Fame is not Knowledge

Albert Einstein was a brilliant physicist. He was not a genius who understood finance or growth of a society or startup investment or psychology or ... And yet we see him quoted in many business contexts as if he is the thought leader to follow about these issues. Here are a few examples of asserted Einstein quotes:

Note that these are not actual quotes from Einstein. They are attributed to him, but he didn't say them (first, or likely at all).

These are (1) misquotes (2) known to have come earlier, (3) attributed to an irrelevant source (4) taken out of context and (5) often about an issue not at hand.

Why are they used? Because they work. Sure, they spread ignorance from person to person, but more importantly, they leverage fame for social acceptance:

For clarity, I don't believe you are profound, because of your reference

First off, if you have such a misquote, I can reasonably consider:

Now nobody is perfect, and I am not perfect either. Rather, I try to correct my mistakes. As should you. And credit should be give for correcting mistakes, but not as much as is given for not making them in the first place. So we see the sliding scale of credibility.

Plan, Do, Check, Act

Naturally, at this point, I checked all of the articles in this series to see if I misquoted Einstein anywhere. As it turns out I didn't. But that's called regression testing. When you find an error you go back and check to see if it's anywhere else and correct it in arrears. It's sort of like rewriting history, but in the good way - toward truth, not away from it.

So I planned to do this series of articles, I did it up to here, I checked it when I identified a possible error, and I acted, in this case to do nothing because there was nothing to be done. But now, of course I will be spending the next year checking this in all of the other things I have written over the last half century. At some point I will give up, take the heat from my earlier mistakes, and correct them if I ever find them or someone points them out to me.

A call to action

We help grow companies, and of course this includes helping them identify and correct issues before they cause actual harm, or mitigate the harm after it starts to occur. How do we do this? It starts with the process of preparing for your presentation at one of our Demo Days:

Go To Angel

As you do it we will help identify some of your potential problems and correct to help you accelerate your company.

In summary

Don't misquote - or better yet - don't try to use false social influence to convince others that your company is worthy. It can backfire in a big way, and frankly, if you do a good job, you won't need it.

Copyright(c) Fred Cohen, 2021 - All Rights Reserved