The Problem with Assumptions

Sports-journalism You're the boss. Now, do you like who you're working for?

It's a serious question. Take a moment to think about it.

I'm in awe of business owners. It takes courage to step forward and start a business. Many of my friends run a solopreneur, consultancy, or a small business.

Every single one of the people I know who started a business told me they wished they knew what they know now at the very beginning. It's not a play on words, it's a real desire.

To wit, I'm sure we all wished we knew what we know now when we started our career. Then again, I'm encouraged by the fact that the whole point then is to get started already. The energy and enthusiasm of the beginner carry you a long way. In many cases they help you push through the difficulties.

Gini Dietrich often collects articles and posts helpful to small business owners. This week's top five caught my eye.

The lead story is filed under "you're the boss" in the New York Times, and judging from the comments, it does an excellent job at raising your blood pressure if you're a communications professional, just like the recent posts by Fred Wilson if you're in marketing.

It seems that taking shots at the marketing and communication profession has become the way to get desired news coverage and reactions online — a sport of sorts.

I was not familiar with Bruce Buschel, although I can appreciate his writing style from reading his blog. From the short Wikipedia entry, it seems he has a flair for incisive commentary. With fork in hand, now that he is a restaurant owner. No doubt, Buschel has received his fair share of pitches over the years.

Hard for me to know Mr. Buschel's intentions. However, if I were to take an educated guess, the post achieves a couple of goals — it kills two birds with one stone, so to speak. It gets him nice coverage for the restaurant, it gives him an opportunity to get back at PR flacks, while it link baits traffic to the site.

It takes, without giving much back, just yet.

The problem with assumptions, of course, is that they are just that. I'm telling you a story based upon my interpretation of a situation. The problem with assumptions is also that they paint facts and people with a very broad brush, and once they gain the first mover advantage and get a reaction, the goals are met. The job is done, and so is the harm.

My own take on the situation described is that it takes two people to make a disconnect happen. It takes a bigger person to recognize one, acknowledge it, including the role they played — hence why the answer on whether you like yourself matters — and reconcile any balances upset in the process.

An opportunity missed in this case, it seems.

Not to worry though, Mr. Buschel announces he has a solution for his next post. A breath of fresh air, I'm sure. And a much needed change for an industry that doesn't know what it's doing. If only we had had a hero rescuing it. If only we had energetic writing to set the record straight.

The problem with assumptions is that they skip the whole critical thinking process in favor of just critical. Satisfaction, however, is hollow when it doesn't meet its own true motivation.


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