The Arrogance of a Predictor- Can You Please Do Some Testing?

March 26, 2010

I continued to be amazed by the amount of time people waste arguing over whether an idea will work or not, particularly when none of the people has any experience with executing the idea in the past. It is quite frustrating to me, as I am a huge believer that you don’t really know what the result will be until you give something a try and most of the time your trials will result in some surprises even if you have experience with an idea in a different context!.

A more productive use of time would be around clarifying goals, determining what the reasonable alternatives are, determining how best to prioritize the alternatives, and then designing simple, cheap, quick tests on what seem to be the best alternatives. This approach doesn’t work for everything, but in many cases test and/or milestones can be created to grow what works and kill off what doesn’t.

This issue cuts across all departments, all levels, and all size companies, but the sales support and marketing functions and product and development functions are probably the areas that are most important to get right since they are the departments where the buyer and user strategies are crafted.

I was reading and this blurb resonated with me (see the full post here):

“There are those on the team who think they know. There are those who know they know. And then there’s the HiPPO—the “highest paid person’s opinion.” In the end, lacking any real data or information, the HiPPO will often rule the day and decide what to do based simply on what he or she likes/thinks/believes. . .well, you get the idea. We’ve all been there.

But what if you have supporting data? What if you have real information? You might actually be able to keep the HiPPO at bay if you have real test results to go by. Even the HiPPO must concede that there’s no way to know what really works until you actually test it out.”

If you have the arrogance of a predictor, take the test in this post and see how you do (if someone you know has the arrogance of a predictor, ask them to take the test).

Your business growth strategies depend on great results, and great results depend on killing off the arrogance of a predictor!

Founder & Partner

As the founder of OpenView, Scott focuses on distinctive business models and products that uniquely address a meaningful market pain point. This includes a broad interest in application and infrastructure companies, and businesses that are addressing the next generation of technology, including SaaS, cloud computing, mobile platforms, storage, networking, IT tools, and development tools.