Thomas Pendergast Vladeck home

opinions suck

one of the most valuable lessons i’ve internalized recently is that opinions suck. they suck for two reasons:

(1) they are subjective, and impossible to verify or falsify. how do you make any decisions based on these inputs? (*)

(2) most of the time “differences of opinion" are actually different projections of how the facts actually are. this shit wrankles me to no end. consider: “i think it will rain tomorrow" “i don’t think it will rain tomorrow". there is a big difference between imperfect information and subjectivity. most differences of opinion are not in fact disagreements over subjective matters, but different projections over (unknown) objective facts. in these cases “let’s agree to disagree" (or any of its variants) is a shitty response. the answer is to get more data or to track which imperfect model of the world performs better in explaining it. 

(*) the answer is two-fold. the first is the “marissa mayer" approach, which is to say “if you have data, let’s see the data, but if you only have opinions we’re going to go with mine". the second is to parameterize the difference of opinion and drive the problem from (1) (an actual difference of opinion) to (2) (different projections over unknown facts). For example:

Person 1: I think A is better

Person 2: I think B is better

Person 3: How do do we measure what our customers like? 

Persons 1 & 2: These easy-to-measure actions’

Person 3: Let’s measure them and A/B test, then we’ll know