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I recently bought some custom-made pants. The representative of the firm took all kinds of measurements, entered them into the company’s software, and supposedly I can now easily get pants, shirts, suits, etc. based on those measurements.

Except the pants were so tight in the calves I joked they looked like they were from Lulu Lemon. I asked the rep if she wanted to measure my legs and she said, no, they had all the measurements they needed. Of course, the second edition of the pants are fine in the calves but too tight in the thighs (maybe she should have measured, just sayin’).

You can have the best software (is this AI?) but it’s still garbage in, garbage out. In this case the garbage in was incomplete information. My calves and thighs were never measured, the program just assumed what the measurements would be based on standard metrics.

The above is a good lesson for many things. A good salesperson will ask a lot of questions, not talk a lot. They’ll find out what makes their (prospective) customer’s situation special (different). They’ll customize the solution for them so it’s a win-win, even if the software says something else.

I see this all the time when discussing business buy sell deals. Somebody will say something like, I’d pay 4X for that business. Without knowing if that business has three customers or 300 customers, a fantastic management team or the owner does everything. 

What’s even worse is when I see software programs that claim to give a business valuation by only entering a few select numbers. They don’t take into account the couple things mentioned in the previous paragraph or any of the other non-financial factors like the lease, the supply chain, technology, etc.

Like my clothes ordering, solving a problem for a client or customer requires more than just superficial input. What it takes is understanding the whole scope of the situation. One size does not fit all and as the old saying goes, the devil is in the details.

“The human imagination cannot be programmed by a computer. Or imagination is our greatest hope for survival.” (Artist) Keith Haring

“Politics is the art of postponing decisions until they are no longer relevant.” (Former French Prime Minister) Henri Queuille

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