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Professional skeptics test everything – a culture of $5 Canadian bets

Daniel's water taste testAt Pure Visibility, we have a culture of $5 Canadian bets. Our $5 Canadian bets mean that we find ways to test our own assertions and those of our team-mates. In the world of search marketing, testing is important. The landscape changes, the strategies evolve, and what worked in the past may no longer hold. We A/B test ad copy and landing pages for our own and our clients’ pay-per-click campaigns. We use Google Website Optimizer to test landing pages. We refine our assertions based on real data from patterns of website use held in Google Analytics or web server logfiles and patterns of search engine use. When proven wrong, or even when not disproven, we then make additional assertions, always willing to refine our understanding in light of new data.

So, we keep ourselves honest and “in practice” by making, testing, and then making good on bets. Our betting currency is $5 Canadian. At one time, it was worth slightly less than a US $5 bill, and it seemed important that the token of our betting, the token of winning and losing, was something a bit more unusual than regular old US fiver. What’s funny is that now many on our team, and one or two of our clients, carry $5 Canadian in our wallets, ready to lay down a bet on a strong statement.

Sometimes we take this culture of falsifiability too far, such as today when Daniel accepted a $5 Canadian challenge to drink some sediment-filled water samples. A salesperson for a newfangled water cooler that uses tap water showed the difference between her product, our water cooler, and our tap water by zapping glasses of water to precipitate out minerals and stuff in solution. The tapwater had a layer of rust at the top and sediment at the bottom. Daniel said it tasted like metal. The water cooler water had a layer of dark sediment and tasted like tomato juice. The newfangled system’s water tasted like water. We’re not yet sure how to interpret this (if we don’t zap our water first, do we care?), but $5 Canadian was exchanged regardless.

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About Dunrie Greiling

Dunrie Greiling is the former Chief Operating Officer at Pure Visibility, but her favorite job title at PV was Director of Happiness. She co-authored the book Internet Marketing Start to Finish, published by Pearson Education, Que Publishing. At her personal blog, Scientific Ink, she writes about things like yoga, knitting, and travel. She can be found on Google+, LinkedIn, and microblogs on Twitter as @dunrie.

2 Responses to "Professional skeptics test everything – a culture of $5 Canadian bets"

  • Catherine
    February 8, 2008 - 8:18 am Reply

    That water (sediment) sounds really nasty… good thing Daniel is laughing his way through the bet!

  • Scientific Ink » links for 2008-02-08 - not particularly objective musings on odds and ends - Dunrie Greiling, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
    February 8, 2008 - 6:23 pm Reply

    [...] Professional skeptics test everything – a culture of $5 Canadian bets | Own Page One: Search Engine … At Pure Visibility, we have a culture of $5 Canadian bets. This means several things to us: it means that we cultivate and then to test our strong opinions. Our $5 Canadian bets mean that we find ways to test our own assertions and those of our team-mates (tags: purevisibility hypothesis-testing workplace culture) [...]

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