Survivorship bias

The more I read about the survivorship bias, the more guilty I feel. I’m so easy to trick into this one, because I love stories of success. I do try to steer away from them on DailyPM as much as I can, but that is quite difficult.

Survivorship bias means looking at stories without taking the failures into account. Crude example: you could interview everyone that survived accidents with planes and distill a list of “things you should do to survive a plane crash”. This is misleading, because there is a huge chance that the people that didn’t make it did exactly the same thing. It can easily lead to overly optimistic beliefs. Be aware of this when doing user research or applying lessons from people who succeeded.

Here’s a short clip (4:34) with a good explanation.

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