A week and a half ago, a colleague of mine forwarded me a blog post by Seth Godin, entitled All the slow hedgehogs are dead. It’s pretty short in itself but to summarize, it says we used to see lots of dead hedgehogs in the road and now we don’t, so all of the slow ones must be dead and couldn’t create more slow hedgehogs.
When I first read this I was thinking this is marketing genius, has to be. Before September I hadn’t even heard of Seth Godin, but I’ve found out recently through #BlogChat on Twitter and other people, that he is highly regarded blogger and speaker. I was so convinced that this was intentional that I was going to title this “Shock Value Comments or Brilliant Engagement Strategy.”
Just so happens, I checked Seth’s blog again today and saw an update saying essentially that he jumped the gun with his conclusion and that his readers let him know about it. So instead of a post being irritated about the overuse of “Shock Comments” to stimulate reader engagement you get a post wondering why people don’t understand the fact that correlation does not imply causation. Situations like this are exactly the reason that I had empirical methods on this list of courses that you NEED to take in business school. There are many reasons that could explain Seth’s observation, including but not limited to, the following:
- Hedgehogs dying due to disease
- Fewer hedgehogs in the area due to hunting/predation
- Hedgehogs got smarter by finding a safer path across
- Hedgehogs got smarter by crossing during off-peak times
- Hedgehog food source depleted which eliminates need for hedgehogs to cross the road
All of these explanations are just as plausible as Seth’s hypothesis. It’s a(nother) good reminder that we should think before we make bold claims unless of course this was part of Seth’s plan all long to get everyone talking about his 3-paragraph, 76-word blog post.