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The goal of companies is to make money. However, to make lots of money (even in the long term) you do not need to sell the best product. You need to sell the product that people want to buy the most. This is a huge distinction. For example, McDonald's sells one of the worst food in the world which already has been proved in every way possible (e.g. “Super Size Me”). McDonald's food literally kills people. However, they became a multi-billionaire company and continue to open stores all over the world. Today, the value of all of McDonald's properties is greater than that of the Catholic Church (Kiyosaki, 2011). Many times, the “best” companies are the ones that offer one of the worst products but know how to play with people’s irrationality, like shaping people's perceptions (Stiglitz, 2012).
Richard Thaler, who won a Nobel Prize by applying psychology to mainstream economics, says that companies need to offer simple products, much like politicians. Candidates who make complex arguments based on statistical analysis often find themselves at trouble (Thaler and Sunstein, 2008). During the 2016 campaign, for example, Hillary Clinton spent millions of dollars gathering and publishing detailed data and statistical analysis on her campaign website. Trump, on the other hand, had an extremely simple and catchy slogan who everybody knows: “Make America Great Again.” Who remembers Hillary Clinton's slogan?
Another Nobel Laureate, Daniel Kahneman, explains why complex (but correct) arguments are often less successful than simple (and wrong) arguments. Humans have two kinds of thinking, System 1 and System 2. System 1 is automatic, fast, and instinctive and does not comprise what most consider “thinking.” System 2 is reflective, slow, and rational (Kahneman, 2011). When voting or investing most individuals use mostly system 1. As evidence of that, top research has shown that we can predict with scary precision who will win a congressional election simply by asking individuals to quickly look at photos of candidates and tell which one looks more competent (Toderov et al., 2005; Benjamin and Shapiro, 2007).
Similarly, academics know since the 60s that mutual and hedge funds are horrible investments (Jensen, 1968), but people continue investing with professional fund managers trying to buy stocks at a "low" price and sell at a "high" price. Additionally, some even say, “if mutual and hedge funds are so bad, how can they make so much money?” The answer is, they make a lot of money because they sell a lot of products, not because their products are any good. On average, fund managers are very bad investors, if anything, they are great marketers. The goal of a business is to make money, and not to tell you the truth (like McDonald’s). Other highly successful companies with horrible products can be found in many other industries, such as the cigarette and climate change sectors. If a product sells better than the other - even if it is worse - the company will always prefer the bad product that sells vs. the good product that does not. If you are looking for the truth (i.e. good products), you should look for top academic studies and not businesses. The fact that a company is successful provides little evidence that its products are better than a less successful company.