How ‘the curse of knowledge’ may be hurting your business and what to do about it | Link Tech

“The curse of information” is a cognitive bias that happens while you perceive one thing after which assume everybody else understands it as properly. It’s a quite common reason behind friction in marriages. For example, one partner agrees to go to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving and assumes the opposite partner is aware of that as properly. 

“I’m certain I advised you that!”

It’s additionally an issue in enterprise. It’s very straightforward to imagine that everybody else is aware of what . Listed below are some examples of the place this explicit bias can crop up in enterprise conditions, together with some proposed options. 

Dig deeper: How entrepreneurs can use cognitive biases to affect buyer selections

Customer support

My good friend Ralph had a job at a fast-food restaurant in highschool and he would generally complain on the lunch desk about coping with clients. Somebody would ask if they might get a complimentary cup, and Ralph would get annoyed and level to the plain signal that mentioned “no complimentary cups.” 

The factor is, the signal could be very apparent in case you’ve labored there 15 hours per week for 3 months. It’s not as apparent if it’s your first go to. You may’t count on individuals to learn each signal in every single place they go. 


  • Recurrently remind your employees that they’ve particular information and familiarity that your clients don’t have. 
  • Discover a strategy to observe the place clients are getting confused and both discover a higher strategy to talk with them or amend your coverage to suit their preconceptions. In spite of everything, what’s dearer, making a gift of a free cup or having annoyed employees and clients? 

Web site design

The curse of information additionally interferes with net, app and ecommerce design. What’s apparent to the programmer, or the designer, just isn’t essentially apparent to the client — particularly these “intuitive” issues we’re all speculated to know someway. 

After I received a brand new cellphone some time in the past, I needed to lookup directions to alter among the settings and a few of them began with one thing like “go to your property display,” which simply made me should lookup “the place is the house display on a Pixel?” 

Don’t assume your clients know what . 


  • The place potential, use the usual options everyone seems to be used to. Or in different phrases, when unsure, copy Amazon. 
  • Earlier than you roll out a design change or a brand new function, have a number of individuals who know nothing in regards to the venture assessment it. 
  • Have Apple customers check your Android directions and vice versa. 
  • Create reporting mechanisms to trace issues. If you happen to count on individuals to comply with a sure path, test to see in the event that they’re behaving the best way you anticipated. 
  • Make it straightforward for purchasers to report after they’re confused or annoyed. 
  • Reinforce the angle that if a buyer misunderstands, you haven’t communicated properly sufficient. 

Dig deeper: 4 cognitive biases and psychological drivers for influencing habits

Undertaking administration

I’m afraid I’m responsible of this one. “The updates are all the time in that spreadsheet I shared with you through the kickoff assembly. Didn’t you bookmark it?” 

Simply since you mentioned one thing doesn’t imply individuals heard you, understood you or took motion based mostly on what you mentioned. A venture supervisor is within the venture day-after-day. It’s apparent to the venture supervisor that we want X earlier than Y, that we already selected 1 vs. 2 and that Z is due on Tuesday. It’s not apparent to individuals who produce other worries and tasks. 

The curse of information may go the opposite approach, the place the technical individuals are conscious of an issue, however the venture supervisor is out of the loop. 


  • Overcommunicate. Sure, it’s annoying, but it surely’s higher than miscommunication. 
  • Embody hyperlinks to necessary venture paperwork in your common updates. Be sure that individuals know the place they’ll discover updates. 
  • Undertaking managers ought to test in with the technical individuals to listen to their views on looming issues. 

Buzzwords and business lingo 

Do your salesmen converse in incomprehensible gibberish as a result of they use buzzwords and acronyms? They may assume it makes them sound like they know what they’re speaking about, or possibly they’re so used to the buzzwords that they’ll’t assist it, but it surely’s turning off a lot of your prospects. 


  • Make it a behavior to make use of the complete identify for one thing earlier than you utilize the acronym. 
  • Cease your self while you use an business buzzword and discover one other strategy to say the identical factor. Along with not sounding like a instrument, you’ll broaden your vocabulary and find yourself understanding the idea higher. 

Taking offense over breaches of etiquette

I don’t play golf, however I perceive there are a variety of guidelines for enterprise conferences on the golf course. One in all them is that you just don’t speak enterprise when you’re taking part in golf. I didn’t know that till yesterday, so if somebody invited me on a golf journey, I’d mess up and speak enterprise on the seventh gap. 

There are many conditions the place we concern being the “ugly American” who doesn’t know the native customs, however the issue can go the opposite approach as properly. Identical to the foreigner can assume the American is being impolite when the reality is that he merely doesn’t perceive the expectations, we will mistakenly assume somebody is being impolite after they don’t perceive our norms. 


  • By no means assume malice when ignorance is an effective sufficient rationalization. 
  • Earlier than you do one thing new, take a couple of minutes to be taught the principles, together with the social norms. 

It cuts the opposite approach as properly 

You don’t need to assume that individuals know issues , however it may be annoying in case you go too far the opposite approach. For instance, I just lately heard a vendor converse to an affiliation of publishers. These folks most likely know extra about subscriptions than anyone on the planet. The seller spent 5 minutes explaining what a subscription is. That may be annoying. 

In different phrases, when you don’t need to assume everybody is aware of what , you additionally don’t need to deal with educated, skilled individuals like novices. It may be a tough stability to strike, however in case you steadily remind your self about that pesky “curse of information,” you’ll do nice. 

Dig deeper: Utilizing psychology and higher knowledge practices to get clients nearer to buy

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Opinions expressed on this article are these of the visitor writer and never essentially MarTech. Employees authors are listed right here.

In regards to the writer

Greg Krehbiel

Greg’s decades-long profession in B2B and B2C publishing has included prolonged gigs in editorial, advertising and marketing, product growth, net growth, administration, and operations. He is an professional at bridging the mental and cultural divide between technical and artistic employees. Working as a marketing consultant, Greg solves know-how, technique, operations, and course of issues for publishers. His experience consists of Buyer Knowledge Platforms, acquisition and retention, ecommerce, RFPs, success, and venture administration. Be taught extra at

How ‘the curse of knowledge’ may be hurting your business and what to do about it