Ep. 304 – Survivorship Bias


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Episode Transcript

What’s up? What’s up? What’s up, everybody? Welcome back to THE a.m guys. Welcome back to five minute rants. I’m your host, Michael Abernathy. And welcome to the show predicated on the journey of life and business. Hey guys real quick, if you don’t mind partnering with me to change lives, if you know somebody whose life would be bettered by listening to the show, would you share it with them? Appreciate it.

Well, today guys actually want to talk about survivorship bias. And this really comes from an episode I did a while ago that if you’re not looking at the problem, you’re never going to fix it. And this is actually a technical aspect of looking at the problems, how do we find the problem. And if you don’t know What survivorship bias is, I would encourage you to google it, it is wildly crazy. And it is essentially this, and I’ll summarize it right now is, during World War II, there were, you know, a group of engineers who were analyzing the bombing planes, the b 17, that were coming back from bombing missions, and they’re analyzing about how to apply armor to the planes, to better protect the planes, and to increase the survivorship, or their survival rating of all their bombing planes going out on the run. And they the first thought was, hey, look at all this pattern bullet holes, we see these common unique pattern of bullet holes, let’s put armor where there’s bullet holes. And then after they began thinking about analyzing it, they realized that the planes that do not return are the planes that get shot in the places without all of the bullet holes.

And the point behind this story is simply this. Oftentimes, the problem is not What is at first obvious, and sometimes information you have is incomplete information. And it is so important to not operate under the assumption that you have full information. If you have full information at all times, you wouldn’t have problems in your life. And so part of the process of trying to find the constraint in the company, What do you actually need to fix What is causing the problem? Because in this story, talking about just the aircraft and the planes in this story, the obvious answer seemed to put armor where the bullet holes were. And when you begin looking at pictures, like Yeah, of course, that’s why I put the bullet holes where the planes are getting shot. And then you realize they only have 50% information, because the other information they’re missing is with the planes that never came back. But the planes that didn’t come back got shot in all the places where there are no bullet holes.

And if you think about it, that’s how the company works. So oftentimes, it’s oh, how do I increase more sales, why need more marketing? Well, that might not be the case, it might be the way that you’re selling, it might be a process, it might be the fact that you’re not really getting any referrals, because you’re not keeping promises the way you should. So for instance, another just a practical example of survivorship bias. I had a maintenance man come to my house the other day, he came over, I was working on things, he was great. He was awesome, really friendly. And he was just fixing some stuff. And so as he was fixing things, though, he cared about the technical know how of how to fix all the problems. And What I cared about was how clean he was in my house, where he took things apart at where the dirt was, right he was working on, he was working on my frigerator at one point, and fixing some things there. And What I cared about was how long the fridge door is going to be open, and whether my food is going to spoil or not, or how it’s going to affect my food. And I also care about how clean he is, as he’s reaching inside my fridge to deal with things and take some stuff apart. And things like that, is it gonna affect the food and so I’m worried about things that he’s not even worried about. Because his concern, his focus is on fixing the problem. And my concern is about other things that matter to me.

And so when you’re building business, and when you’re building offerings for business, and when you’re creating things in business and doing business, it is so important to focus on What the customer wants. And that’s oftentimes information you’re missing. So you have you have the 50% information, you can see the bullet holes where you’re leaking, you can see the bullet holes on the planes that returned home in the company. You can see all of that.

But oftentimes we don’t have the other side of the information, which is What our customer holds. What did they want? What do they really care about. And if you can find that everything is going to change for you and your relationships and partnerships. Everything is going to change if you can find the other part of the information if you can really identify the problem clearly because it’s hard. It’s not always obvious. And you can find why the company is not growing. Oftentimes it might not be sales, it could be retention, which is radically on the back end of production, after the promises are kept or how are you keeping people and things like that? It has nothing to do with more marketing.

And so anyways just throwing that out there. Some food for thought. I’m out of time guys, I’ll catch you later peace

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