A politician, a lawyer and a banker walk into a bar together. They sit down and the bartender pours them all a top shelf drink for free.
They ask, "Why did you do that?"
The bartender and owner says, "I know you all. It's cheaper than the alternative..."
Along with 110 million other people I watched the Super Bowl with my family and friends. Like a lot of people I get a kick out of the ads. If you've ever attended or watched my Autodesk University People Skills sessions you know I think commercials communicate a lot of interesting stuff about people and our behavior.
Anyhow when you talk about serious People stuff, it's generally better to make people laugh first.
Better yet - give them chocolate.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Are the Super Bowl ads better at predicting the future economy than the pundits?
This isn't as crazy a question as it at first appears.
To me it looks like a good year to be a car company...particularly a German car company building cars in the US.
May the Force be with You
The truly scary thing is a random Super Bowl spectator (like me) picked from the crowd is probably going to do better at predicting the future most of the time than most government agencies, most banks, and many experts . You say, "No way." Unfortunately for us, history says, "Yes way!"
Beyond Fantasy Football
The fantasy an educated and skilled manager and his staff can invent inside a financial spreadsheet is truly a terrible thing. I'm a manager. I'm a business person. I've done it myself and done it to myself More than once. In the past, I've most certainly had it done to me by others with painful financial results.
All US taxpayers have had it done to us in spades over the last few decades. This is apparently getting worse not better.
The Illusion of Predictive Fact
In the coming few months as we get proposed budgets and hear all the talk about it, we're all going to get buried in a lot More of this aberrant human behavior.
That is - employing technology tools improperly to self-justify More improper and, at times, immoral behavior.
Good decision making process requires us to do the predictive thing.
It is also a bad idea to believe the fruits of that effort has the same factual value as past results themselves.
That reality often gets lost in a world of commercials, spin, and manufactured events.
Every thinking person should read The Black Swan The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb at least a couple of times.
This book has absolutely NOTHING to do with the bad movie currently making headlines with exactly the same name.
I know that a book by a practicing statistical mathematician and "philosopher" may not sound too entertaining, but then again a lot of other people think it is for what that's worth :)
A specific thanks to my mom who unconsciously bought me a second copy of The Black Swan for Christmas this year. This indeed was a highly improbable event not because she doesn't always buy me interesting and important books (she always does), but because somehow it got through to her that someone else hadn't returned my original copy and I really needed to read Taleb yet again at this time.