The following by Matt Bailey


In my seminars, I enjoy teaching analytics because the fun is in finding effective and memorable methods to help people understand the concepts. One of my favorites is an analysis of the Red-Shirt Phenomenon in Star Trek. Captain James T. Kirk.



What? You don’t know about the Red Shirt Phenomenon? Well, as any die-hard trekkie knows, if you are wearing a red shirt and beam to the planet with Captain Kirk – you’re gonna die. That’s the common thinking, but I decided to put this to the test. After all, I hadn’t seen any definitive proof; it’s just what people said. (Remind you of your current web analytics strategy?) So, let’s set our phasers on ‘stun’ and see what we find . . .


The basic stats: The Enterprise has a crew of 430 (startrek.com) in its five-year mission. (Now, I know that the show was only on the air for 3 years, but bear with me. 80 episodes were produced, which gives us the data to build from.) 59 crewmembers were killed during the mission, which comes out to 13.7% of the crew. So, that will be our overall conversion rate, 13.7%.


Data Segmentation: However, we need to segment the overall mortality (conversion) rate in order to gain the specific information that we need:


  • Yellow-shirt crewperson deaths: 6 (10%)
  • Blue-Shirt crewperson deaths: 5 (8 %)
  • Engineering smock crewperson deaths: 4
  • Red-Shirt crewperson deaths: 43 (73%)

So, the basic segmentation of factors allows us to confirm that red-shirted crewmembers died more than any other crewmembers on the original Star Trek series.


However, that’s only just simple stats reporting – ready for some analysis?


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