Markets, Not Pundits, Matter

pundit |ˈpəndit| noun | An expert in a particular subject or field who is frequently called on to give opinions about it to the public.

I write about tech. I like to pretend that I’m an expert. So I guess I could describe myself as a pundit.

An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less. ~ Nicholas Murray Butler

Sadly, I’ve become discouraged with many of my fellow pundits. (Present company excepted, of course!) Oh, there’s the click-baiters (and the master-click-baiters) out there, but I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about people who take their opinions seriously…but perhaps just a bit too seriously.

A man is getting along on the road to wisdom when he begins to realize that his opinion is just an opinion.

I can only assume that many of these pundits have miraculously learned how to write without learning how to read because, if they could read their stuff, they would surely stop writing it.

Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving in words evidence of the fact. ~ George Eliot

Let me just throw out two quick examples for your consideration:

  • In the Summer, Apple announced iOS7. Pundits were horrified. Tasteless. Childish. A sure sign that Apple was doomed.

    And the public reaction to iOS7? Oh yeah, a big hit.

  • In the Fall, Apple announced a gold iPhone 5S. Pundits were horrified. Tasteless. Childish. A sure sign that Apple was doomed.

    And the public reaction to the gold iPhone? Last I heard, gold iPhones were being sold for as much as $1,800 a pop on eBay.

New Apple product X is announced. Pundits & analysts say X will fail. X breaks all previous sales records. Step. Rinse. Repeat. ~ Nick Bilton (@nickbilton)

I’m not saying that Pundits shouldn’t express their opinions – of course they should, and in the strongest terms.

I have opinions of my own, strong opinions, but I don’t always agree with them. ~ G.W. Bush

All I’m saying is that we should keep in mind that it is the opinion of the market — not the opinion of the pundit — that matters. The pundit votes with their opinions. The market votes with their dollars. The market wins every time. We should be trying to shape our opinions to reflect the market not pretending that the market is a reflection of our opinions.

I am a thinker with writing problems. ~ John Kirk

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have no trouble with stirring the pot. As a former attorney, I can find a problem for every solution. But stirring the pot is supposed to improve the stew, not burn it.

Be a fountain, not a drain. ~ Rex Hudler

Arthur C. Clarke once said that new ideas pass through three periods (in the minds of critics):

— It can’t be done.
— It probably can be done, but it’s not worth doing.
— I knew it was a good idea all along!

It’s a given that critics will always think this way. But if we’re doing our job as pundits, we should be watchful of – and cautioning against – falling into the traps set by stages 1 and 2.

It may be asking too much to expect Pundits to act as Prophets, but is it really asking so very much that they not play the role of fools and jackanapes?

You don’t write because you want to say something; you write because you’ve got something to say.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Author’s Note: I’ve been twittering a lot of late. Come join me @johnkirk and get your tweet quoted in my next article (…or not).

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John Kirk

John R. Kirk is a recovering attorney. He has also worked as a financial advisor and a business coach. His love affair with computing started with his purchase of the original Mac in 1985. His primary interest is the field of personal computing (which includes phones, tablets, notebooks and desktops) and his primary focus is on long-term business strategies: What makes a company unique; How do those unique qualities aid or inhibit the success of the company; and why don’t (or can’t) other companies adopt the successful attributes of their competitors?

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