Good intuition propels progress. Listening to your gut is faster than rigourously exploring all possible options. The more you can get away with leaning on intuition, the more things you can improve in the same amount of time. The best product makers have excellent intuition.
But exactly because intuition on a roll is so powerful, it also invokes a sense of invicibility: Hey, if I was right about the gut take the last twenty times, why wouldn’t I be right about this too?
“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose” — Bill Gates
That’s no reason to give up on intuition, but it is cause to consider a fallback strategy. The primary of which should be having answers to the following: What evidence would prove me wrong? Is my gut take falsifiable? Will I have the courage to admit being wrong, if the data proves it so?
Some times there’s simply no way to know before you act. That’s the providence of A/B testing. If the data isn’t there upfront, then let’s just try it and see what happens!
Other times the answers are indeed already there, we just don’t have the confidence to look. It’s so easy to fall in love with an idea that makes intuitive sense. The theory is just too satisfying to give up. We don’t even want to entertain the idea of being wrong, at least not yet.
The golden path is to give almost all intuitive ideas the benefit of the doubt, but then articulate that doubt as clearly as possible. The quicker you determine which ideas are duds, the quicker you can load the next batch.