How to be Right a Lot of the Time
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - Filed in: General Interest
The following is a reprint of an article by Jason Fried. It is entitled “Some advice from Jeff Bezos.” Mr. Bezos is an American business magnate and investor. He is a technology entrepreneur who has played a key role in the growth of e-commerce as the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, an online merchant of books and later of a wide variety of products. Under his guidance, Amazon.com became the largest retailer on the World Wide Web and a top model for Internet sales. In 2013, Bezos purchased The Washington Post newspaper. I was referred to this site by John Gruber.
Jeff Bezos stopped by our office yesterday and spent about 90 minutes with us talking product strategy. Before he left, he spent about 45 minutes taking general Q&A from everyone at the office.
During one of his answers, he shared an enlightened observation about people who are “right a lot”.
He said people who were right a lot of the time were people who often changed their minds. He doesn’t think consistency of thought is a particularly positive trait. It’s perfectly healthy — encouraged, even — to have an idea tomorrow that contradicted your idea today.
He’s observed that the smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they’d already solved. They’re open to new points of view, new information, new ideas, contradictions, and challenges to their own way of thinking.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a well formed point of view, but it means you should consider your point of view as temporary.
What trait signified someone who was wrong a lot of the time? Someone obsessed with details that only support one point of view. If someone can’t climb out of the details, and see the bigger picture from multiple angles, they’re often wrong most of the time.