Sample Size of 1

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on June 26, 2013

Yes, even my statistics professor told me that higher the sample size better it is, and anything less than 30 is not at all acceptable. There are plenty of problems with a sample size that small. By what method will we analyse it? There is no scope of grouping, and biggest of all, how can a single observation represent an entire population? Who will that single person be? Prime Minister? And as it won’t represent the population, how can we take a business decision based on it? After all we do sampling to know something about the entire population, Right?

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So, if you didn’t understand those jargons written above or if you think above reasoning makes it clear that based on the response of a single person, we cannot predict the reaction of the entire population to a product, let me give you an example – Have you seen Raju Srivastav (He’s my favourite, you can take any comedian in his place) cracking joke about a situation which you found very real, almost like it has happened with you? At least I did, and I believe a comedian or any story teller for that matter is successful if he or she can tell you a story which seems very real (there is no doubt that Steven Spielberg is also successful). And do they encounter many similar incidents before creating a story about it? I don’t think so.

There are many stories about families, many of which you can relate to. And how many families can one person closely know? The story writer definitely relied on a small number of families he/she knew. So, there have to be products which are created for everyone based on just one or a very few observations, and they can be successful. But even they must satisfy the ages old condition – The sample should be representative of the entire population.

This type doesn’t just include stories and jokes. There was a guy who struggled to book a bus ticket to go home for Diwali. When he couldn’t do it he felt a need for an online bus booking facility and that was how the idea of RedBus was germinated.

The entire story of creating RedBus certainly would have had many steps. But when the single sample, he himself in this case, was felt to be representing everyone who wants to book bus ticket but cannot do it due to accessibility issue there was no need for a market survey. And the success of RedBus tells us that it wasn’t a wrong way to take decision.

So single sample exists and we all knew that. Some call it intuition, some call it impulsive decision. They have been successful and there must be many unsuccessful ones. If this single sample is carefully understood it can be as effective as an extensive market research. The underlying principle is still the same – We want to make something that everybody likes. Sometimes your own experience tells you that and sometimes even a large scale survey fails to tell that. Nobody takes a business decision based on intuition.

They also do a market research; the only difference is - Their sample size is 1.

This article is authored by Apoorva Vajpayee from SCMHRD



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