Better BI

Chris Gerrard – Exploring the world of Better Business Intelligence

Can you BI? Take this test.

with 3 comments

Being a BI professional requires a full suite of intellectual skills. Our lives are spent helping people make sense out of their business data. In this pursuit we must be capable of making sense out of the things we’re told, what we read, and the data we’re presented with.

A big challenge, perhaps the biggest, is understanding what our business partners tell us. We are responsible for learning their language, their perspectives, their business ideas, their idioms. They are not responsible for learning ours.

We also must be capable of determining when what we’re being told doesn’t make sense. When we’re presented with something that doesn’t makes sense it’s our obligation to clear things up. Proceeding otherwise is very, very bad form, and almost guarantees big problems later.

In this spirit, I’m providing a snippet from an article on (below) that claims to correct several fallacies associated with sports, specifically bicycling, nutrition. Your job as a BI professional is to spot the problem with the material. You don’t need to be a sports nutritionist or bicyclist. (but aren’t you happy I told you there is a problem?)

Feel free to use the comments section for your observations, or contact me directly.

The full article is on here.

Problematic section follows:


A calorie is a calorie
This might be the biggest weight-loss misunderstanding in existence. For years we’ve been told that weight loss is a simple calories-in, calories-out equation, and 3,500 excess calories will put on a pound whether they come from soybeans or banana cream pie. That’s simply not true.

“There are three key types of calories: carbohydrate, protein and fat,” says sports nutritionist Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, CSSD, creator and coauthor of the Flat Belly Diet (published by Rodale, Bicycling’s parent company). “They’re as different as gasoline, motor oil and brake fluid in terms of the roles they play in keeping your body operating optimally.” Sass says that many of her clients might eat the perfect number of calories, but they have cut their fat intake too much. So the jobs that fat does, such as repairing cell membranes and optimizing hormones, go undone, and the surplus carbs are stored as fat. By correcting her clients’ balance of carbs, protein and fat without changing their calorie intake, she says, she has helped them lose weight, improve their immune systems, gain muscle and boost energy.


Written by Chris Gerrard

February 7, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. I know zilch about nutrition and not much about cycling, but I’ll play along…

    If one is already eating “the perfect number of calories” I suppose a mere rebalancing of their cabs “without changing their calorie intake” may indeed have an impressive affect. However, if someone eats 3,500 calories in excess of the perfect number of calories, I suspect that a simple rebalancing of their calories -and nothing more- will have a less impressive affect. Thus, the so-called fallacy of “the biggest weight-loss misunderstanding in existence” might not be as big as the author leads us to believe.


    February 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    • Excellent thinking. You’re on to something.

      Chris Gerrard

      February 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm

  2. The author’s got hidden numbers in mind without naming them as thresholds. But “excess”, “operating optimally”, “cut their fat intake too much” and “perfect number of calories” imply that all these metrics can be (and are) known by the author. The reader can’t evaluate or understand how big or small this fallacy is without knowing the measure connected to these absolute adjectives. This would lead into the second level of questions, whether those numbers are different for everyone and under what circumstances.


    June 20, 2012 at 11:03 pm

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