“Trial and Error” not “Trial and Anger”

By Ted Wright July 9, 2010

Now that we are a couple of days out, I’d like to say that headline phrases like “Incredibly Stupid” (Estaban Kolsky) and “Pyramid Scheme” (TechCrunch) were overly harsh and unproductive in reference to Fast Company’s recent jump into the pond of word of mouth/Influencer measurement.

Was it a poorly designed experiment? Yep. Was it evil, mean spirited or otherwise worthy of snarky and angry writing? I don’t think so.  When you read Fast Company’s further comments they are trying to answer some really interesting questions. Given all of the vitriol spewed out in other places, are smart people going to be less inclined to put forth experiments to probe this idea of what is an Influencer and how valuable are they? If so, this would be bad as the questions that Fast Company is trying to explore are very interesting and need to be examined with rigor.

I really liked the comments of Dr. Michael Wu at Lithium as well as the other people that have chimed in on their site.  They are constructive and engaged in the question rather that ripping on the faults of the questioner, his company or the experiment.

As someone who has been working with Influencers for that last ten years, I think Fast Company asked great questions. Let’s not all beat the crap out of them just because their first attempt to answer their questions sucked. Experiments are about trial and error not trial and anger.


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