Trial and Error

I’ve often stated that economies (in general) and businesses (in particular) operate by trial and error. Long term success is not driven so much be getting lucky as it is by learning from mistakes.

Yet trial and error isn’t the whole story. Wal-Mart became huge by relentlessly analyzing everything about their business. In their early years, they pioneered the  use of massive data analysis to improve their business by not making error in the first place. Today, even very small businesses have access to powerful analysis technology. As Megan points out, companies are increasingly aiming this technology at fuel consumption. Other kinds of energy consumption are also being targetted. And good old trial and error will play a role. There will come a “tipping point” where energy supply growth will exceed demand growth and the world will look very very different.

One of the great human failings is to believe that trends will go on forever, even though they seldom do.

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