Facts Are Our Friends

I was sipping coffee and watching a news report on the launch of the ObamaCare Exchanges when my 12-year-old daughter snuggled up to me and asked a question. “How can the government make you pay a fine for not buying something?” She followed up with, “Is that constitutional?”

At first I was really proud. After all, how many 12-year-olds ask these kinds of questions? How many even know what’s going on with our government or health care at all? My pride quickly turned to disappointment when I remembered my Lake Powell vacation just got cancelled because of this whole government shutdown mess over ObamaCare.

At Hotwire we like to say, “Facts are our friends”. It’s one of the guiding principles behind every product we develop. After all, successful products become successful when they provide the best answer to a problem or need in the market place. They win because people want them more than they want the other solutions out there. Facts provide the most effective framework for product innovation. Collect them early in your development and collect them often. They’ll be beacons guiding your way.

Looking at the facts it’s hard to understand why we increasingly place our hope in government as the answer to our biggest societal problems. Government, by its very nature, was not designed to be an effective solution. How can we expect an entity that doesn’t exist within a competitive environment to become increasingly effective and efficient at delivering a product or service? How can we expect an entity that increases its revenues through taxes rather than innovation to come up with creative solutions to our complex problems?

Many times when looking to government for our solutions, we’re simply ignoring the facts. Instead we’re caught up in our feelings, hopes and dreams – they cloud our better judgment.

Unfortunately it’s easy to do this in our businesses too. How often are we tempted to “go with our gut” instead of talking to our key stakeholders to find out what they think of our product our service? How often do we start to build an enterprise before we even know if its product will sell or its business model can scale? How often do we make risky or costly decisions based on an assumption?

It happens all the time. My challenge to all of us is to diligently work to collect facts and then listen to what they have to say. Cherish them as you do your closest friends and let their counsel guide your way.