The logical error of concentrating on people or things that ‘survived’ a process and inadvertently overlooking those that did not because of their lack of visibility.
Example: “…people who are lionized on magazine covers for saying no to a billion-dollar acquisition offer and taking it to $20 billion. You don’t hear about the losers, because the story isn’t as interesting. It’s not going to sell as many copies.” — Tim Ferriss
Another example comes from Michael Shermer’s article How the Survivor Bias Distorts Reality, in Scientific American. Here’s an email Shermer received from David Cowan of Bessemer Venture Partners:
“For garage-dwelling entrepreneurs to crack the 1% wealth threshold in America, their path almost always involves raising venture capital and then getting their start-up to an initial public offering (IPO) or a large acquisition by another company. If their garage is situated in Silicon Valley, they might get to pitch as many as 15 VCs [Venture Capitalists], but VCs hear 200 pitches for every one we fund, so perhaps 1 in 13 start-ups get VC, and still they face long odds from there. According to figures that the National Venture Capital Association diligently collects through primary research and publishes on their Web site, last year was somewhat typical in that 1,334 start-ups got funded, but only 13% as many achieved an IPO (81 last year) or an acquisition large enough to warrant a public disclosure of the price (95 last year). So for every wealthy start-up founder, there are 100 other entrepreneurs who end up with only a cluttered garage.” — David Cowan
Wisdom: “Ability is of little account without opportunity.” ― Napoléon Bonaparte