September 18, 2014

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Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.

Bob Hoffman quoting Richard Feynman

Bob Hoffman’s keynote address at the radio industry’s annual Radio Show is a must see for anyone who works in marketing related industries.

He calls out the experts’ of marketing, branding and advertising. Respected guys like Seth Godin. Their facts’ are the ones the biggest brands in the world entrust bet millions of dollars on.

Bob points out that again and again these predictions (like advertising is dead’ or tv is dead’ or social media will replace traditional advertising’) are often completely unfounded and wildly misleading.

Sadly, this isn’t endemic to ad-land. Over in the finance industry, another angry bald man, Nassim Taleb, has called out experts’ for years, economists especially, who he said are evaluated on how intelligent they sound, not on a scientific measure of their knowledge of reality.”

For designers, it’s not too different either. We can experiment, expect failure, scope accordingly, make assumptions, test accordingly, ask lots of questions, observe users using things we make and work iteratively. We do those things to be successful in making the right kind of stuff.

What’s important is unashamedly admitting to ourselves that despite all that, we really just don’t know

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