Superstitious Pigeons

Seth Godin wrote wrote an article a few years ago in Fast Company called The Threat of Pigeons and Other Fundamentalists. He claims that not too much has changed today.

It basically talks about how people make business decisions based on what they think the truth is. Pigeons, it turns out, are superstitious. If you put them in a cage and feed them at regular intervals, they do whatever it was that they were doing when they got fed. They apparently believe that if they got fed while spinning around, they must be getting fed BECAUSE they were spinning around.

Contrast with a company that becomes successful while concentrating its resources on some specific aspect of the business. If that aspect doesn’t apply anymore, how long will it be for the leadership to adjust its view? If the company did the equivalent of spinning around while becoming successful, it will be difficult to persuade the people involved that they are being superstitious.

The article caught my eye because PigeonGB is my handle when I play games. It was a nickname in college.