Fri, Jan 04, 2019

The Competitive Advantage of “No BS.”

If you know me, you know that I have a strong passion for ridding the world (well, at least my world) of all the bullshit we endure day in, day out. From all the hyperbole in too many startup and sales pitches, to lazily repeated claims and alleged “facts” proclaiming the next hot thing will surely change the world. And make no mistake – I am surely guilty as charged, as I – like most of us – can get carried away in my excitement or get lazy in my fact checking or simply forget what my parents taught me: “Think before you speak.”

Here is the thing – I found that cutting the BS gives you a real competitive edge. In a world where too many make wild claims, the one who provides a measured, realistic perspective – based on well-researched insight and knowledge – stands out.

Not convinced? Here’s a simple example: While the whole world is going bonkers over AI, we keep telling people that what we label as “artificial intelligence” today is not much more than some clever statistical methods applied to typically large datasets. Not much intelligence yet – but a potent tool in many situations. Also, a tool which comes in many different forms and shapes with the skill being in finding and applying the right approach – instead of the mindless and hyped “Deep Learn-everything” mantra. It turned out that since we tell this story, we get inundated with companies wanting our help.

However, make no mistake – no BS also means it is harder. As you have to understand what you are talking about; learn from first principles and create a mental model which stands on a solid foundation. Hype is easy. No-BS is hard.

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