Analysts can forecast how many cars people will buy next year, or how many people will sign up for a streaming service or download a chat app. Every quarter, CEOs confidently predict the movements of millions.
Fortunes hinge on broad, sweeping understandings of markets, based on a commodified view of human behavior. Sometimes this simplification serves a purpose. But even when predictions seem to be proven right, they’re based on an incomplete understanding of the behavior they’re betting on.
Simply by asking the people who actually bought the coffee, the car, the ring or the app why they did so will evaporate the illusion that masses of people all act for the same reasons. Then there’s the tricky truth that most people either can’t articulate why they do everything they do, or choose not to.
We’re a lot more complicated than any data-dependent analysis will ever give us credit for being, and this blog is all about exploring those messy complexities that make us who we are.