March 11, 2014
One of my favorite things about the web is finding really smart people I would've never had the opportunity to know otherwise, like Farrah Bostic.
Here's her insight on insight:
"Insight isn't a noun in the sense that a car or a nickle or a pen are nouns. It's a noun that names a quality or capacity, like beauty, intelligence, compassion. We tend not to pluralize and objectify these nouns, because they are not about objects. But in Adland, we call things 'insights' because we are nothing if we haven't (great big sigh) 'productized' our work."
"Insight is a capacity to gain accurate and deep understanding of a person or thing."
"The depth of this understanding should go so far as to seem intuitive."
"Insight is a quality possessed by people. You want to hire (people) who are insightful. But they will not 'uncover' or 'land on' or 'find' insights for you, because that is not possible. The best they can be, is insightful on your behalf."
"...what we call 'insights' are often, in fact, observations or statistics. That women are the fastest growing segment of online gamers is not an insight. It's a statistic."
There are a lot of self-proclaimed geniuses in our industry, people who make definitive claims about what is, or is not, going to happen five years from now.
Truth is, very few have any idea what's going to happen tomorrow.
A year before it happened, no one in our industry knew with any certainty that Apple would create a device, the iPod, and a convenient and inexpensive way to load it with thousands of digital songs, and that it would forever alter how we access and consume music.
Claims to the contrary are bullcrap, and in your heart, you already know that.
Our world is full of blowhards happy to sell you their observations about statistics, mouths forever open and ears forever shut, certain that you can teach them nothing they don't already know.
You don't need fortune tellers or pundits on your team.
You need someone confident enough to admit they don't have all the answers to all your questions. No one does. There is no magic formula. What works here doesn't always work there, and the failure to understand this is one of consolidation's biggest screw-ups.
You need a really smart person who doesn't have the identical perspective you have on your station, your competition, and the decisions you make that affect your success.
After all, if they think exactly like you, why do you need them, except to validate your own opinions and decisions.
So ... what do you need?
You need someone willing to invest the time it takes to gain a deep understanding of your station, your staff and your market.
You need someone who is insightful.