When the gauge is broken

When your watch stops, it’s unlikely that you believe that time is now standing still. It’s obviously the watch that’s broken, not time.

But when a metric on our culture or a complex machine is functioning poorly, it’s easy to get confused. Is this work actually unpopular, or is the bestseller list not an accurate reporter of what people care about? Is the pump actually overheating, or is the temperature probe broken?

The more complex the system, the more likely we are to believe a broken gauge, even if it’s only right twice a day.

If you’re not satisfied with what you think is happening, it might be worth recalibrating.