Revisiting predictions: Google and Avatar

In September 2007 I predicted that “Google [will buy] a TV ad for Google.com aimed at mass consumers”… before September 2008. I only missed it by a year and a half.

In December, before Avatar was released and while some still thought it more likely to sink than swim, Slate journalist Josh Levin asked us to predict its opening weekend box office earnings using our models. We projected between $65 and $84 million. The actual number? $77 million.

Confession: In this post I am guilty of exactly the sins I’ve complained about in the past: cherry picking positive outcomes in hindsight, and measuring probabilistic predictions categorically and in isolation. Oops.

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