3 things today: survive the survivor bias

3 things today: Let’s talk about Survivorship Bias. 

Why do we read and reread books/articles like “The Morning Habits of Successful People” or “The Six Characteristics All Billionaires Have in Common”? How many of these articles have you clicked on?

We love the idea that by learning about our idols, we’ll be able to emulate their success. A quick Google search of “Successful founders who dropped out of college,” gives names such as Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg as all examples of entrepreneurs who had an idea, took a leap, and became successful.

But by equating their success to hard work alone, we ignore a very important fact: for every successful college dropout, there are hundreds, if not thousands, who weren’t as lucky.

The founders we put on pedestals worked hard, but there were also many circumstantial events that paved their way to success. In fact, research shows the majority of the United States’ most successful businesspeople graduated college – 94%, to be exact.

1) Better and cooler products don’t necessarily succeed – check TiVO, which is still barely alive

2) Don’t neglect external factors that influence success – see how Skechers kicked Adidas from top position

3) Just because you don’t hear you customer complain doesn’t mean they are happy – many customers leave before they complain of their unhappiness  

You must consider the other variables not immediately visible to you to avoid the survivorship bias.

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