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How averages will ruin your life


Check this out: immediately after college, graduates with STEM degrees earn an average of $10,000 more than graduates with humanities degrees.

But by age 40, those with humanities degrees earn slightly more than those who studied STEM.

On average.

You might find this data comforting if you’re really into Greek Literature or archaeology. Sure, you’ll start off earning a bit less, but in the long run it’ll work out. Right?

Not exactly. The average 40-year-old humanities degree holder income is skewed by a relatively small number of ultra-high-earning careers - lawyers, successful politicians, CEOs.

If your plan is to get that archaeology degree and go into law school … yeah, you’ll probably be fine. If that’s definitely not your path, you’ll likely find yourself earning less than that average by age 40. Sorry.

WTF does that have to do with CRO tho

Anytime someone hands you an average, you should look at it funny. Like it might be hiding a tragic lie. Unless you know about the distribution of the underlying data set, you’re in a place of ignorance.

Your average time on site is 1:28. Great! Does that mean you’ve got a minute and a half with every single visitor? Let’s see … 🤔 15 seconds to marvel at your beautiful hero image, 45 seconds to fill out your contact form, and 30 seconds to browse content after converting 🏆.

No way. What you’ve got is a ton of visitors who stick around for a matter of seconds, a handful who stick around for a while, and a select few who spend all their waking hours on your site. The average is meaningless.

On the other hand, if you can get fewer “matter of seconds” visitors while getting more “stick around for a while” visitors (and ignoring the “all their waking hours” folks), that’s a win. Whether the average changes or not.


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© 2022 Brian David Hall