Vocalabs Newsletter: Quality Times

Issue
64

In This Issue


Net Naughty nice Index (NNNI)

Memo

From: Crinkletoes, Chief Operational Elf (COE)

To: All Elves

Re: Adoption of NNNI across all North Pole operations

As many of you have heard, beginning this Christmas season the North Pole will replace our traditional Naughty or Nice list with the Net Naughty Nice Index (NNNI), a change which will bring us into alignment with the state of the art for a 21st century gift delivery network, and provide us with dramatic improvements in operational efficiency.

This is a big change we've been working on all year in cooperation with the top consultants in the field, and I know you all have a lot of questions. In this memo, I've compiled some of the most frequently asked questions and their answers.

Why the change?

I think many of you will agree that the Naughty or Nice list, while part of our corporate heritage, is an inefficient, outdated business process. By adopting the latest techniques we can achieve the same or better level of gift giving accuracy at considerably less expense. Just the process of checking the Naughty or Nice list twice takes the effort of thousands of elves. NNNI is statistically accurate enough that this costly and redundant step will no longer be necessary. Furthermore, while the Naughty or Nice list was very subjective and required a lot of judgment calls, the NNNI is completely objective, based on mathematical models and statistics.

Who else is using NNNI?

Naturally, we will be the most prominent adoption of NNNI to date. You can't get much bigger than the North Pole, ho ho ho!

Still, it's good to ask whether NNNI has ben adequately tested in the real world. Research published in the Elven Management Journal shows that NNNI is highly correlated with actual naughty or nice behavior; and I expect to see announcements soon that the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are also switching to NNNI. NNNI is quickly being established as the only metric needed to track the relative niceness of children.

What if we make a mistake?

You may have heard that with NNNI we will end the practice of checking our list twice. This will save considerable elf magic, which we can put to better use elsewhere at the North Pole.

Some of you are rightly concerned that this may lead to more mistakes where children who deserve toy trains or dolls get lumps of coal, and vice versa. Of course, we did occasionally make mistakes on the Naughty or Nice list, which is why it was necessary to check it twice in the first place.

We have given this a lot of consideration, and we hired as consultants the researchers who developed the NNNI. They have shared with us their proprietary research proving that across a large enough statistical sample, NNNI is an almost perfect predictor of actual incidence of naughty and nice behavior among children in our target demographics.

For example, when we compared the average NNNI for all children in New York City, we found that it matched the statistically weighted average position of all New York children on the Naughty or Nice list to a very high degree of accuracy. It was this research which gave us the confidence to eliminate the redundancy in our old process as part of this rollout.

How does NNNI work?

Whereas the old Naughty or Nice list required the work of many elves to examine the behavior of children one-by-one, the NNNI uses a crowdsourced process to leverage the "wisdom of crowds" to achieve the same result with considerably less effort.

The NNNI begins with a large statistical sample of millions of children, and ask each of them one simple question: "On a scale of zero to ten, where zero is very naughty and ten is very nice, how naughty or nice are the other children you generally associate with?"

The data from this question are fed into a mathematical model which uses the social graph of each child to calculate an aggregate NNNI for a large population of children. Then, intersections of the social graph are used to identify "supernodes" of niceness or naughtiness--essentially very nice or very naughty children. The relative distance of each child from the supernodes is then used to calculate each child's NNNI score upon which we base gift-giving decisions.

What other changes are taking place?

With the increased efficiency and accuracy of NNNI, we are also making significant reductions in our complaints and returns departments. We simply will not need as many elves to handle the volume this year.

This has allowed me to exceed my stretch goals for operational efficiency at the North Pole this year, an achievement which I am very proud of.

Thank you to everyone who provided input during this process. You are what makes the North pole great!

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