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Thread by @wolfejosh: "1/ On Truth. After you read this comic, I share a story about a small con—relatively innocuous but the kind that is pervasive in tech (and r […]"

6 tweets, 2 min read
1/ On Truth. After you read this comic, I share a story about a small con—relatively innocuous but the kind that is pervasive in tech (and really anything new + risky where credibility is low and the need for (investor) belief is high)...
2/ Many years ago I spoke at a family office conference with the founder of Red Hat

He shared a story of how he basically did a small con to build credibility.

He surveyed 10 of his friends, 2 were using Linux.

A year later 4 were using Linux.

So...
3/ He wrote an article in Linux Home Journal saying that according to his survey of programmers adoption was growing fast at 100% growth YoY.

Now, this is a non-representative + insufficient sample size of “4 friends” up from 2 friends...

But the sentence runs in the article...
4/ Then someone from BusinessWeek is interviewing him and he quotes Linux Home Journal article and says something like:

“According to Linux Home Journal, Linux adoption is growing 100% + doubling every year”.

BusinessWeek uses that growth rate and quotes it.

Then?...
5/ He then quotes BusinessWeek (a more credible national publication) and says in future meetings something to effect of:

“According to BusinessWeek, Linux use is rapidly doubling every year!”

So from 2 friends to 4 to a random article to BusinessWeek he CONJURED...CREDIBILITY.
6/ This kind of stuff happens ALL THE TIME.

We believe stuff other people believe that other people have LED them to believe...

Sometimes it’s innocent mistakes (like Popeye + Spinach TL;DR it was decimal error of iron content)

...but sometimes it’s just willfully misleading.
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