Seller and Buyer Signals

Often we learn from the website of some consultancy claims like this: "We have over 150 years of combined experience in..." Analogous to this type of claim we have those in the multi-channel audio amplifiers market that read: "150 Watts Total Power."

The idea behind such claims is that the consultancy has, let us say, 8 employees with 20 years of experience each, and the amplifier pumps 30 Watts in each one of its 5 channels. In both cases, the customer gets more than anyone's 20 years worth of experience, and 30 Watts coming from any single speaker, respectively. The problem with such claims is that neither work experience nor the channel power in amplifiers is an additive function--generally speaking, f is an additive function if for every two real x1 and x2, f(x1 + x2) = f(x1) + f(x2). In other words, nobody gets the arithmetic sum of all parts as advertised.

When it comes about people's experience, it could be redundant, irrelevant, and almost never a linear function. I, for one, would so much more welcome the advice from 5 people with 30 years of experience each than from 50 people with only 3 years. As for amplifiers, I'll take anytime a 75 Watt stereo amplifier (75 Watts per each channel) over a 5 channel-30 Watt one.

"150 years of combined experience" shows lack of intellectual rigor, whereas "150 Watts Total Power" shows unethical behavior, of those who want to sell that service, and amplifier, respectively. To me, the first type of claim is a signal about sellers and the second about buyers.

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