Be a Scientist, Not an Analyst

I don’t have much respect for analysts, of the Wall Street kind or otherwise.  It’s too easy to look in the rearview mirror and then fit some explanation to it.  Post hoc ergo propter hoc, confirmation bias and the like are where these guys trade and I’d rather not be back there in the rear-view mirror.  Too easy to Monday morning quarterback.

Now scientists, on the other hand, I really like.  Develop a hypothesis and then design a rigorous, replicable experiment to test that hypothesis.  Make it open to the world and open to peer review.  And sometimes the hypothesis is incorrect.  And that’s OK.  Failures lead to more tests and, ultimately, success.

Want to talk about business?  Then publish more predictions and fewer analyses.  Yes, many predictions will fail to come true or come true because of different reasons.  You can’t have success in business or life without a lot of failure.  If you never fail, you’re not trying hard enough.  (Of course, if you fail all the time, maybe you’ve got some problems with how you structure your experiments.  This should help.)

I’ll be publishing a series called “Predictions” shortly.  In it, I’ll not only put in my prediction, but what I believe will be the root cause of the success or failure.  Not scientific, of course, but let’s see how I do.  I’ll publish the results, of course.

Prompted by Seth Godin’s blog post today.

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