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Feed Readers: Taking the Discipline Out of Decision Making

Posted on December 23, 2008 by Brian

First, this is exactly the kind of post I’m talking about in this post.  I had a thought driving back to work from lunch, I’m going to write a few paragraphs about it, and then I’m going to post it.  The truth is I’m not even sure I agree with what I’m writing.  But it doesn’t matter, it’s too easy to write and post it, rather than bothering to stop and really consider it.  Much less research and ponder it until I have some real conviction about it.  So what is this thesis I’m not sure I agree with?  Blogging has made speculative, opinion based content generation and regurgitation so easy that the quality of the content has dropped significantly.  As a result, those basing decisions on the content lack any of the discipline that would otherwise inherently come with the authors efforts to research and validate their content.

I’ve seen this phenomenon to an increasing degree as I study the economic climate and changes of recent weeks.  Maybe it isn’t new but rather I’m seeing it anew as I get deeper into researching these challenging times.  In particular, there is a plethora of opinion being puked out surrounding the general “what should small businesses/startups/entrepreneurs do/think during the down market” subject.  Everyone is weighing in and while there may be some common themes there are certainly enough conflicting viewpoints to prove that either no one knows the answer or few are thinking before they write.  I’m not sure what I should do…

  • Monday: Paint a clear, honest picture, control cost, get profitable and hunker down.
  • Tuesday: Stand up and lead charismatically with a focus on new innovation to grab market share and emerge victoriously.
  • Wednesday: Be nimble, or, oh wait, was that remain steady and stay the course?
  • Thursday: Focus on value oriented products, services, and promotions.
  • Friday: Roll back all non-profitable, price destroying promotions.
  • Saturday: Yard work.
  • Sunday: Go to church; decide to start a non-profit (yeah, I actually read a blog about switching to a non-profit, and I wasn’t even researching the subject).

And maybe worst of all, the underlying culprit, would be to react to every blog I read.  Why would I let un-scrutinized, rampant opinion and conjecture replace my own decision making discipline?  Even if it does sound smart, eloquent, and like the author knows my business.  Answer… either it’s easier to shirk responsibility or I’m not capable of taking it all in, filtering it, organizing it, and making effective use of it within my business, strategy, and timeline.  Maybe that latter ability will actually mark the difference between those who thrive, those who survive, and those who parish.

So, until it somehow gets tougher to publish, make sure you don’t knee jerk or you may end up kicking yourself in the butt.  Alternatively, scour until you find the good authors in the midst of the mess and then stick to them.  You’ll find even they don’t always agree and their opinions can’t be a crutch, but at least they’ve studied.

Finally, if you’re going to go with the “read more of what is out there” plan, make sure you also incorporate the “forget more of what you read” plan, including this post if you see fit.


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