jeudi 8 décembre 2016

Linkedin Influencers & Silent Evidence

This post will be a short one!

Many of us follow influencers on Linkedin, like CEOs of big companies such as Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg. We follow their advice, read their "5 rules to change your life", and share their posts with our community. These people inspire us, and make us want to follow their path to replicate their success pattern in our careers. For example, I personally follow Laszlo Bock, Google's VP of Humain Resources, as I found interest in his advice around resume and job application. 

Nevertheless, following influencers to understand success is biased and can probably lead to wrong conclusions. It is the survivorship bias, or also silent evidence as called by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book Black Swan. He illustrated it by the following story:

Diagoras, a nonbeliever in the gods, was shown painted tablets bearing the portraits of some worshippers who prayed, then survived a subsequent shipwreck. The implication was that praying protects you from drowning. 
Diagoras asked, “Where are the pictures of those who prayed, then drowned?”

Do we know how much people applied the "5 rules to change your life" but failed and never made it to be Linkedin influencers? Until we do, we should stay skeptical, and do not take whatever a top influencer gives us as truth, but rather try to validate it.

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