder to read (and deal with). As interesting as people are to write about, in this post, I’ll stick to media.

Karthik wrote about what he considers The Economist’s *shit* coverage of Indian politics, tinted by their bias against Narendra Modi. Yet, he continues to read the newspaper2 for their non-Indian-politics coverage. However, in view of his recent discovery of the Murray Gell-mann Amnesia effect, Karthik ponders whether he can trust The Economist’s viewpoint on other topics anymore. Read his full post here.

The Predictable

My take on this issue is different. It relies on known and unknown biases. Having been a paid subscriber of The Economist for about 8 years now, I have come to identify their bias as ‘Economically Conservative, Socially Liberal3 4.

Continue reading Bias is good