Thanks to Coronavirus I have been able to figure out which of my friends are absolute idiots.
One guy posted on Facebook ‘Wow Narendra Modi is the best man. All librandus are so stupid. They are finding flaws in his strategy while international leaders are praising us for having only 250 cases.’
I have seen a variation of this ‘we have only 250 cases, we are the best’ post so many times over the last one week. I feel I finally have to sit and write why this argument is flawed.
Note: I am not Cornovirus expert. I am just someone who spends a lot of time as part of his day job looking at data.
The first thing you learn when you become a PM is to not bother with absolute numbers. Ever. Absolute numbers are easy to fake. 10 years back the entire industry used to juice app install numbers. Then ecommerce companies started a dick measuring contest around GMV.
If you come for an interview, and say DAU or some other absolute number as your north star, then you will be rejected. Period. (At least if it is me taking the interview).
- So if not numbers, then what? Think CONVERSION always instead of absolute numbers. Instead of DAU, track Transactions/DAU as your north star. If you are looking at any metric, always ask yourself
- if you are looking at an absolute number which can be gamed or a conversion
- if you have the numerator and denominator right
Now lets come back to analysis of Coronavirus on social media. There is no point shouting about total cases being low in India and feeling superior. Total cases mean fuck all. Measure People who test positive/ Total people tested. Remember how people thought USA was not affected with Coronavirus at all before they ramped up testing. All of a sudden they are reporting 10k+ cases/week (instead of the <1k weekly earlier).
I have also seen some idiots who compare graphs of positive cases for two countries in absolute terms. Have you ever asked if the two countries are testing at the same rate? Because if the rates of testing is different, the comparison graphs don’t make sense at all.
So if see comparison of India vs Singapore on a week on week basis since the first positive case, and see India not showing the steep growth in positive cases, it might just be us not testing people in a scale that Singapore has. I don’t understand how the Government gets credit for the low count of positive cases!
Also think cohorts. People coming back from abroad will take more than a week to show symptoms. So if you are measuring, start measuring for cohorts, like people who landed here 1 month back, how many of them have tested positive and how many of them have spread this Virus to other people. If our screening is so much better, this number should be low.
My mom is a doctor in Guwahati. She works in the main Govt hospital, where everyone goes for treatment. She has enough clout. She still could not get my brother tested when he was having cold and fever last week. The Hospital asked him to fill two forms and the main criteria for testing was if he had been in touch with anymore who tested positive recently. He was like ‘Fuck I know. I have been roaming around because there have been no cases in Assam till now. Please test’. They said Naah and sent him back. Thankfully he is fine now. But what if he actually had Coronavirus, and had given it to like 10 people already, including my family?
So before sharing Whatsapp forwards of WHO declaring our PM the best PM ever, just use your brain cells a bit.
- Quick quiz: If you got this as a Whatsapp forward, will you forward this to your friends?
If your chest swelled with pride and you said ‘Proud of my PM’, then congrats. You are an idiot.
- Also note that there is no causation between eating vegetarian food with corona immunity. If you are someone who believe that, you are also an idiot.