Slowing Growth? Lies, damned lies, and statistics

During a conversation yesterday an Investor/Director questioned a founder about their “slowing growth”.

This didn’t sit well with me but I couldn’t put my finger on why.

Then I realised that the idea of ‘slowing growth’ is damn close to an oxymoron when taken in the wrong context. Take a look at the chart below …..

The chart above represents a company who obviously had fantastic YoY growth early from 2009-2011, and since then has seen that YoY growth slow rapidly heading towards zero. Taken in the context of ‘slowing growth’ this looks pretty damning.

However, I built the above chart using data from this tweet

To quote Mark Twain who incorrectly attributed this quote to the British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli: “There are three kinds of liesliesdamned lies, and statistics.”

I don’t think the same Investor would be upset if they’d invested in AirBnB in 2011, yet out of this context, they are willing to question a founder with the same line.

 

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