Author Topic: What "tells" do you notice about people?  (Read 2339 times)

alwaysinvert

  • Lifetime Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 799
    • värdeinvesteraren
Re: What "tells" do you notice about people?
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2018, 03:53:58 AM »
If someone counters a trend or statistic or general statement with a personal anecdote "debunking" it they can not be reasoned with.

I hear where you're coming from, but sometimes this just isn't right. Maybe not "debunking" - but sometimes an anecdote tells the full story. Statistics and historical data can tell you some things, but a story can tell you a lot more and in a way you can understand the underlying reasons.

I'll give you an example: people on this website talk about brands and brand power and all that Coke Charlie Munger stuff. Take Disney. You can look at the financials, and say, "wow they've got a real strong business - strong brand". But you don't really know why. This is where an anecdote helps. You read something like this (https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/5h7gq8/i_was_goofy_at_walt_disney_world_for_over_20/day38fu/) and you suddenly know exactly WHY Disney has a brand and a great business.

That's not an attempt at debunking, that's just further information or a hypothesis on an underlying mechanism. A "debunking" would be that Disney haven't got a good brand (despite survey data, despite park visits, etc) because your niece didn't like Mulan. Anecdotes do have some value as indicators, they just don't trump data.

Holding up an anecdote against data is like trying to lay claim to the pot with an Ace high when your opponent has a full house. Someone who thinks anecdotes trump data is not reasoning logically. Either due to some underlying emotional issue (cognitive disonnance, personal attachment, social taboo, etc) or just the clinical state of not being very smart. Either way, one should stay clear of the ensuing discussion.


Cigarbutt

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1139
Re: What "tells" do you notice about people?
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2018, 05:59:21 AM »
Anecdotal evidence is tricky.
https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Anecdotal_evidence

"Anecdotal evidence is not accepted as proper proof or scientific evidence for good reason, yet they still dominate people's thinking. This is because while facts and figures may be true, they are difficult for people to relate to. Anecdotes have convincing and strong narratives that resonate with people on a key individual level — someone telling an anecdote will lead the listener to think that it just could happen to them too. There are further biases at work. Anecdotes, even implausible ones, can contain a high level of detail. It is this detail that causes people to become involved in the story and to imagine it more clearly..."

Humans are social animals.

When analyzing a company, I try first to look at numbers and objective facts and then try to incorporate the "story" part into the thesis. It is a form of reasonable confirmation when the story supports the data as it may help to project what is ahead. I remember scotthall describing this phenomenon rather well elsewhere on this Board although he seemed to put a large emphasis on the story part.

SharperDingaan

  • Lifetime Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2865
Re: What "tells" do you notice about people?
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2018, 08:27:21 AM »
Business is not emperical science, there are no universal physics formulas.
Repeat the same business experiment multiple times and you will get different results; hopefully normally distributed around a single mean.  Data is just one of MANY inputs, not the deciding input.

Most business decisions are made using a Balanced Scorecard, and numbers will typically contribute no more than 1/3 of the content. Business judgement, and 'people' impacts are as LEAST as relevant as the financial analysis; and the inputs for these are experience (anecdotal evidence in a different form). Sniff tests.

Fail the sniff tests, and the numbers are irrelevant.
We just don't want to hear it.

SD

   

writser

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1551
Re: What "tells" do you notice about people?
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2018, 08:48:16 AM »
If someone counters a trend or statistic or general statement with a personal anecdote "debunking" it they can not be reasoned with.

Good one :) cheers!
When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It's only painful and difficult for others. The same applies when you are stupid.

cherzeca

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1404
Re: What "tells" do you notice about people?
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2018, 09:05:58 AM »
If someone counters a trend or statistic or general statement with a personal anecdote "debunking" it they can not be reasoned with.

Good one :) cheers!

yes and no.

I find a lot of theory to be "debunkable' based upon my anecdotal evidence.  I take it that at least sometimes, the theory lacks common sense or is too disconnected from real world.  now my anecdotal evidence may not be your anecdotal evidence, but I am happy to live my life living in accordance with my anecdotal evidence and not yours.

LounginMKL

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 36
Re: What "tells" do you notice about people?
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2018, 09:18:13 PM »
I was just listening to an interview with Jeff Bezo and he finds that when anecdotes contradict metrics at Amazon, the anecdotes tend to be right. He went on to say that while metrics are important, you need to check them with intuition because you could be measuring the wrong thing.

Topic starts around 15 mins mark.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPbKeNghRYE&t=911s