Is more always better?

Thanks to my colleague, i recently stumbled upon a local YouTube channel that uses data science to analyze social issues that people may have an entirely different understanding about. Did you know that Uganda is the drinking capital of Africa? Contrary to popular belief, Kenyans don't drink as much as social media makes them out to. Is that a good thing? I'll let you be the judge of that. Before settling for software development, I dabbled a couple of times in the field of data and machine learning, creating algorithms for large models. My colleague on the other hand, let's call him, Tony, is a maestro in the field of information dynamics. My first project was analyzing whether increasing the budget of a movie would result in it making more money at the box office. 7 out of 10 times, it was true, the higher the budget, the more the movie grossed. Movies like Avatar and The Avengers are true positives of this statement. With a budget of $237 million, the 2009 cult classic, Avatar, by director James Cameron, went on to be the highest grossing movie of all time (adjusted for inflation) with a gross of $2.923 billion. The same is true for 2019's The Avengers: Endgame movie. With a $357 million USD budget, it went on to make $2.5 billion USD. So more is always better, right? Not really. Let's have a look at the 3 out of 10 movies that go contrary to the belief that more is always better. John Carter is a 2012 film by Disney. With a budget of $263 million USD, it went on to gross $211 million USD. It resulted in a $52 million USD loss, before copyright payments, marketing costs and distribution. The loss went on to balloon to $200 million USD. What's going on here? Does it mean more isn't always better? I would say, a lot of factors influence the outcome of an event. Factors in the movie industry may not apply to the tech industry. Sometimes a high budget may result in a high grossing movie. However if a bottomless well of cash is aimed at hiring the most popular actors and buying the best cameras in the industry and not on hiring the most capable actors or writing the best stories, your movie has higher chances of failing than succeeding. Remember just because an actor is popular doesn't necessarily mean they are the most suited to a role. So today, instead of adding more to you already full plate, start analyzing what you need or might not need. You maybe learning a lot of programming languages but can't seem to get a job. How about focusing on a single one and making it your best sand most marketable skill. You may be exercising 5 hours a day, 7 days a week but not seeing any change in your physique. How about an intense 2-hour workout, 4 days a week, giving your muscles enough time to recover. More may be better in situations where it is necessary. It's best to have more than half a tank of fuel in your car on a long journey just in case than it is to have 5 spoons of sugar in a cup of tea in an effort to make it sweeter. I am better of knowing i won't run out of fuel on a safari than knowing I am at a higher risk of diabetes. So, is more always better? You may not be a data scientist, but it is definitely a food-for-thought.

Jessie

jesse.wainaina@3qs.co.ke

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