Tag Archives: facts

Stubborn Things

Before John Adams became President of these United States (at the time, the job didn’t exist!), he was a lawyer. One of his more notable cases was a defense of some soldiers who participated in The Boston Massacre.  During the trial, he uttered one of my favorite quotes, and one of which I want to remind us all today. Maybe it’s all the rhetoric ramping up as we enter the heart of the political season or maybe it’s a discussion I was having with someone about a business point.  Either way, it’s a thought all of us need to keep in mind:

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

I’m sure you’ve seen deleted tweets or Facebook photos that have come back to haunt people – facts rearing their ugly heads.  Maybe you’ve seen a piece of videotape that directly contradicts some politician’s assertion of a statement they made (or didn’t make).  Maybe you’ve also taken the time to check out the “facts” in a news piece, sales presentation, or a co-worker’s excuse for sub-par performance.  I wish more of us did and I wish the noise level wasn’t so high as to drown out the credible sources of information.  They’re out there – it’s on us to find them.

President Reagan tried to quote Adams in 1988 and said “facts are stupid things” – he may have been more right than he knew in that it seems to have set a tone for much of the world that’s come after.  Nevertheless, I think the single most important thing we as businesspeople can do (and as good citizens, frankly) is to be relentless in our pursuit of them.  Be as stubborn as they are!

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Filed under Huh?

Looking Past Preconceptions

Let’s play a little marketing game this morning.  I’ll throw out a series of facts and you put on your marketing hat and decide if the facts make you want to target this group.  The point I’m going to make is that the answers may surprise you, not because you will find them unbelievable but because I’m betting that you have some preconceptions which will skew your thinking.  As we’ve discussed before, I think that is a huge problem in business (and in life and political thought as well!).

Ready?  Let’s play! Continue reading

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Reality checks

Spotting BS

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Yesterday’s rant was on the need to check out facts before finalizing opinions. A great example of this is in today’s NY Times piece on last night’s debate – it simply states what the candidate said and what multiple sources say on the same subjects to back up or question what was said. Hopefully the paper and many others will continue to do this right through the election next year.
But what happens when you do try to verify facts and find that there are multiple, conflicting data points? Could it be because some of them are fake? Continue reading

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Reality checks