Do you know?

There are three categories of knowing: we know we know, we don’t know, and we think we know.

When we know we know – we understand fundamentals, we have a model, we have evidence, we can predict. We can build on this knowledge. We’re not often in this state, but it sure feels good when we are. The trick here is to understand the applicability of the knowledge. Change the inputs, change the system, or change the environment and we must question our knowledge. Do the fundamentals still apply?

When we don’t know – no fundamentals, no model, and no predictions. No danger on building on bad knowledge. Life is uncomplicated. Next task: develop the fundamentals; build a model. We’re in this state more often than we admit, and there’s the danger. It’s politically difficult to say “I don’t know.” But it must be said. Otherwise we’re expected to predict the future and to build on the knowledge (that we don’t have).

When we think we know – no fundamentals, no model, and predictions we bet our businesses on. Danger. It feels just as good as when we know we know, but it shouldn’t. Momentum in the wrong direction and we don’t know it. And we’re likely in this state more often than not. But this is a meta-state, an unstable state. The trick is to push on our knowledge so we tip into one of the other two states. Push on our knowledge so we know if we know.

Do you know the fundamentals? Do you have a model? Can you predict?

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Mike Shipulski Mike Shipulski
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