Reading the signs

While we’re talking about leading indicators, there’s the Iraqi “fixer’s” story on Fresh Air (August 9) about knowing when a car bomb will explode.

Ayub Nuri solved reporters’ everyday logistical problems and helped conduct interviews with local sources. He was the insider.

One afternoon his car was ordered into an area he knew was seething. He put on his helmet and flak jacket and tried to make the driver go elsewhere. But the driver followed orders, and within a few minutes Nuri noticed neighbors fleeing. After a few more minutes, the bomb went off, not far from where he’d just stood.

He was lucky, of course, but the lesson is about knowing the territory intimately and reading the signs.

In small businesses, the boss’s guts or other body part is the dashboard. An alert owner of a mom’n’pop grocery is almost clairvoyant about the rate that eggs are selling at any particular hour, for example.

Shouldn’t that level of intensity and subtlety be the standard for electronic dashboards?

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