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How Data Can Help You Make Better Gut Decisions

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Watch consumers and competitors. And then go with your gut.

A big misconception about the market is that it's controlled by marketers and the media. In fact, consumers control it. Great marketers, business people, and entrepreneurs just react to trends. It doesn't matter whether Netflix's latest show is your guilty pleasure or you think it's a waste of time--the broader audience decides what's popular.

If you have no control over this stuff, how can you possibly tell when to change your business strategy? There's no single metric that will show you this. The problem with data is that it gives you a postgame view and generally doesn't present a realistic picture that allows you to detect shifts in the market. Responding to the market puts you in a far more gray area than black-and-white numbers do, such as employee head count or a volume of users.

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