Summary of Paul Saffo's article

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In Paul Saffo’s article on the “Six Rules for Effective Forecasting”, he talked about the correct way to forecast predicting. The six rules are as follows: Rule 1 is to define a cone of uncertainty. He talked about mapping a cone of uncertainty from particular moments or events that helps the decision maker exercise strategic judgment. Second rule is to look for the S curve. The most important developments typically follow the S-curve shape of a power law, meaning that things always start off slowly but then suddenly explodes and then it may eventually die off or even drop back down. So the key to success in this rule is to identify the beginning of the S-curve before it explodes. The third rule is to embrace the things that don’t fit. There are often many new and odd events that happen around us. The key here is to identify the ones that would become the present. The forth rule is not the hold strong opinions. Many forecasters make the mistake of over relying on one piece of seemingly strong information because it happens to reinforce the conclusion. This causes inflexibility, and a closed mind to new and changing opportunities. Next, rule number five is to look back twice as far as you look forward. Since past events and episodes are what we should be basing most of our forecasting on, looking back carefully and far enough and examining the pattern is often more important than focusing on the future. The final rule number six is to know when not to make a forecast. As Saffo mentioned, “even in periods of dramatic, rapid transformation, there are vastly more elements that do not change than new things that emerge.” From this saying, we should be very careful when forecasting change in the future since the odds of it happening are less than if we forecast it to not change. I think this article is brilliant and really inspiring. Especially rule number two and three

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