Friday, September 24, 2010

Wisdom in the Niche

This really happened.

Four guys, all Minnesota Twins fans, on Labor Day weekend looked ahead to the schedules of the hometown team and archrival White Sox (boo hiss).

They wanted to forecast as a group how the season would end up.

The Twins were in first place, up three games at the time over the Sox. And three games remained between the Twins and the South-Siders (in Chi-town).

Game by game they assessed the next 30 days of the schedule. For each team. Picking who would win each contest.

By the end of the exercise, group wisdom of these four fanatics suggested (three weeks ago) the Twins would win the division by 11 games.

Two interesting observations about wisdom in the niche:

First, the group was wrong. Twins won by 12 games. (Actually the group was almost right in picking an 11-game lead.)

Second, the group didn't buy its own wisdom. When they tallied the results, to a guy, the group all said "Nah, no way the Twins will win by 11."

Everyone figured it'd be way tighter than that; that it'd go down to the wire (yes, even with the Sox' addition of Manny).

What's going to happen when smart people figure out how to unlock wisdom of fanatics in the niche and allow it to actually lead or self-direct new markets, products, services, ideas (vs. give an opinion or two in a room with a mirror)?

And what will it take to nurture the niche (producer and consumer) in such a way that it finds confidence to believe in itself and its inherent wisdom?

There's an interesting marketing problem and project in there somewhere. My friend Kim is working on an interesting project along these lines.

Meantime, I'll get the "band" back together soon and report how they see the hometown team doing in post-season.


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