Jay is the Fourth Horse of Statistics
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Jay is the Fourth Horse of Statistics

Everyone thinks I’m a statistician by trade, but nothing could be further from the truth. Here’s my journey.

“Hi, this is Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and the QI Macros [software]. I’m here in Maui Kaanapali Villas in Maui.

“One of the things that I want you to think about is because I wrote the QI Macros, everybody thinks I’m a statistician or something, but… the truth is a little bit further from that.

“Suzuki the Zen master had a story of four horses: One ran easily, one you had to flog it a little bit, one he had to flog a little more, and the fourth one you had to flog a lot to get it to move. Well I’m kind of a little bit more like the fourth horse. So, full disclosure: in college, I failed statistics TWICE. (I got a D, not an F, but you know what I’m talking about.) The third time around, I had to sit with the professor and get coached because I did not understand it.

“Now, like that fourth horse, over time I have gotten it figured out so I can bring it into the very marrow of my bones, so I get it, but you know… I belong to the American Statistical Association and I have hung out at those meetings with people who are infinitely smarter than I am about numbers and statistics, talking about how gravity bends light around planets and stuff like that. Oh my gosh, these people are uber smart, all right? But what have I been able to do? Well, because I’ve taken it to the marrow of my bones I’ve been able to distill it into the essence – what do we need to know in Six Sigma. The Stat Wizard is a distillation of that knowledge.

“Now, am I a purist? No! A lot of the people I know in the statistical community are lovely people but then every once in a while I find somebody who wants to lord their knowledge over everyone else and make fun of somebody who doesn’t really talk the talk and walk the walk. Guess what? I call those people “Stat Bastards.” Now, I’m not one of those guys, because I know how hard it is to learn if you don’t quite get it. My wife sailed through statistics – sailed through statistics. It’s not a natural state for me. Now, can I do all kinds of other math? Oh my gosh, yes. Can I code? You betcha. But are statistics my home ground? No!

“But like that fourth horse, I have gotten it into the marrow of my bones, and so I want you to believe that you too can get it into the marrow of your bones, even if it’s not your natural state. Again, if we’re working in service industries, we may not need that many statistics so that will take us even further. We don’t have to know [statistics] anymore.

“I’m Jay Arthur, that’s my Improvement Insight: I don’t care if you’re the best horse that runs or the worst horse that runs, you can get these things into the marrow of your bones and bring them out into the world in very useful ways. Have fun out there.”

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