During the last presidential election Barack Obama\u2019s IT team shouldn\u2019t have outperformed Romney\u2019s team as massively as it did. At the heart of the Romney loss were three, as Donald Trump would say, huge errors.\nThe first mistake was using analytics services that didn\u2019t understand elections, the second was using multiple services that didn\u2019t coordinate with each other and the third was not questioning the data because it told them what they wanted to hear. This last has been a recurring cause of project and even company failure. The last mistake is not only being repeated by Trump, but he appears to be overt about it.\n[ Related: A SWOT analysis of Trump vs. Clinton ]\nIt would seem ironic that after giving Romney so much grief for losing, Trump is setting things up so that Romney will be able to say, after Trump loses the election, that at least he didn\u2019t lose THAT badly. Clearly that is the outcome Ted Cruz just bet his political career on.\nTrump don\u2019t need no stinking analytics\nWhen you read this coverage out of AdWeek that is the conclusion you walk away with, but I think it speaks to a far more common problem. When numbers agree with an executive\u2019s view, they like them and when they don\u2019t, there must be something wrong with the numbers. Don\u2019t get me wrong, given the problems we\u2019ve had with analytics that could well be the case. I recently reported on a KPMG report that basically said the majority of CEOs didn\u2019t trust their numbers, which suggests Trump is in good company but it is still a stupid conclusion. The right path is to either better understand the numbers and\/or make sure you can trust them.\n[ Related: Most CEOs are planning to kill their companies ]\nRomney vs. Obama\nWhat seems strange to me about this is here you had a guy who runs big businesses and a guy who was basically a teacher with slight political experience, and it was the teacher who used analytics better. Obama had a better team, made far better use of the systems it put in, were far more cost effective, and the results assured Obama\u2019s second term.\nRomney, however, was convinced he was going to win because the numbers told him what he wanted to hear. As a result, his team pulled back, thinking its candidate would coast to a win. So, in this case, Obama trusted his numbers, they were right, and in executing against them he won. Romney also trusted his numbers, but they were wrong, and he lost. So answer should be to ensure that the numbers, the analytics, are accurate not distrust the numbers.\nFocus groups\nI agree with Trump and Steve Jobs in the opinion that focus groups are crap when it comes to predicting things. The reason is they are way too easily manipulated, there is no good way to place them in the future so their decisions in the group mirror what they will actually do, and, because they are so compelling, people tend to believe what the focus group says.\nI\u2019ll give you an example. Years ago I was in a focus group for Chrysler and they showed me what I thought was a wonderful car. All of us said we\u2019d buy it in a minute, so they put the car into production. However, in the 18 months between when the car was shown to us and when it became available, there were better cars that came from competing firms so my position, and everyone else's, changed. The car ended up not selling well.\nThis doesn\u2019t mean focus groups aren\u2019t useful. They are best used when trying to understand why someone did something. They are largely worthless in terms of predicting something. For instance, on the Brexit vote, focus groups likely would have showcased that people voted for it to show displeasure with the government not because they really wanted the exit. That would tell you the underlying problem to fix was the \u201cpissed off at the government\u201d part not exiting the EU.\nWhy Trump lost\nWhile Clinton\u2019s use of analytics clearly isn\u2019t at Obama\u2019s level, it is well above Trump\u2019s. Partly, you can see this in regards to how much better she has been at collecting donations. She also seems to pivot better on issues as they become important for resonance. However, the lack of excitement in her campaign and the email thing still make this a race for now. The number both camps should be watching more closely is propensity to vote because this is partially what bit Romney in the butt last cycle.\u00a0\u00a0\n[ Related: Hillary Clinton's tech agenda draws cheers from IT industry ]\nBut the lesson I want to leave you with is that numbers make for better decisions and, if you can\u2019t trust them, fix the trust part -- don\u2019t just toss out the entire concept of analytics as a key decision-making tool. If your brakes didn\u2019t work, you wouldn\u2019t stop using brakes, you\u2019d get them fixed. Brakes can save your life, analytics can save your job, or in this case from being made fun of because you did worse than the guy you\u2019ve been calling a choke artist.