To maintain effective marketing, or to run effective projects, both require constant cycles of prediction and measurement.
For example, first you measure the current one, use that to plan and predict the next one. Measure that one. And so on.
Having been through plenty of campaigns and plenty of projects, I know there are some things that I can predict well. Perhaps an odd predilection for stats helps. Of course we all get some estimates wrong, but the more we do the better we estimate. And I've done loads.
But there are some things that I cannot predict. I cannot predict share prices without insider knowledge. So I agree with what Stephen Dubner wrote on Freakonomics a while back:
Here are a couple of stock-market headlines I’d love to read one day:
“Stocks Surge, Reasons Unknown; May Be Nothing More Than the Random Fluctuation of a Complex System”
“Stocks Dive: Three First-Movers Sold Hard and Then Everyone Else Inexplicably Followed”
Of course, in the second case, if the first-movers sold hard, if you believe that others will also sell hard, then you should sensibly follow.
So my own investment strategy, still holding all my boom-bought shares as they go bust one by one, now it looks very foolish indeed.