Monday, December 28, 2009

Creating a "Top-10" for Dummies

This has been inspired by a recent "Top-10" which ranked engineering colleges
  1. Take up a topic that everyone would be interested in. When it’s the month of May, everybody in India is interested in knowing which the best college in India for every stream is. If it’s November (or Mar-Apr), everyone wants to know which the Best B-School in India is. So when its spring, the magazine might come up with, “Top-10 Flowers” in India or when its Diwali time – “The Top-10 Crackers”...
  2. Create an “exhaustive” list of parameters on which the object can be judged. So if it’s a flower, my criterion are:
    • Its colour
    • Durability
    • Ease of growth
    • For the sake of completeness, its ability to attract the other sex
    • And its acceptability in Indian Temples
  3. Categorise the object that is being ranked. For flowers, categorise it as flowers that can be used to decorate the house, that can be used to appease a roothi hui girl friend and those that can be used in bouquets for giving to the winners of the survey.
  4. Create a fundoo sounding methodology. Just note that the following words and terms should appear at least once. Expert, detailed, analysis, survey, representative, statistical, large (wide) sample, ranking, stakeholders, perspectives, review.
  5. Shuffle the known best (Like the IIM-A in B-Schools, 6 IITs in technical institutes, AIIMS in medicine) and award them the top ranks. Throw in the lesser considered ones (NITs in engineering; Other IIMs, XLRI, SPJIMR, MDI etc in B-Schools) to complete the top ten. If you want to make it look even more authentic, remove one of the top from the top and declare that the 'top' refused to participate in the survey and hence is not ranked.
  6. Throw in a few comments from one of the “stakeholders” stating why the best is the best. Throw in an interview with the head of the best and a few more from people below him in the hierarchy.
  7. Importantly, throw in a few statistics which no one can confirm. Ex: While number of petals in roses averaged 57, the number of petals in marigold averaged 123. The trend is expected to improve in the current season due to the influx of Sodiumbenzonitropantonate.
  8. Throw in a few “interesting” points. Interestingly, sabsebadafool is the only flower that is found in Jhumri Talaiya that found its way into the top ten.
  9. Call one of the later ones in the rankings a “surprise” package who is making its “re-entry” after a gap of 6 years. Cite one reason why that could be. Ex: The Hibiscus finds itself back in the top ten after a gap of 6 years because Ms. Sonia Gandhi has decided to cover her garden with different varieties of Hibiscus.
  10. Conclude with a few generic statements which can apply to anything. The atmosphere has a huge impact on the quality and in the coming days, with increasing disturbances, can deteriorate.
And Lo! You have your first top-10. Go publish it. If the first step is right, I’m sure you will receive sufficient readership and with it, possibly, big moolah.


No comments: