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Statistics for Sustainable Development > Blog > One Statistician’s Musings on our Company Name

Opinion Piece

One Statistician’s Musings on our Company Name

I've been working for Stats4SD for almost four months now as a Statistician and I am very proud to be part of the team. The main reason is because of the work we do; I find it is meaningful and participates in making our world a better place through the tools and analysis we do. Another reason is that I think we have a really cool brand name.

Why is our name so fab you ask?

Well firstly our full name: ‘Statistics for Sustainable Development’ is very explicit. Our organisation's main objective is to provide statistics-related advice and analysis for projects supporting sustainable development processes, in the developing world. Of course our brand name certainly does not give a full picture of all that we do, but as a way to present us in just 4 words: it sure is hard to beat!

And talking about the number 4, our acronym is ‘Stats4SD’, Stats for "Statistics", 4 for "for" and SD for "Sustainable Development". It is also the name of our website: www.stats4sd.org. Wow, it makes for such a great acronym! Why? Well, first, it is short; it sounds nice and fun when said; and it makes it clear that Statistics is our thing. Simple.

Then for Statisticians like us, we don't have to think for even a moment to find a second meaning behind the ‘SD’. Anyone who is familiar with Statistics would know that SD stands for Standard Deviation; the famous measure of variability that plays such an important role in our work. Estimating the Standard Deviation of some variables is usually a necessary step to making any sort of conclusion when analysing data.

Among many other things, the Standard Deviation is often used to evaluate whether chance alone could be a possible explanation for an apparent difference. And with a difference of 4 standard deviations (4SD), you can be pretty confident that the difference is real: chance alone could not explain it. Well I believe we are pretty good at what we do, and that is not due to chance either.

The Standard Deviation is also often called Sigma, as the Greek letter is usually used to represent it, and here is an interesting quote from the science fiction book "The Annihilation Score" by the British novelist Charles Stross:

 

"The four Sigmas are typically stronger than a locomotive, and faster than a speeding bullet"

 

Other common meanings associated with ‘SD’ are:

- Survey Data, which is a very common type of data we are dealing with;

- (Well) Structured Design, which is something we highly promote;

- Sudan which is a country in Africa, where some of our work is based, or...

- Scooby-Doo which goes well with the nice and friendly atmosphere of our office

 

Our name even looks good on our company hoodies!

 

Also, if you look at the height of each character in Stats4sd, we have one small character (the s), then one tall (t), then one small (a), etc. and overall a very nice recurring pattern. And well, Statistics is all about looking for patterns. Note also that “small” and “tall” start with s and t, the two first letters of the word ‘statistics’ and that the number of times the pattern "small, tall" occurs is 4! So many patterns…

So yes, we do have a really cool name, don't you think? And can you tell that a Statistician wrote this blog post? We’d love to hear your views on our name, or maybe you have a company brand name that you’re especially proud of, or that’s caught your eye – either way, let us know!