Did Apple bloggers REALLY predict the market?

Fortune is saying that amateurs beat the professionals in forecasting Apple revenue numbers.

Here’s what is confusing. Aren’t they just cherry picking the data? There are WAY more bloggers than just the 41 on this list.

Do these count? Were there no other bloggers that predicted Apple numbers?

Surely there must be at least hundreds of people predicting Apple’s Q1 2011 in the public and on blogs.

Also, like 5-6 of the bloggers on their list were from Apple Finance Board which is actually a public forum. There MUST be more predictions here.

I suspect that Fortune is simply throwing out predictions they either didn’t see or don’t match their prediction which is contributing to a significant selection bias.


In our ranking of the best and worst Apple (AAPL) analysts for Q1 2011, which lists them based on how accurately they predicted seven key numbers — revenue, earnings, gross margins and unit sales — the unaffiliated analysts (blue in the chart at right) took 9 out of the 10 top spots.

[From Apple’s blow-out quarter: The bloggers called it, the Street blew it – Apple 2.0 – Fortune Tech]


  1. Philip Elmer-DeWitt

    You’ve got several facts wrong here, Kevin. First of all, there were 10 bloggers on that list, not 41. We’ve been tracking some of these guys for two and a half years; I’ve added names as they have come to my attention, but haven’t thrown any out. If the professionals had failed to perform as well as the amateurs once or twice, that would be one thing. But how do you explain the fact that they’ve failed for 10 quarters in a row?

  2. Thanks Philip.

    It’s confusing as to what these are because some of these people are NOT bloggers isn’t that correct?

    They’re from the Apple Finance Board which is a forum not a blog…

    But perhaps that’s not important. One could just say “social media contributors” to include them.


    This isn’t actually my problem…

    The point I’m making is that surely there must be MORE than 41 people on the Internet projecting Apple’s Q1 2011 financial numbers.

    I think you have selection bias here…

  3. Philip Elmer-DeWitt

    Some of the folks on AFB are bloggers, some are not. What they have in common is that none of them are professional analysts. You are right that I am not scouring the Internet for every set of Apple estimates put out by an amateur. I am sticking to folks whom I have reason to believe know what they are doing.

    On the other hand, I am including every professional analyst whose numbers I can get my hands on — 31 in all this time around. These guys are pros, and I have reason to expect the to know what they are talking about.

    That they are consistently getting beaten by my 10 amateurs says something, don’t you think?

  4. Thanks Philip.

    “I am sticking to folks whom I have reason to believe know what they are doing.”

    This is where the selection bias comes in…

    I the ‘professionals’ had also blogged and you applied the same vigor their selection would the better selections rise to the surface?

    Also, your goal here is to compare amateur to professional is it not?

    If you exclude the vast number of the amateurs you’re not getting a clear comparison against amateur success vs professional success.

    I think what you’re trying to point out is that just because someone is ‘professional’ doesn’t mean they’re going to make the BEST decision.

%d bloggers like this: