Assumption and gut feeling are two methods that every working professional will use the maximum number of times to take decisions. Before I go deeper into this, let’s understand the four points given below:
• As humans, we place much more belief in our thoughts and ideas, than in any logic or data that might be available.
• A professional might not have all the necessary knowledge about a particular domain and industry,
• He always has to deal with a lack of data, of market knowledge, of competitor information.
• There could be many ideas to do things differently, which cannot be tested unless they are done in their entirety or unless they have never been done before.
When you combine both these points, you have a professional who has to take many decisions without having all the knowledge and that is when assumption and gut feeling come into play. It is important to understand the difference between them. According to the dictionary, assumption is accepting, without proof, a thing as true or as certain to happen, while a gut feeling is a feeling or reaction based on an instinctive emotional response rather than considered thought. I do not believe in making assumptions, because they do not have any backing or ground and can be made about anything without any knowledge. In some situations, you might be forced to rely on assumptions. Here are a few suggestions if such a situation should arise:
Don’t build anything on two different assumptions. Don’t take decisions on assumptions without knowledge. Even if you are making an assumption, do it in a field where you have some knowledge and experience. For example, if you are a software engineer by profession, don’t assume how much money a national marketing plan would need or how much advertising revenue you can generate on a portal. Where you don’t have the knowledge, find someone who at least knows the industry, the category and the domain. Don’t assume the likes and dislikes of other people. Assumptions based on people are even more dangerous. They should not be made on how a person might react to a product or a service; or on how much he would pay; or on how much he would use. Such questions are best asked of potential customers. But, I do believe in gut feeling, largely because it is a sort of intuition and it generally comes out of some knowledge, experience or intellectual capability that a person has. Often, it is just putting together a few blocks. A gut feeling comes after a lot of thinking, goes a lot deeper and generally does not die that quickly. An assumption is superficial, sometimes just an argument and nothing else.
Written by Rudrajeet Desai