So there’s a website developed by Tyler Vigen, a Harvard criminology student with a marvelous sense of humor about statistical relationships that can lead us around by the nose if we’re not careful.

Vigen is quite imaginative at surfacing some pretty silly correlations and sharing them with his website visitors. We recommend checking out his site … Spurious Correlations when you have a few minutes.

Here are two of our favorites, depicting the apparent correlation between per capita consumption of cheese, skiing facilities revenue and other long term trends.

We’re sure you got a chuckle from these examples because they are so far-fetched. But Vigen has posted them to his website for more than laughs.  He’s reminding us that even the strongest of correlations do not prove causation. And he’s warning us that any two trends might well show an intriguing yet irrelevant correlation.

For business enterprises, it’s crucial to first focus on what you need to understand, what’s potentially driving an outcome that’s relevant to growth … before you explore data relationships.