We just discovered a pretty neat tool by Google called Google Correlate. It lets you find out which search queries have activity correlating the most with other search words.
It’s a fun tool, but it’s also useful if only for one thing: to remind us that correlation is not causation.
Everyone says they understand that, and yet they behave as if they don’t. We just read a McKinsey report that used correlation to imply causation.
So, as definitive proof, let me offer you the correlation between the query “Business Insider” and the queery “sheetzbox.”
What’s “sheetzbox”? As we found out, it’s a place to download piano sheet music. Nothing to do with Business Insider. And yet it’s the search term that’s the most correlated to Business Insider.
And why are they so correlated? Because things like that happen and correlations can mean anything, including nothing.
Here’s the chart. We wish everyone who writes and opines about stats for a living would pin it above their desks.
Photo: Google Correlate
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