Not in my opinion.
Many in the web analytics and business optimization space will tell you to measure everything, never guess or rely on intuition. In some cases it’s like religion, “Though Shalt Not Guess!”, however I don’t think there is anything wrong with using your intuition, your experience and yes dare I say it take a chance on something working that you have no idea will work.
It’s like life. You have to take risks in order to get anywhere.
Next year I turn 40.
One of the things I learned when I was 30 is that grown ups guess all the time. No-one has a clue what they’re doing really. Parents for instance (the new ones) have told me the feeling of complete panic when they have no idea why Junior is crying. After a few experiences however they learn to deal with it and figure out it’s usually one of a few things that pisses the little one off. It’s usually one of a few tactics that will stop said little one wailing.
Managing directors and CEOs usually have a plan that relies on them making very good decisions but they are in the position they’re in because the majority of those decisions are based on their experience and their ability to weigh up the risk/reward equation. However they are essentially playing it by ear as well and learning as they go.
Personally I follow my gut all the time. When I left a relatively high paying job to become an entrepreneur again 18 months ago, I didn’t have much in the way of solid facts and figures to rely on. I had a good idea of the market size and was betting that I could assemble a good team to tap into that market but I was taking a calculated risk (again!).
So I don’t believe it’s wrong to follow your gut. I do however believe we should use analytics to improve our understanding and make better guesses in the future. I do believe that data is an important part of understanding what the big picture is. What I find myself doing is trying to prove whether my gut feeling was right or wrong. If I’m right – hunky dory! If I’m wrong, learn, adjust, re-evaluate, move on.