Useful Numbers Comic Strips
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Asok the Intern and Dilbert sit at a table. The Boss comes in and says, "I need your budget estimate today." Asok replies, "We won't have useful numbers until next week." Dilbert turns and says, "It doesn't work that way, Asok." Asok says, "No?" Asok and Dilbert approach the Boss who stares blankly into space. Dilbert explains, "As soon as he asked the question, he went into 'boss hibernation.'" Dilbert waves his hand in front of his face and says, "He can't see or hear anything until we say a number. Watch." Dilbert says, "Three million dollars." The Boss comes to and says, "Uhn!" The Boss walks away and says, "Three million. Good work." Dilbert says, "The first time I saw it, I panicked and ended up with a budget of $911."
Dilbert says, "I didn't have any accurate numbers so I just made up this one."Dilbert says, "Studies have shown that accurate numbers aren't any more useful than the ones we make up."The Boss says, "How many studies showed that?" Dilbert says, "Eighty-seven."
Boss: I need you to write a business plan for our new line of products. Dilbert: Is that because business plans have a good track record of being useful and accurate? Boss: No, it's nothing like that. Dilbert: Good, because I plan to make up all of the numbers.
Coworker says, "Can I get a rough cost estimate for the design phase?" Dilbert says, "No. I don't trust you with numbers." Coworker says, "What?" Dilbert says, "You're the kind of guy who will remove useful qualifiers and distribute a figure as if it is true in all cases." Dilbert says, "Decisions will be made. People will get hurt." Dilbert says, "For everyone's sake, the safest thing I can do is make an annoying humming sound until you go away." Dilbert says, "Hummmmm-mmmmmmmmm-mmmmm." Dilbert says, "Half of life is making people go away." Dogbert says, "Humm-mmmm"
Woman says, "This isn't what I wanted." Dilbert says, "I know." Dilbert says, "Your communication skill are so poor that I gave up trying to understand what you wanted and instead put some random numbers on a spreadsheet." Woman says, "Why didn't you just ask me to clarify?!" Dilbert says, "Apparently your listening skills need work too."
Wally: I'm toying with the idea of becoming a useful member of society. Then I could enjoy the admiration and respect of my peers. Dilbert: The way you respect and admire me? Wally: Great! Now you've talked me out of it!
The Boss says, "Asok, get me the reliability stats for our previous model." Asok says, "I am fairly certain the data does not exist." The Boss says, "Wally can show you how to get it." Wally says, "Come with me." Wally says, "You start by typing random numbers into a spreadsheet." Asok says,"Then what?" Wally says, "Then you're done." Wally says, "All business data is intentionally misleading. I just take it to the next level." Wally says, "A deep understanding of reality is exactly the same thing as laziness." Asok says, "That can't be right." Wally says, "Have you ever seen a statue of Buddha jogging?"
Boss: I need your latest budget numbers. Dilbert: I put them on that pile yesterday. Boss: I don't have time to look through a pile. Go print it out again. Dilbert: How many times per day is it okay to think about murder? Wally: I'm up to six and it's only lunchtime.
Coworker: Can you come to my meeting at 8am tomorrow? Dilbert: No. I reserve the first few hours of every morning for useful work. Coworker: That feels like an insult. Dilbert: I call it good time management. There's a lot of overlap.