Three Blind Analysts and a Data Warehouse

Posted by M ws On Tuesday, October 2, 2012 1 comments
I am sure many of us are familiar with the six visually impaired men and the elephant. A tale dating back thousands of years, it appears in different cultures - notably China, Africa and India., Although the number of blind men ranges from five to seven, the message is always the same.


Much of our decision making or formulation of opinions depends on our senses, experiences, and perceptions. Even though the subject under scrutiny is the same, our perceptions and lessons derived from the experiences can be vastly different. In many cases, we may not even be consciously aware of our differences in perceptions and/or understandings just because such divergence is regarded as insignificant. Again, this varies in different situations.
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Each of us may be assessing a particular situation via our own frame of references or looking glass based on our agenda or desired outcome. Hence, selective exposure and interpretation influences our perceptions. When no filters are used, we have open hearts and minds to the barrage of information available. Then, we can fully experience and understand the communication process. Even so, our other senses could take control. For instance, we may pay careful attention to details or detect certain smells more easily all of which directly or indirectly shapes our understanding and experience differently.

Ideally, each should desire better understanding and a more accurate perception of the scenario such as a macro rather than micro view. Realistically, it is a tedious process because none have similar life experiences or understanding. Hence, all should try to tackle the challenges and obstacles lest we end up like zombies walking in the land of the living dead. If indeed we are lost in the situation, we would be like the blind men feeling the elephant.

Upon realization that there are multiple "truths" and points of view, there would be a new beginning when the realization dawns on us that we need each other to make a complete, or even an imperfect whole.

While trawling the net for more contemporary lessons each of us can learn from this tale, I came across Stephen Few's pdf article on Three Blind Analysts and a Data Warehouse - The Power of Faceted Analytical Displays where he argued that "Conventional Business Intelligence tools make it unnecessarily difficult to explore data from multiple perspectives, so analysts tend to pursue only a limited set of predetermined questions." He expounds on how there can be greater volume through visual encoding  and broader dimensionality through visual cross tabs. Then, we can develop variable perspectives through faceted analytical displays.

If you have time, please CLICK HERE to read Stephen Few's paper on Three Blind Analysts and a Data Warehouse - The Power of Faceted Analytical Displays.

Take care and may each one of us continue to look at life openly with the realization that our perceptions can change and or create our reality. Have a great day!!! 

P.S. Today is my last lecture at college and this is the final part of my lecture to encourage students to move on in their lives with open-mindedness and sensitivity to those around us. 

1 comments to Three Blind Analysts and a Data Warehouse

  1. says:

    UP41 The version I knew was 6 blind men. I didn't know why 6 when I was a kid. In recent years I learned that it could be that in Buddhism there are 8 layers or type of consciousness & the first 6 layers are our 6 senses and 6 blind M refer to our 6 senses that deal with the physical world.

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