The Macalope: Lies, damned lies, and non-sequiturs


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When the Macalope was a young buck, he remembers his parents had a collection of cartoons by Roz Chast. One was called “From Bad to Worse” and went something like this:

A foldable plastic rain hat.
A foldable plastic rain hat with a bank logo on it.
A foldable plastic rain hat with a bank logo on it given as a present.

The relevance of this anecdote will become clear as we look at Louis Bedigian’s article on Forbes about a “poll” showing that “63% Of Investors Don’t Want An Apple iWatch” (no link, but tip o’ the antlers to Kevin P).

Are investors excited by Apple’s rumored iWatch concept?

Yahoo Finance searched for an answer when it published its latest poll, which asked investors the following question:

Anyone who visits Yahoo Finance is hereby granted the title “investor.” Similarly, the Macalope visited once and is now a comely, half-dressed lady who appears in a popular television show. True story.

Apple is reportedly developing a new wristwatch. How interested would you be in buying an iWatch?

Ah! Good question! And what did the esteemed group of people who just happened to be browsing Yahoo Finance and who we’re pretending are all “investors” think?

Very interested (18,325)—18 percent
Somewhat interested (19,529)—19 percent

And … are you ready for the third option? You may not be. Swallow whatever liquids are in your mouth before proceeding because the spit-take probability is near 100 percent.

I already have a watch (65,179)—63 percent


Sweet crunchy alfalfa! It’s like a haiku, where the third line juxtaposes another idea on the whole meaning of the thing!

How interested are you in the future?

1 - Very Interested.
2 - Somewhat Interested.

Let us be clear here. Online polls have nothing to do with finding out how people feel about an issue. The only thing they are designed to do is to drive traffic from survey-clicking monkeys who think it’s some kind of contest.

Obviously the third option does not answer the question that was asked. The Macalope has a watch and is very interested in an Apple watch. Likewise he had a cell phone in 2006 and was very interested in the iPhone.

The poll will continue for the next few hours, but the current results are clear: investors are not overly [sic] about the prospects of a wearable computer.

Not overly what? The Macalope’s not sure if that’s a typo or just a sad, Freudian admission by Bedigian that this ridiculous exercise is a waste of his and our time.

So, the conceit by whoever made this Yahoo Finance poll is rather obvious. “Let’s make a poll and jack the numbers so they say something sensationalist about an Apple device that doesn’t exist yet.” That’s pathetic enough. What’s more pathetic is reporting on it like it means anything, which gets us back to the Macalope’s anecdote.

The Macalope knows it’s the site’s business model and all, but Forbes needs fewer contributors and more people who just say “No” to stories about meaningless Internet wankery like online polls.

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