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The other part that's insidious is even the most well-meaning and well-intentioned individuals oftentimes fail to understand the role of luck in their success. Some psychological studies posted here on HN support that people that are successful even for completely random reasons start to believe that they did something different from others. One of the points in the posted article here indirectly addresses this though that you should listen to those that failed too because when people fail it's usually much more clear why compared to the agency of the founders that succeeded. Furthermore, successful people tend to stick near other successful people - they are insulated oftentimes from most of the world that is normal out there. Nobody on tech blogs cares about the insights of a middle manager of a construction company in Louisiana, but there's so many businesses out there that do perfectly fine it seems odd to me how little cross-pollination seems to happen.

One of the criticisms of psychological studies historically has been that we've been studying mostly abnormal behaviors and that it'd be like trying to determine how a car is built based upon only asking repair shop auto mechanics. Similarly though, I think we need to invert this for business - we need to identify commonalities between businesses that fail more than we need to identify the factors that cause success (the entrepreneurship porn out there is potentially harmful this way despite the many articles on the dark side of it). I think the common factors in what causes failures are fairly static compared to the factors that cause success. This interview[1] is a great example of what was successful at one point in history can totally fail later (much greater planning necessary in the early 90s while now we're focused upon market fit / reactivity today as a trend). My gut feeling is that some kinds of companies are better off sticking to their guns and churning out good product independent of the market trends while others need to evolve.

1. https://torch.io/interview-series-tim-brady/




> One of the criticisms of psychological studies historically has been that we've been studying mostly abnormal behaviors

I’m not sure this is actually true. There’s tons of data from “normal” subjects, though normal here mostly means “average behavior of an 18-22 year old college student.” If anything, psychology would probably benefit from more focus on individual differences rather than commonalities.


For some more context I was paraphrasing a passage from a psychology textbook about the position psychology was in several decades ago, in particular about how languages are processed in the brain and how most of what we've learned about processing languages came from analyzing people's brains that acquired disabilities such as through strokes, accidents, etc. I do agree with you to question the the original validity of the statement in relevance to where we are now - my point is to question the status quo in business discussions of primarily studying the survivors when they're the minority for tech businesses and to ask some more fundamental questions of "are all these business principles relevant after the survivors talk about it publicly?" or is it closer to revealing winning lottery numbers after the drawing is over?

I must admit I may be missing some much more fundamentals that are discussed in academic programs for business (like data structures in CS programs) but am curious why they're treated as table stakes for merely talking about topics like market fit and growth projections when engineers do talk frequently about "basics" like essential data structures.




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