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The Visual Organization: Data Visualization, Big Data, and the Quest for Better Decisions by Phil Simon

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CHAPTER 7

WWVOD?

If we have data, let's look at data. If all we have are opinions, let's go with mine.

—Jim Barksdale

I've only lived in Las Vegas for a little over two years, but it's evident to me that it differs from most U.S. cities in many regards. Zappos's CEO Tony Hsieh's $350-million Downtown Project to revitalize the city and 24/7 gambling most easily come to mind. In one way, however, Sin City is pretty pedestrian, especially these days. Like Austin, Seattle, San Jose, San Francisco, New York, Washington, DC, Boston, Boulder, and scores of other major U.S. cities, Vegas sports a vibrant start-up community. (Wedgies, profiled in Chapter 4, is one such start-up.) Never before has it been cheaper to start a company and, generally speaking, when anybody can do something so easily, just about everybody does. Untold numbers of entrepreneurs are trying to change the world as I write this, or at least trying to become the next Instagram, Waze, or Tumblr. Few ultimately will, but that hasn't changed the fact that start-ups abound these days.

Against this backdrop, it's easy to forget that companies like Wedgies remain the exception, not the rule. Most businesses operating today are not greenfield sites. In May 2012, the Small Business Association reported that more than 28 million active small businesses operated in the United States.1 Yes, these enterprises fail frequently, and new ones start on a daily basis.* However, it's safe to say that millions of organizations today ...

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