Paul Otellini is the outgoing CEO of Intel, the world’s leading semiconductor company who’s products are used in almost every technological device. When it came to supply parts for the un-announced iPhone, he went with the data instead of his gut:
“We ended up not winning it or passing on it, depending on how you want to view it. And the world would have been a lot different if we’d done it,” Otellini told me in a two-hour conversation during his last month at Intel. “The thing you have to remember is that this was before the iPhone was introduced and no one knew what the iPhone would do… At the end of the day, there was a chip that they were interested in that they wanted to pay a certain price for and not a nickel more and that price was below our forecasted cost. I couldn’t see it. It wasn’t one of these things you can make up on volume. And in hindsight, the forecasted cost was wrong and the volume was 100x what anyone thought.”
It was the only moment I heard regret slip into Otellini’s voice during the several hours of conversations I had with him. “The lesson I took away from that was, while we like to speak with data around here, so many times in my career I’ve ended up making decisions with my gut, and I should have followed my gut,” he said. “My gut told me to say yes.”
Here was a man who created in his 8 years more revenue for Intel than Intel ever did in its 45 year history who went with data-driven instead of data-informed. And he himself remarks about the number of times he has gone with his gut. As we talk about testing and the accumulation of data, keep these stories in mind.
There are many more examples of being data informed instead of data driven at Larry Ferlazzo’s: The Best Resources Showing Why We Need To Be “Data-Informed” & Not “Data-Driven”
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