Gauging The Gauges (Final Thoughts)

(Links to Part OneTwoThreeFour)

I started this series with the stated goal as to make not only entrepreneurs, or people with an entrepreneurial mindset rethink, or realign their thought processes. But more importantly; to get what I believe are far too few as to question exactly where, and what, true relevancy their data points provide.

Whether I’m speaking to a crowd or speaking with someone one on one, I have come to believe the most disrupted area regardless of the subject is this: It’s not for a lack of information, it’s the overload of useless information. Not only do many not know what they should pay attention to; rather, it’s what they should avoid altogether!

I found it quite humorous that during this week when I decided to make these arguments and push this point home nearly every example I opined has landed center stage across the media landscape the very same week as never before.

Suddenly Twitter®, China, the unemployment report (UE), and others were covered both in main stream media, as well as the financial, with an eye seemed stricken by jaundice. Suddenly this past week all the unicorns and rainbows were being questioned. For instance: When did (or has) the media ever questioned the impact of,  “good news” in the UE# going down? Suddenly everywhere good – was bad.

The real reason I believe is this: The report was so blatantly misleading, even a preschooler could see you can’t get 1+1=2 using their formula. Also it seems that suddenly China came into question across the media where even stories from George Soros and others are now questioning everything China. I thought we were told anyone questioning the China narrative of saving the world economy didn’t know what we were talking about? Looks like maybe we knew (or smelt) more than anyone thought.

Today’s issue at hand is this: Information is only that – information. It’s one thing to use information to gain an edge. However, if you don’t know what questions to ask about that information; it can turn that edge from a useful tool in hand – to a hand with an edge at your throat.

To be successful in this day and age as an entrepreneur where the web has not only obliterated information scarcity, it’s transformed it into information overload: Understanding what you need to pay attention to, as well as what not to – is just as imperative a skill as knowing whom too listen to, as well as, who not. Followed by – where to find it.

Just because someone’s on television, radio, or print means absolutely nothing in terms of credibility today as it did just 10 years ago. The sometimes illusion of credibility we bestow comes from the “legacy effect” where previously most figures in media had a near unquestionable authority, or credibility. i.e., Did we question Walter Cronkite’s sincerity? Or 60 Minutes® reporting?

Whether we should have doesn’t matter. Back then if it were stated by them we took it on faith it was accurate. If a person appeared on, with, or was even mentioned by them, we took it on face value there was some form of reputable vetting process going on behind the scenes for creditability while more often than not, there actually was. Today? I hope you see my point.

If you want a glaring example of this just look at the stories that can be found if you wish to look, where financial media personalities actually receive monetary bonuses from their networks for news or generating news that moves the financial markets. Can someone explain to me why this is a good thing? (Actually don’t. I mean it. Pleeeease – don’t!)

Forget financial how about just plain old media itself. At one time if one read it in Forbes®, The NY Times®, and more there was a certain sense of implied “excellence or content authority” awarded. Yet today?

With “native advertising” now the buzz phrase and all media desperately seeking dollars anyway they can garner it for their very survival – never mind relevance. Is it any wonder Steve Jobs insight just before he passed has more meaning today than when he first made the observation? (I’m paraphrasing) “What will be more important than the content of the future – will be editors. We need editorial more than ever.”

Honestly ask yourself: If it’s on television, radio, or print. Is it truly factual, credible, or relevant any longer? Or, is it just spin spun by whomever?  If it’s in the Times, does it mean what it once did? Forbes? My view is absolutely not. Today these publications are destroying their once highly held brand cache’ by allowing virtually anyone with a keyboard to contribute content. What’s more troubling is the way they are viewing the “editorial” process.

What is informative news, or insightful information you can act on if more and more of what you read is just a story that’s paid for, then placed as to look like real news? Can you always know what is insightful or truthful as opposed to just shilling? Welcome to the new world aka, “native advertising.” (for more on this subject I recommend beginning with some great insights written on this exact topic at PandoDaily.com)

So as I end this series what is it that I’m trying to say in the larger context? One person expressed: “For a person who’s in the motivation business, you sure don’t sound all that motivated about the future.” Actually nothing could be further from the truth. Besides, being motivated to pursue one’s goals based on seriousness and truth, trumps rah, rah, rah, along with unicorn and rainbow thinking. Just ask any former multilevel marketing participant.

In contrast to the sheer ridiculous readings and interpretations many are inferring from today’s gauges, or what many still regard as a “gauge.” I believe we are entering one of the greatest times in probably a generation or more where opportunities for real advancement, real growth, real wealth and riches are going to bare themselves in front of entrepreneurs that can see what everyone else is missing. Let me illustrate using one example.

If one were to take the UE# and use it at face value the way it has been presented both previously, as well as today by all the “intelligentsia.” Then use it as a gauge on what, where, or why to start a business or more. Those projections, formulations, and reasoning could end up being disastrous, or worse.

How does one contemplate moving, expanding, taking on more debt, or gearing up in the direction of supplying gadgets, do-dads, clothing, housing, and more based on these reduced roles of the unemployed? Just 5 years ago the number had some informative value. Today? It’s so adulterated if it were a movie it would need an X rating.

The Great Wayne Gretzky famously said (I’m paraphrasing): “I don’t go to where the puck is, I go to where it’s going to be.” Though many believe they are watching the proverbial puck (all the so-called “smart crowd”) I believe they’re oblivious to the fact they may be watching the wrong game!

This is precisely where: The understanding of conditions, not looking where everyone else is, reading information correctly, and verifying their accuracy or relevance, is what will both define, as well as make the average entrepreneur –  into the extraordinary.

You must not only know how to read the writing on the wall, you must also verify the message written is both intelligible, and actionable.

Not the equivalent of graffiti where people see what they want to see as if it were painted by Hermann Rorschach himself.

© 2014 Mark St.Cyr