Should design be held back by a tyranny of data?

When Doug Bowman left the Google design team, he didn't leave quietly. He wrote two blog entries about his reasons for leaving (Goodbye, Google, and Hello, Twitter).

Yesterday, the NY Times wrote an article about his leaving, stirring the debate about the extent to which data and user feedback should influence designs. I think user feedback is very important, and I don't know all the details, but it sounds like it may be taken to an extreme at Google.

While I'm in the Doug Bowman neighborhood, here's a nice blog entry about the redesign of Blogger.