The cost of being first is higher than it's ever been…
It's entirely possible that you're racing.
Racing to the market with a new product or a news story or a decision or an innovation. The race keeps getting faster, doesn't it?
If you're racing, you better figure out what to do about the times that you don't know for sure…because more and more of your inputs are going to be tenuous, speculative and possibly wrong. Day traders have always understood this–all they do is trade on uncertainty. But you, too, if you're racing, are going to have to make decisions on less than perfect information.
Given that fact, what are you going to do about it? I think it's worth a few cycles of your time.
Is it smart to blog on a rumor?
Worth dropping everything and panicking because of a news alert?
Should you hire someone based on information you're not sure of?
What about changing your website (your pricing, your layout…) based on analytics that might not be absolutely correct? How long are you willing to wait?
Given that you will never know everything for sure (unless you're opting out of the race), some of the issues are:
- What's the cost of waiting one more day?
- Are you waiting (or not waiting) because of the cost of being wrong, or because loud people are yelling at you?
- Is the risk of being wrong unreasonably amplified by part of the market or your team? What if you ignore them and focus on customers that matter?
- And have you thought about the costs of waiting too long? If you don't, you'll probably end up last.
Have you noticed how often stock analysts quoted in the news are wrong? Wrong about new products, wrong about management decisions, wrong about the future of a company? In fact, they're almost always first and almost always wrong.
Rule of thumb: being first helps in the short run. Being a little more right than the masses ultimately pays off in the long run. Being last is the worst of all three.
A few people care a lot about scoops. Most of us, though, care about alert people making insightful decisions. Decide who you're trying to please, then ship.