How smart people make a decision

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There’s a misconception that the purpose of experts is to tell you what to do. That’s not right. What they do is help you think. Imagine that you are a person making a momentous decision. You could be the CEO of a large company pondering an acquisition, a consumer deciding whether or not to buy … Continued

How analysts and futurists plunder the timeline

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Twenty years as an analyst warped my sense of time. Instead of living in the moment — I foraged, looking back, around, and forward for evidence and opportunity. To the analyst or futurist . . . The past is research fodder The analyst is constantly gathering fuel for arguments. The best fuel is lying around … Continued

Analysts talk, consultants listen

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I spent 20 years as an analyst at Forrester Research. Now I sell my insights to companies and prospective authors as a consultant. While analysts and consultants have a lot in common, their approaches are different. The analyst focuses on talking over listening This is based on my experience as an analyst, working with and competing … Continued

A bias toward change

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When you plan, do you imagine things will change, or stay pretty much the same? Both are biases; both are right; both are wrong. Technology analysts won’t ever come out and say it, but they have an inherent bias. They always see change coming over the horizon. Your business is shifting to the cloud. Television … Continued

Polemics vs. Analysis

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Too much of what I read, masquerading as analysis, is just polemics. That’s a shame, because polemics generates more heat than light. Basically, there are two ways of arguing. When you argue polemically, you start with a position. For example, you may start with the idea that social media marketing is effective, or that gun … Continued

How to see the future

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I’ve learned to anticipate what’s going to happen. You can, too, if you combine experience with seeing. I’ll be bombing down a busy city street on my bike, as I have for the last 40 years. I can read the car that’s angled 15 degrees to the left, the truck idling anxiously at the red light, … Continued

Arrogance, confidence, and the four kinds of experts

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When it comes to experts, there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. I’ve spent plenty of time on both sides of that line. I’ll share my insights about the types of experts and how to get the most out of them. All experts have confidence, but confidence itself is complex. Some people have confidence in … Continued