Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 


Assumptions are easy.

You assume because people are, say, 12 and their voice hasn't broken that they're going to love Taylor Swift and Harry Styles.

You assume that someone with a check shirt and troubling hygiene works in tech.

Sometimes, though, our assumptions are founded on skewed impressions.

That's where Facebook comes in.

It's true that Facebook's assumptions about the world are also founded on skewed thinking, but it does enjoy a tool that might offer a small glimpse into mass enthusiasms.

Facebook divides people up into so-called interest groups through its Preferred Audience tool. Imagine all the fans of "Real Housewives" in a bar. You'd learn so much if it could really happen. You'd possibly drink quite a lot too.

The Verge did a little analysis of Facebook's Preferred Audience data.

It showed that the biggest interest group contained 1,466,365,990 people who are all interested in the very same thing.

No, not sex. Facebook.

Beyond that, though, the numbers might teach you something about people's real enthusiasms. For example, Beyoncé isn't remotely as popular a celebrity as Puffy AmiYum.

Puffy AmiYum doesn't call Puff Daddy "dad." Puffy AmiYum is a Japanese pop duo that rivets an astonishing number of people.

It might pain some that more people are moved by Disney On Ice than by Game Of Thrones.

Personally, I'd like to congratulate Disney On Ice fans for having enough taste to realize what vacuous, plodding wind Game Of Thrones really is.

4,645,190 are fond of Sarah Palin. A slightly greater 4,663,340 are fond of cat communication.

(I feel sure some readers might want to insert their own joke here. I can wait.)

You'd think, wouldn't you, that Justin Bieber has to be the most popular celebrity. You'd be right.

But if I asked you who came second, I could happily sit here and sip fine Honig Sauvignon Blanc for an hour or ten (disclosure: I'm a wine ambassador of the brand) before you'd even get close to guessing who comes second.

Give up? OK. It's Jimmy Page. Yes, the Led Zeppelin guitarist enjoys love beyond all imagination.

The more you stare at the figures, the more you glean true glories of the human condition.

41 million people are interested in crying (not all of them are Chicago Cubs fans). 81 million people are fascinated by boredom. How sad, you might think.

But then you learn that 88 million people are interested in sin and your heart is uplifted once more.

I worry, though, about the Massage Envy in Hoboken. It has a loving audience of one.

I enjoy positive thinking, however. Please let me tell you, then, that the Hoboken Massage Envy needs only 10 more enthusiasts to catch up with the 2013 Nexus 7.

I fear, though, that these numbers only show a partial picture.

All too often when people waft about Facebook, they express their likings without contributing any thinkings.

This leads to sometimes skewed impressions of their true devotions. The truth often lies between the numbers, just as it lies between the lines.

I am stunned, for example, that a mere 40 million people are fascinated by "Shut Up."