We are fixated on data. How many cases are there of COVID-19 or should we be tracking deaths? Is the Dow or the S&P a better gage of investment success? As we prepare to end our quarantine we will examine areas to measure. It is challenging but necessary for our sanity. Jack Welch built his career helping and requiring his employees meet the measurements of Six Sigma. This week’s blog will identify areas we have monitored in our past and how they worked and end with items to measure in the future.
One of the first people I followed for information on the bond market was John. He was a writer for Barron’s Current Yield column and I was impressed by his accuracy in predicting unemployment realeases. I called him and asked him about his secret sauce. After he vetted my needs - we began a conversation that was mutually beneficial. His secret was to monitor weekly unemployment claims and ADP data. Both items are now monitored by all of us. If John was still living I’m confident that he would be identifying new releases to measure.
During the Depression people monitored electricity usage. Since we didn’t have online internet data yet electricity was data we could measure. When the data turned we began to hope for an end to the horrible food lines and unemployment. Sounds familiar and the other similarity is our human ingenuity. What we monitor for our business and for the COVID pandemic is important and essential.
The President has provided Governors with a phased in optional recommendation on how to evolve from shelter-in place to a “normal” economy. Large technology firms have helped design apps using our phones to measure essential data. The wealth advisory business has also designed and repurposed several support procedures that can be improved using social media. Two firms that we are evaluating are Pareto Systems and Oechsli Institute. Our world has changed for us and our clients. How we address and help solve these changes will separate the winners from the losers.
We need to decide what needs to be measured and realize that Bhutan had it correct measuring facts which will help us get re-elected.