Surveys and data points are the language of corporate managers and educated professionals. They can be useful when treated instrumentally to answer questions with clear parameters, but when they creep into higher-level thinking as ends in themselves, it indicates the absence of real purpose. “Metrics” were a hallmark of the war in Vietnam. In that war, the search for quantifiable ways to measure progress in a struggle aimed at hearts and minds settled on kill counts and reflected a counterinsurgency cut off from a sound strategy.
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