The English Ones

Musings #1 Range & disruption

⦿ The collision between specialized professionals / experts and generalists / polymaths / Renaissance (wo)men has a long history already, but now we have a new book claiming that deep knowledge of different subjects will be the skill of the future. Range is the name, Epstein is the author. And here’s an article analyzing the fallacies that experts fall into:

Tetlock decided to put expert political and economic predictions to the test. With the Cold War in full swing, he collected forecasts from 284 highly educated experts who averaged more than 12 years of experience in their specialties. To ensure that the predictions were concrete, experts had to give specific probabilities of future events. Tetlock had to collect enough predictions that he could separate lucky and unlucky streaks from true skill. The project lasted 20 years, and comprised 82,361 probability estimates about the future.

The result: The experts were, by and large, horrific forecasters.


The highly specialized hedgehogs knew “one big thing,” while the integrator foxes knew “many little things.”

⦿ Disruption is not a matter of technology or new trends, but a matter of solving real problems for real people. Where does it all start? Unhappy customers (click and read the whole article). And, I would add, changing behaviours. In the company.

Based on the interviews and analyses of these industries I uncovered a common underlying pattern of customer-driven digital disruption. Disruptive startups enter markets not by stealing customers from incumbents, but by stealing a select few customer activities. And the activities disruptors choose to take away from incumbents are precisely the ones that customers are not satisfied with. Birchbox stole sampling of beauty products from Sephora. Trov stole turning insurance on and off from State Farm. PillPack stole fulfilling prescriptions from CVS.

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