Galloway quadrant

What if, by doing the advanced thing, much of the “intermediate” stuff became meaningfully easier?

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I’m happy to see Davidson College — the place where I got a degree in Political Science — in the Thrive quadrant of Scott Galloway’s “US Higher Education: Value vs. Vulnerability” chart, which you can see here:

The research behind this matrix (shown in spreadsheet form at*TFG6beGJ-AZO1Aq_oTWcxw and described in is a wonderful example of the “black box” that David C. Baker and I discussed here:

It’s not “research” in the way you might normally think of. Instead, it’s taking experience and a point of view about a question, combining it with publicly-available data, and creating a lightweight algorithm to transform those inputs into the kind of outputs (a 2×2 matrix) that business decision makers LOVE.

It helps makes sense of the world. It provides emotional safety because it makes the future seem more predictable and less chaotic/unpredictable.

Does it matter if the tool really predicts the future? Is it “scientifically valid”? Is it “rigorous”?

It doesn’t matter. Large-scale public policy decisions will (probably) not be made using this tool. The safety of medications will not be evaluated using this tool. Etc.

What this tool does do is suggest a way of thinking about the future. It offers a framework. And that has VALUE.

Furthermore, it signals that this Galloway dude is a thinker to be heeded. An authority.

I’d love to see more of you creating research outputs like this one. I think if you’ll take some time to study what Galloway and his team have done, you’ll see that the mechanics of it are very simple.

As such, the barriers to entry for doing impactful research like this are quite low. The higher barrier to entry is insight into your clients minds: what risky decisions are they facing for which some data or a data-derived framework would help them make a better decision?

Your clients probably won’t ever ask you to do this kind of research. But, if you take it on yourself to do it, it will forever change how they see you. For the better.

Here’s an example from TEI member Tom Miller:

I’m looking at getting another paid TEI cohort up and running this Fall, so if that’s of interest to you, let me know either with a quick reply here or by using the form on