Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
It's possible to get data to tell you anything.
I confess, though, that I was rendered temporarily insensate by some data that wafted beneath my eyes today and refused to leave.
For reasons that were, no doubt, well intentioned, an Atlanta-based company called SalesLoft -- which offers, oh dear lord, "sales management solutions" -- decided to "deconstruct" millions of emails to see whether some content was more effective than "Hi, I hope you're well."
I can't imagine how you deconstruct an email. Probably in the same way a fancy chef deconstructs peach flambé.
The results of SalesLoft's deconstruction, however, shiver on an axis between exciting and numbing.
What might move you is that subject lines with just one word outperformed the average by 87 percent.
I think I'll try a one-word headline for an article very soon. My favorite right now is "panic."
Oddly, this deconstructive study insisted that any numbers in a subject line reduced the response rate by 32 percent.
Even more oddly, emails containing the word "referred" in their subject line enjoy a 536 percent greater response rate.
Emails with fewer than 50 words apparently showed a response rate 40 percent greater than average.
Perhaps you're already moved by some of this blinding fascination.
I, though, am still bathing in another result from the study.
It seems that if you write "Cheers" as your sign-off, it increases the response rate by 8 percent.
I find this particularly painful.
Because I grew up on the older, more decrepit side of the Atlantic, Americans seem to believe I want to end conversations or written communications with "Cheers."
It's so very British, after all.
Sadly, I'm not that sort of British. Indeed, my blood is Polish and it boils every time I see someone shove this word in, perhaps in an attempt at peculiar assimilation.
Naturally, I asked SalesLoft whether, perhaps, it had deconstructed a vast trove of British emails.
The company told me that the data was representative of its client base, which is predominantly American.
There must be quite a few Americans who believe talking British -- rather than ending an email with, say, "Thanks" -- will get them somewhere.
Ultimately, though, I can now feel more sanguine.
It could be that these people are ending their emails with "Cheers" because they want an 8 percent higher chance of a response.
How very businesslike.