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The Holmes Page THE SOAP BOX 1997/07/30



1997/07/30: The Joy of Stats   Recently, I received an e-mail newsletter that presented an extract of an item from the July 28 1997 issue of Information Week. 
The newsletter entitled the extract "Macs Outperform PCs In Digital Media Production". 
The item described a research study by Gistics, Inc. that found that "users of Macintosh computers [in digital media houses] produced an average US$26,441 more annual revenue and US$14,488 more net profit per person than Windows users of comparable skill, doing similar work". 
Gistics' editor-in-chief concluded that "the bottom line is, if you want to make a profit as a media production studio, large or small, buy a Mac, because the return on investment is clear". 
Third-hand "factoids" like these, and the statistics they present, are useless without the complete set of details to allow for a full understanding of the context of the study. 
For example, what is the ratio of Mac to PC users? How many of each were there? How long had the users been using their respective systems? How old are the production houses? 
My interpretation is that, rather than Mac houses being more profitable to the owners, it is the PC houses that are more economical to the clients. 
For "comparable skill" and "doing similar work", the PC houses are cheaper. Mac production houses overcharge. The PC media production houses are the underdogs, charging less in order to get the work and the market share. 
You may not agree with my interpretation, but, without more study data, who is to say which interpretation is right or wrong?

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