A post explaining a tweet you ask? Well, it’s the NBA offseason. And frankly, given the heart attack any random Nuggets rumor gives me, I’m fine with slow news days. So with that in mind, I’d like to justify a stance I took on Twitter:
Theories are fun. Just be aware if you bring a theory with no data to a debate, you’re like the person that just brings ice to the party.
— Andres Alvarez (@NerdNumbers) August 14, 2013
This prompted several clever people to point at me and say “AHA! Ice is awesome, your metaphor is silly.” (this included @ArturoGalletti) Or, at least, that’s how I read it! I figured, heck, why not explain this a little more. My tweet was not meant to denigrate ice, or theories. It was rather to point out the lack of substance either has. Do parties need ice? Of course! There’s a reason why gas stations and supermarkets have big coolers with them prominently displayed at their exits.
However, would you go to a party with just ice at it? No! Ice is something that can make a drink better. It’s also something relatively cheap and easy to acquire. But if you want something substantive, you need more! This will often require data and analysis. And much like good food or spirits, this can often be costly or time consuming. Of course, this isn’t always true either, stats like +/- and RBIs are the Coors light of parties I’d say — if this metaphor continues.
To end on this point. Are ice and theories useful? Yes, a little. But it’s worth warning you shouldn’t be too proud of either. Without something more useful in the near future, you just have something cheap that will just melt away.