David and Goliath: The Fight for a Practical Statistics Tool


Educational Technology

I recently came across Malcom Gladwell’s David and Goliath story, and I couldn’t help but think of the fight that Intellectus Statistics is having with taking on IBM’s SPSS. In Gladwell’s version of the story, he lays out that giants often have a tumor grow on their pituitary gland that is associated with vision impairment. In his telling, Goliath maybe couldn’t see a few feet in front of him. For David’s part, he had a sling that, when used well, achieved the speed of a 45-caliber bullet. 

Analogously, big companies like IBM have vulnerabilities such as “I don’t have to adapt.”  They have a failure of empathy of what students go through in learning statistics. Meanwhile, underdogs like Intellectus Statistics have the characteristics of success; as Gladwell says, underdogs are “nimble, driven by entrepreneurial ideas, motivated, persistent, excited, and have faith.” Further, Intellectus Statistics is driven by “the spirit of technology” (using the popular R-program and wrapping with features that students need), and we continue to adapt that technology to create a practical statistical tool that meets the needs of our users.

SPSS has been around for over 60 years and yet they have not adapted to obvious student needs. These needs include an easy platform to navigate, guidance on assumptions of analyses, and support to interpret the output. Conversely, Intellectus made their tool intuitive with scroll overs that help students navigate and select the appropriate analyses. Statistical test assumptions are not only automatically run with each test, but the assumptions are interpreted, and non-parametric tests are suggested when assumptions are violated. The output is interpreted in plain English prose with recommendations to accept or reject the null hypotheses, and then that prose is presented in APA 7th edition style. 

Intellectus Statistics has been innovating for 8 years, adding support like 70 built-in videos, interactive textbook, curated glossaries, and in-depth user manual. We understand what students need to learn statistics and rigorously conduct and interpret their analyses. Intellectus’ employees put the effort into introducing the tool, outwork their SPSS counterparts, and are committed to making real their idea of providing students a practical tool to conduct and report statistical analysis.

James Lani, PhD | CEO Intellectus Statistics