Dear J—

How much do we trust brands to be correct and in our best interests? I hope that for instance the folks at Logitech have my back when I’m saying you should get this keyboard or that trackball when for all I know my sample size of two or three isn’t enough data to say anything meaningful. Yet so it goes; because of good experiences you might have had with one class of product, you’ll be inclined to see them for more similar things, maybe: good keyboards could mean good cases, too, or perhaps speaker systems. Or perhaps you’re swayed by the past history of a company; Creative doesn’t sell a SoundBlaster any more (I don’t think) but that’s going to keep you looking at their speakers and audio players, isn’t it?

The truth is our core competencies rarely apply to other areas and experiences; just because we’re good at one thing doesn’t mean we can pick another and expect reasonably good results. However, even that isn’t a good rule to apply; if you’re a reasonably gifted analyst then I’m sure you could for instance figure out how to apply those skills in other areas; I’ve no doubt that someone who could teach themselves how to perform a least-squares fit could also pick up the nuances of other spreadsheet activities. At some point we have to trust in our ability to learn and check but ask for help as we need it.



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