Some personal examples of analytic metrics that we’re familiar with is we all know something about our credit score. Most of us have no idea what the exact formula is but we know that it’s some number 400 and 800 and that the bankers use this as a way of measuring the amount of risk in giving someone a loan, and we know that certain things cause it to go up and down. If you have a credit card with $5,000 limit, you haven’t used it for two years, and you cancel the card, your credit score actually goes down which is counterintuitive. You’d think it would go up, but you’re getting rid of a line of credit. So, that’s a much better measure than just looking at one number, like your assets divided by your liabilities.
Another example in your personal life is a website called RealAge.com that gives you your physical age versus your chronological age, and it asks you a whole lot of questions about your family, your genetic history, your current health stats; you enter your blood pressure and your triglycerides and your weight, and then it asks a bunch of lifestyle questions about diet, exercise, sleep and so forth and it gives you this overall number. This number is much more reliable as a predictor of your longevity and health than simply looking at your cholesterol or your waist size or any individual number. So the idea is an index gives you a much more accurate reading of what’s going on without having hundreds of metrics that you have to look at.
So if I saw that my real age was five years older than my birthday’s, I’d have to drill into the data to find out what’s going wrong and what I should do about it, so that’s the concept, is you start with a high level summary gauge and then you have the intelligence and the drilldowns underneath it to be able to analyze what’s going on.