Personal Essay Example: Biases and Errors in Decision Making

3 pages
551 words
Sewanee University of the South
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In an attempt to venture into online marketing via blogging, I committed two deadly sins that killed my initiative: overconfidence bias and randomness error. There was nothing wrong with the blog content per say, just that I had overestimated how much viewership it would receive and consequently, how much earnings would accrue from the projected viewership. When I established my blog (which focused on issues in the social realm), I wished to grow it quickly. A friend of mine warned me that I should take time to market the blog and increase its awareness to potential readers. I saw the point in what she was saying, but I was too impatient for that. I argued that simple awareness through social medial was enough for me to create sufficient following. I would later know fully how terribly wrong I was. As I was pondering what to do, a blogging competition came up and I enrolled. My friend had enrolled earlier and was actually doing remarkably well. Her success was the antecedent that seduced me into making a wrong and rush move. Within two months, her blog had 700,000 likes on Facebook and had no less than 50 active visitors per day. I figured out that I too could pull such impressive numbers even better one, I said to myself. The best performing blog would clinch marketing deals with a major national brand that was keen on tapping into youth consumers. I felt that mine would be amongst them. I could already smell hundreds of thousands of dollars in the form of advertising revenues.Then the nightmare came. Two months down the line, my blog had an average of 3 active visitors per day. Only 500 people had liked it on Facebook. Seeing that there was no way I could ever match the performance of my friend, I opted out of the competition, feeling humiliated and defeated. I had suffered the overconfidence bias by exaggerating the extent to which my social media friends would like the contents I shared on my blog. Simply because people read Facebook posts does not necessarily mean that they would warm up to blog content. Secondly, I had used my friends figures on the average number of daily active visitors as well as Facebook likes to estimate how well my blog would do. I was wrong as the random variation was so huge. It turned out that my decision was highly misguided and I had grossly exaggerated the decision parameters. I learnt the hard way that firstly, shortcuts will always lead to ruin. Secondly, my confidence in my ability to realize an impressive performance was more subjective than objective. Thirdly, my basis of comparison was poor and ill-informed the difference in averages was too huge and the randomness error highly significant. Plotting our scores in a distribution curve would yield outliers. In future, I will make a deliberate effort to underplay my confidence, even if I think it is rooted in solid reasons. I still intend to pursue online marketing via blogging. However, I will market my blog thoroughly to gain followership before I approach firms for deals. Most importantly, I will be more appreciative of the limitations of my rationality in future because when all is said and done, cognitive limitations, information and time restraints will always apply to us all.

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