Monday, September 3, 2012

Not All Advice Is Good Advice

Many times I am asked about how can you tell if someone is giving you good or bad advice about a business, or marketing strategy, or investment, and while looking at their track record is a good idea, you also have to look at how broad base their knowledge and experience is in general.  The more narrow a person's focus is, the less ability they have to understand the unintended and unforeseen consequences of the advice they are giving you.  I will use the example below to put it into better perspective.
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A young Texas farm couple, Ole and Lena, got married and just couldn't seem to get enough lovin'. In the morning, before Ole left the house for the fields, they made love. When Ole came back from the fields, they made love. And again at bedtime, they made love.
The problem was their "nooner"; it took Ole a half hour to travel home and another half hour to return to the fields and he just wasn't getting enough work done. Finally Ole asked the town doctor what to do.
"Ole," said the doctor, "just take your rifle out to the field with you and when you're in the mood, fire off a shot into the air. That will be Lena's signal to come out to you. Then you won't lose any field time."
They tried Doc's advice and it worked well for a while. Ole came back to the doctor's office.
"What's wrong?" asked the Doc. "Didn't my idea work?"
"Oh, it worked real good," said Ole. "Whenever I was in the mood, I fired off a shot like you said and Lena'd come runnin'. We'd find a secluded place, make love, and then she'd go back home again."
"Good, Ole. So what's the problem?" asked the Doc.

"I ain't seen her since huntin' season started."

While on the surface, the advice sounded like a good idea, the Doctor totally miscalculated the "experience" of his patient, and that hunting season was around the corner.

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