Not Every Datapoint Demands an Insight

Posted on October 28, 2014. Filed under: startups, venture capital |

I read a headline in my twitterfeed just now that said something to the effect of “why twitter’s stock price is trading below it’s ipo value again.” Out of 100 tweets or so i consumed, that information triggered my “signal detector” which is the little voice in my head that says “this new thing might mean something / change something in our overall view of the world.” That detector goes off in my head, conciously…about 25 times a day…it can be triggered by a piece of news, a conversation, or even the expression or aggregate expressions of the strangers that i pass by on the street on my morning walk to work. I think one of the things that makes me weird…that attracts me to weird problems…and potentially isolates me from regular folks is that my detector tends to go off by a set of events and information that are really different than what most people pay attention to. I don’t know why, but it’s always been that way.

As a result, my process of listening to and addressing the information that sets off that trigger is really different from, say, what an equity research analyst or a private equity partner might have. Let’s take the case of that tweet from earlier…my process for analyzing that event was too go to Yahoo Finance. look at the one year stock chart of Twitter, spend about 20 seconds asking myself “is this different from what I expected?” or put another way “does this conflict with my current world view” and if the answer is not “yes, this is unusual”…than i x out of the tab, keep rolling, and don’t think about it anymore…and that’s exactly what I did in the case of that tweet. Now that doesn’t mean that datapoint is gone…it may reemerge sometime in the future, but I never try to force my way to an insight around things that trigger my “signal detector.” I feel like an analyst would sit down, look at this new event, and apply a process that would not be complete until some conclusion was reached…insistent that every new piece of info is some sort of “update to his worldview” but that’s not the way I think about this stuff…most information…i just try to let it wash over me…run somewhere in the background, and then wait for a signal that conflicts with it all to induce an insight or understanding of what’s going on…it’s kind of the opposite of a linear analysis and i think it makes room for a wider top of the funnel when it comes to the types of things that trigger my “signal detector”…

Happy Tuesday

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    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I've started a few companies and a venture capital firm. You can email me at (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it)


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