Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

Like any crisis, COVID-19 has laid bare a lot of realities that were probably always there, but that could continue on until external events made it impossible for them to remain unacknowledged.

For those of you unfamiliar, the Dunning-Kruger effect, its name is derived from a study conducted by David Dunning and Justin Kruger back just before the turn of the century (1999). The study exposed a very interesting paradox - in several instances average performing people tended to place themselves in the upper echelons in terms of performance. Curious to relate? In many instances, high performing people tended to down-play their abilities, ranking themselves lower on the scale than their abilities justified.

For those of you who are more visual (and enjoy video over text) here is a fun look at the Dunning-Kruger effect courtesy of Trace Dominguez and After Skool -
Cognitive Bias exists everywhere, and we all struggle with it on many levels.  The recent devolution of BaselWorld into a full-blown 3-ring circus is a great example.  And I want to jump right out of the gate and make clear that BaselWorld is only one of the Ringleaders of this train wreck.  

In Tent Number 1:
Remember the bold words of one mayor of Watch Town who insisted that his brand was special, and didn't actually need a show?  And then like a carpet bagger tried to ease south to Geneva to announce (what in hindsight) was a pretty ham-fisted attempt to grab some press ink with some other like minded mayors for a "mini-show" of carefully curated brands?  (editor's note: along with the use of "my friend" and "timepiece" could we agree to ban the term "curated"?  It's complete and utter bullshit.)  

In Tent Number 2:
If Animal Farm were ever to be re-told with denizens of Watch Town as the protagonists, the advent of the FHH show would be familiar.
George Orwell Animal Farm
Here's the thing, you don't tug on Superman's cape.  It was pretty foolhardy of the BaselWorld organizers to assume that they could try to give Rolex and Patek an "Atomic Wedgie" -
Courtesy of the Simpsons
Now I cannot claim to know or understand every thought process or motivation that runs through the storied hallways of Big Green in Geneva.  I respect my place in the hierarchy ; )

But what I can say is this - while Rolex, Tudor, Patek and Chanel had every right to pick up their tents and move them south, let's not misconstrue that as a blow for the Proletariat of Watch Town.  The "letter of secession" makes it pretty clear that these four brands made their decision based on what would work for them.  Several other not-so-fancy brands may not be invited to join the party.

And ladies and gentlemen, train your eyes to the center ring here in the Big Top!:
BaselWorld was clearly living in a different reality than a lot of the larger brands that were willing to continue to pay the price to be there.  And truthfully?  These are some of the real victims in this three-ring shit-show.  If you are a Richemont brand?  You are safe, Watches and Wonders has you covered.  If you are viewed "luxurious and exclusive enough"?  Not a problem, FHH will certainly deem you worthy and you can join them.  But what about some of those other big, notable, and dare I say it - POPULAR brands that actually sell a LOT of watches?  Where do they get to go?  

You get the idea.

Now I still like my personal crack-pot theory that Hayek the Younger has been sitting back in his stronghold in the Biel/Bienne hinterlands, biding his time and waiting to come back to BaselWorld. But then again, I have frequently been guilty of the Dunning-Kruger Effect ; )

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