It’s a good question: Instinct or Data Driven Decisions? Which one is better? The answer is both.
They go hand in hand. They’re symbiotic; they build upon each other.
Your instincts are built on a database in your brain of the facts you know about situations: experiential, qualitative, quantitative, book learning, etc. If that data set is fairly limited, your instincts are only good for situations that your your internal database knows about. So, to build your instincts build your data. Read more, review and absorb the stats from that reading. Feed yourself more and varied experiences and data. Your instincts will become more valuable and reliable, because you have seen it before or something like it.
Data is great as well. Honest, factual data allows one to use logic to make good decisions. But without instinct, the nuance and meaning of data is missed. Instincts help you see patterns that others don’t see.
Use both. Both inform both.
When you use only one or the other, you are being willfully blind. A great book on this is Willful Blindness by Margaret Heffernan.
Get my book, Rock & Sand: A Practical Insight to Business Growth, to help you build better data and better instincts.