Short Term Lies, Long Term Truths

It shouldn’t surprise us that lies are so popular and viral.

Box Office Mojo offers a list of the top 1,000 movies of all time, sorted by US box office, not-inflation adjusted. The top documentary on the list is Fahrenheit 9/11, which is 564th on the list. For reference, number 560 on the list is G-Force, whose summary reads, “A specially trained squad of guinea pigs is dispatched to stop a diabolical billionaire from taking over the world.

The point is, it’s easier to fashion a compelling narrative when you’re allowed to make it up. Real life is full of messy, contradictory details that get in the way of a good story.

But a movie only has to hold up for two hours, and (hopefully) isn’t determining important decisions.

In the short run, the strongest narrative wins. But in the long run, reality ensues, and narratives that lead to bad decisions with negative consequences eventually die off (though often this process takes longer than we’d like, and much longer than it does in this clip from “The Other Guys,” number 563 on the box office list).

Those who seek out and make their decisions based on facts will, in the long run, win any competition against those who make their decisions based on lies.

1 thought on “Short Term Lies, Long Term Truths

  1. [This is Marcio Galli, the one that translated subtitles for some of the Blitzscaling talks at the time].

    This article helped me in a reflection about the urgency in the modern world, and network effects. From the point of view that there are ways to launch, and in some cases scale, narrative-based-products, specially when there is a sort of gravitational force, pulling — in the sense of market pull, not in the sense of technology push.

    I am making a broader correlation between things like:

    * Certain products, like Uber, have time to be accelerated, because market pull force is latent;
    * Certain presidents, like X or Y, can have the right time to be launched, when the network of the state of the nation arrived at certain state.

    Maybe a bit imprecise, maybe too dumb, I know know. Just wanted to let you know because you brought up the point of narratives and narrative seems to be an element. Some products carry a narrative.


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