The ACS Blog

It’s Working!

What does your strategy development have in common with the financial crisis? And why did smart, self-interested, experienced people decide to buy and sell complicated financial instruments, risk so much on unsupportable assumptions, and let the inmates run the asylum?

What are you?

You’re no longer a “manufacturer” or “retailer” or “Internet company” or “designer”…unless that’s how you see yourself, in which case make sure that’s a box you want to live in (if you want to live in a box at all).

Self-Fulfillment

Data mining is the unleashing of massive computer power on massive consumer databases to look for patterns that managers can use. The work takes place with silicon, copper, and iron oxide, but it depends first on carbon: on how we humans think.

More Internet Users than People

We think extrapolation is self-evidently defensible, and it is merely on-the-surface defensible. It falls apart when things get interesting, which is precisely when we need help the most… and precisely when we are most vulnerable to bad advice.

Doesn’t Make Sense

Although this post seems superficially about stock-market investments, it really isn’t. It applies equally to virtually any competitive-strategy decision.

The Good, the Bad, and the Lucky

How would you know if a company is worth investing in? How would you know if a business is likely to be profitable and long-lived? Make a list of the characteristics that you believe would separate good businesses from bad…

Bathtubs

You have a bathtub in your house. It’s filling up with water. How many ways can you imagine to stop it from overflowing?

Otherwise

Ceteris paribus isn’t easy. It’s the gold standard we use in double-blind clinical trials of drugs and medical treatments, but the business equivalent of clinical trials is difficult at best.

Counterpoints

There may be wisdom in crowds and safety in numbers, but there’s not much inspiration in a herd or thought in groupthink.

The Market Leader, and Other Ambiguities and Distortions

We don’t purposely create anchors any more than we purposely cause any kind of trouble for ourselves. Anchors are common and unconscious because they come from being human. So, short of renouncing our humanity, how can we reduce their prevalence?