Financial strategist market forecasts are worthless, but not useless

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In Sunday’s New York Times, Jeff Sommer complains that financial strategist forecasts for market returns are terrible. They are. But they are a little better than guessing. And they have value nonetheless. Sommer’s critique Sommer thinks the forecasts of economists and financial strategists are way off. Here’s his critique: [T]he stock and bond markets are swinging haphazardly, … Continued

Beware of analysts and “thought leaders” flogging trends

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People who thrive on attention — analysts and “thought leaders” — will tell you about what’s new and on fire. Making long-term decisions based on that is likely a mistake. If you’re not on top of a trend, you’re nobody Imagine for a moment that you are trying to be a thought leader. This includes … Continued

The problem with “Do your own research.”

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“Do your own research” is one of the most pernicious phrases on the internet. Hucksters use it to fool people. It will lead you astray. Based on my 20 years as a researcher, I’ll delve into what research actually is, what it means when someone writes “do your own research,” and why it leads to … Continued

Expert speakers or trainers are not interchangeable

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If you hire experts to train on areas outside their expertise, you’ll pay too much and get a really poor result. It’s like paying a painter to rewire your house. Experts specialize. It’s what makes us experts. I’ll use myself as a case study here, but the same applies to anyone you hire. Imagine that … Continued

Memeflinger or influencer?

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There’s a way to generate influence that bugs me. I call people who do this “memeflingers.” Here’s how it works. First, identify the memes that are spreading most widely on social media, especially if they include meaningless platitudes about behavior and careers. Maybe even hire people to track them down for you. Second, repost as … Continued

What is an idea?

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We need a new definition of “idea,” one that makes you think about how ideas create change. If you want to conceive and work with ideas, you need to know what an idea is. But most of the definitions available to you are useless. Here’s Merriam-Webster: idea, noun. 1: a formulated thought or opinion2: whatever is known … Continued

Skills vs. expertise: a 12-month thought experiment

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I used to be an expert in marketing. And yesterday, I skipped the Super Bowl and didn’t watch a single $5 million commercial. I must be a fraud. Here’s a secret: I don’t know all that much about marketing. (Shh, don’t tell anyone.) So how the heck did I get to be an “expert?” I … Continued

Always doubt what you want to believe

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Good morning. I trust you slept well and soundly last night. As I write this, no serious news organization has declared the winner of the US presidential election. Based on current vote counts (9:15am) and the likelihood of remaining Democratic-skewing mail ballots being counted, Joe Biden is more likely than not to win the presidency, … Continued