A couple horse folks, who read yesterday's blog regarding owner economics, asked me to explain comparative analysis. I often forget that statistical givens may be as foreign to others as deep sea diving is to me, so here's a simple explanation.
Many organizations offer information in isolation. Unfortunately, I've found this to be true in Minnesota racing and breeding. For example, organizations offer Minnesota information on things like purses paid to state breds, state bred foals, auction results, revenue, breeding and racing rules, and many other key racing and breeding elements.
When data is offered in isolation there is no context to determine the value of such data. It's like thinking a five footer is very tall in a tribe of pygmies, or a kid is a future major league ball player because he hit more home runs than anybody else on his high school team, or you are getting a good deal on a new car when the dealer knocks $1,000 off the list price, or a state thinking they are improving breeding by paying $5M in purses to state bred owners. Data is meaningless, and knowledge is rarely developed, unless it's turned into information through comparative analysis.
Comparative analysis expands the study population so that results of similar people or groups can be compared. False improvement is easily claimed but systemic improvement is achieved by first creating context, thus reality, through comparative analysis. Such context then allows organizations to distinguish competitive options available in the improvement process.
So the next time you see anything, from your financial adviser, your stock market analyst, your new home builder, your car dealer, your favorite race track tote, your employer, your favorite politician, or your racing and breeding organization, ask yourself if they created any context for you through comparative analysis. If not, find those who can, or do it yourself. Some people have built entire business models out comparative analysis like Angie's List, True Car, Yelp, Open Table, Hotels.com, Trip Advisor, Consumer Reports, and the list goes on and on.
Comparative analysis may improve your life, and you may find some inner peace of knowing you understand greater truths, represent meaningful positions, take better actions and make better decisions, even if they are not the popular ones.
So, that's what comparative analysis is all about, and I hope this helps.
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.