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Or consult the retired soldier whose thin-slicing intuition can outwit the supercomputers of the US Armed Forces.

The great thing about thin-slicing, argues Gladwell, is that we can all do it, especially when it comes to thin-slicing each other.

Our conscious mind is the tip of the cognitive iceberg, and what we feel as intuition is really the result of unconscious rapid cognition, fast and frugal information processing that goes on subliminally.

So the obvious implication of thin-slicing is that you should trust your gut reaction when faced with a mountain of data. For experienced marketers with a proven track-record, this may indeed be the smart option.

However, Gladwell warns us that experience and expertise are preconditions to effective thin-slicing; untrained intuition leads to bad decisions based on prejudice, bias and stereotypes.

It grows toward the sky and toward the earth’s core.

Next time you see a tree, try to imagine the expansive network of roots underneath it. The divi-divi is native to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and northern parts of South America.

I’ve recently become a bit obsessed with how amazing trees are.

From a tiny seed grows a massive organism that feeds itself with water and nutrients from the earth, absorbs the energy of the sun directly, then provides food and shelter for many other organisms, including us.There’s a freely-available thin-slicing research tool at Harvard called the IAT (implicit association test) that measures consumer attitudes and feedback by getting them to thin-slice word and image combinations (overview below).Rather than ask for explicit feedback as you would in a survey (subject to a whole host of research biases such as self-censure and social-desirability biases), the IAT measures feedback implicitly and directly through the time it takes for consumers to complete thin-slicing tasks (researcher resources).When the tiny seed finds an acceptable environment, it grows.Think about how incredible this very common scenario is: a bird eats a seed from a tree, the seed travels with the bird, passing through its digestive tract, the bird diarrheas out the seed onto the ground, the seed grows into a giant tree and lives for sometimes hundreds or thousands of years, with hundreds or thousands of its own offspring growing into trees in a similar manner. What we see of a tree is often only half or less of the whole organism.An expert’s thin-slicing can be your marketing smarts.

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