Week Six Blog – Combining Numbers and Stories




Before Spring Break, I devoted my blogs and my independent project into dancing with key terms and concepts that will help me construct and formulate my business financial plan. Right now, it is time to apply what I have learned to my writings. And my blog from now on will feature my reflections throughout my preparation of my final business plan.

So let’s start.


Over the past week, I have enjoyed seeing my friends after break, and one of the most frequently asked question has been “how was your break?” Some people will burst into excitement to share how amazing their breaks were, while others will kindly smile and say that their breaks were good. On the completely opposite edge, I want to tell you the story of my break.




My spring break is the worst beyond any doubt. I went back home and suffered an everlasting jetlag. I also had painful troubles with diarrhea. It visited me right before I was leaving for class and emptied my entire stomach instantly. After that, it became the loyalist cleaner of my body and rejected all “evil” foods. So I spent the majority of my break feeding my servant diarrhea and dancing with my dance partner jetlag who would not rest forever, while having to take three hours of classes everyday. As you can probably imagine, I was exhausted and my life was chaotic. But it became even worse at the end, right after I flew back to the US and just as jetlag number two started torturing me, I realized I gave the driver the wrong date and he was probably in his house playing with his kids. So I had to call him and beg him to come, and then waste hours sitting in JKF waiting and starving.


My point of telling you this story is apparently to show you how disastrous my break was, and it does a decent job with a few imagery and sarcastic words to convey my feelings of anger and frustration. But with too many adjectives, this story is not reliable: it looks like a highly-exaggerated complain rather than a factual story.

open book



And here is another version of the story:


The first night after I got back home I woke up at 2:30 in the morning. The next night I slept for one more hour. In the morning of day three, I started having diarrhea. I spent more than twenty minutes in the bath room after breakfast and went back there twenty-five times that day. In the next week, my going-to-bed time showed a consistent linear equation with a slope of .5 hours/day and an initial value of seven. And my average usage of bathroom stayed consistent around twelve with a standard deviation less than one. Entering week two, both values started approaching the average of all humans. By the end of the week, I went to bed at around 11pm and could sleep for six hours without waking up; I also cut of my overuse of bathroom. All indexes indicated recovery from jetlag and diarrhea, and that night was one day away from my flight back to US. After struggling the thirteen-hour flight across the Earth, I landed at JFK at around 11am and realized my driver was 150 miles away from the airport. I called him and waited three hours at the lobby of JFK, and when I finally got home it was 8:30 and I had not a satisfying meal for more than 20 hours.




This version is more specific, and a lot more accurate than the first one. But it has less emotions in it and is less readable. All these changes happen because of the addition of numbers and the reduction of moody sentences.


But a business plan should be both readable and exact. Numbers are my best friends in terms of accuracy. They are indisputable and precise; and if you want investment from investors, then you do want to give them a number on how much they will earn so that they can securely giving you their money. But numbers are boring to read and hard to interpret without context, and good storytelling does that job. Numbers are facts, but good context can not only explain backstage principles of numbers, but also convey emotions that persuade investors to write checks. So different from novels, in which stories are enough to move readers, and different from math lab reports, in which equations of numbers describe the process, a good business plan requires strong corporation between words and numbers. And only by properly using both will your business financial plan appears attractive and persuasive.


But it is not easy to balance both. The task may seem easy but it is not simple when you have to deal with it. While I was writing the product description last week, I always ran into one and left out the other, and my paragraphs would look either too dry or too unreliable. In the end, I had to revisit and revise these lines over and over again so that they blend both features together. As I move on, I will keep a note in my mind that has all capitals reminding me to make sure I have a proper combination of numbers and stories.

1 thought on “Week Six Blog – Combining Numbers and Stories

  1. emmalefebvre

    Not only was this story entertaining, but you definitely proved your point. When you combine numbers and stories it really does make a positive impact. I will have to try to start incorporating some more numbers in my posts now!


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