Known Unknowns & Unknown Unknowns

A couple of years ago, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was ridiculed for talking about known unknowns and unknown unknowns. While the phrase unknown unknowns was and is kind of unwieldy, it describes something that you actually need to consider when you’re trying to plan out your business strategy.

Known unknowns are things that you know that you don’t know. I do not, for instance, know how to make a paper crane. I am fully aware of my on ignorance in the matter, and so I can plan around it. If you don’t know how to set up a website, then knowing that you don’t know that is something you plan around.

Unknowns unknowns are pretty exactly what they sound like: things that you don’t know that you don’t know. This is actually kind of hard to describe, which is why Rumsfeld got hammered by the press. But it’s something that you need to consider and anticipate as best you can.

Let’s say that you’re unaware of the SEC rules about reviews. You don’t include the necessary legalese because you have no idea you should. This is a different sort of ignorance, because you can’t plan directly for it. Not knowing how to write good legalese is a known unknown, but not knowing you need it is an unknown unknown.

There is a couple of ways to combat unknown unknowns. The first step is to make yourself as familiar as possible with the things relevant to what you’re trying to do. If you’re trying to set up a PLR store, then you need to read as much as you can from multiple sources.

The second thing is to anticipate that you don’t know everything. Basically, the way to confront unknown unknowns is to be aware that they exist. This means that you need to keep a certain amount of flexibility in everything you do in internet marketing, because you don’t know everything!

Any thoughts on known unknowns and unknown unknowns? Feel free to leave a comment! Remember you can also get in touch with me via my Facebook page!

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