Why Do People Not Hold Others Accountable for Forecast Error?

Executive Summary

  • A major issue with forecast error is the lack of interest in measuring individuals.
  • We cover an instance of why this is.


The problem with not holding people accountable for forecast error is proliferated both in companies and in societies. This article shows an example of this general distain for holding people accountable for forecasting error or accuracy.

Our References for This Article

If you want to see our references for this article and related Brightwork articles, visit this link.

Bill Ackman on the Stock Price of Hilton Going to Zero Under Conditions of Lock Down

The following was published on March 2020.

My first comment on YouTube was as follows.

Hilton is now at $100 per share 10 months later. That is not zero. Ok?

This is measuring what Bill Ackman said. However, a commenter disagreed with this assessment and this was their comment in response.

he said he bought aggressively at 55… did you fall asleep mid video?

Notice that this comment tries to change the topic to when Ackerman said he bought. However, that was not the forecast. This is a pivot from the topic of Ackman’s forecast. So I replied.

You mean the part where he said Hilton was going to zero?

Here I am trying to redirect the topic of Ackman’s forecast. This is his response.

you want me to transcribe it for you? he said if the situation is handled incorrectly and the country doesn’t shut down for 30 days. “I am buying everything in my portfolio aggressively”

does that sound like a man who had no faith in hilton? lol he made a profit and you could’ve too had you listened. i made mine in wynn (among hotels), but same difference.

people on the internet argue like they are in lonely, bored pain. cant be healthy

Now notice how he again pivots to what Ackman says he is doing. I address this later on in the article. However, notice how the responses are filled with insults. The insults are a type of pivot, to change the topic away from Ackman’s forecast.

This is my response.

No. I don’t want you to transcribe it, because your listening ability is most likely much lower than mine. He stated that “if we allow this to continue as we allow it to continue then every hotel company in the world is done.”

So, we did allow it to continue. We shut down. This is Ackman trying to prop up his investments because he obviously wants them to go up. So he created an exaggerated forecast (going to zero) in order to make the case to not shut down. I don’t agree with what we did with — that is the shutdown — however, that is independent of his forecast.

One of the first rules of forecasting is whether the forecasting individual has a forecasting bias. Ackman did. So he produced a false forecast so his investment would be protected.

As I said, we did shut down, but Hilton did not go to zero. Therefore his forecast was highly inaccurate.

Your attempt to divert attention from his false and financially biased forecast is not working. And you personally attacking me is not going to change that fact. Note, when you start personally attacking that means you lack an argument or evidence.

This is his response.

you’re listening comprehension is literally 0. the man said he’s putting money into his investments. meaning he didn’t think they were going to 0. that’s all the evidence anyone would ever need if they weren’t as emotionally invested into the situation as you are. stop typing so much.

This is my response.

No — that is not what it means. And how do you know that?

First — you have not contradicted what I said. The US did shut down, and Hilton did not go to zero. As you will lose that argument — which is the core of the discussion, you want to move away from it. This is called a pivot. A personal attack is a pivot. Secondly, the accuracy of your statements is now an issue. If my listening comprehension is zero, how was I able to understand anything that Ackman said? The answer is I wouldn’t. That tells me you are willing to make false statements for argumentative effect. As in “the GDP of Bolivia is literally zero.” When it is low, not zero. Thirdly on this point, there is another problem with what you said. You don’t have to use the term literally. You are misusing the term. Zero is defined as a word, literally would mean it is not figurative or in a metaphorical sense. But you could not mean figuratively zero. That is, there is no metaphorical zero.

And not addressing the core issue is another pivot, as is my evidence of free emotional investment in my interpretation of what Ackman said. As I have proven Hilton did not do what he said under the conditions of lockdown, how am I invested emotionally if the core of my statement is correct?

How much I am writing is yet another pivot. The more I explain myself, the worse it looks for you, which is why you want me to cut down on my writing. I am also able to not only capitalize my sentences but write much more articulately and accurately than you are. Hence you want me to stop. I assume the next problem you will want to talk about is my hairstyle or something else that has nothing to do with the topic where you are losing the argument. Let’s observe the personal attacks so far.

1. I am emotionally invested in the interpretation of Ackman’s statements.
2. My listening comprehension is “literally” zero.
3. I write too much.

That is only a few interactions. Who knows how many critiques I would receive in one hour of interaction?

As for his comment about investing more in his current investments, how do you know he is putting money into his investments at the time of recording? Just because he says he is? The only evidence I need is to listen to everything Ackman says and presume it must be true? Remember, he appeared on the program to “pump up” the value of what he had already invested in. Why else do you think he is on this show — to help inform the general public? Why would he say he is liquidating his position even if he were? So you are wrong again here. And recall that is not the question. The question is whether if the government shut down, Hilton would go to zero. The US and many other countries did, and Hilton is not zero. You are pivoting away from the test of Ackman’s forecast accuracy.

Then this is his response.

jesus christ dude get a life im actually not reading that

My Analysis

This commenter was doing everything in his power to try to steer the conversation away from the topic of Ackman’s inaccurate forecast and onto me or on to things that Ackman said he was doing. Ackman is a well-known figure, and it is unclear whether this commenter generally liked Ackman and whether he felt a need to defend his inaccurate forecast — in this case at least.


What is curious is that not only are those that make the inaccurate forecast not questioned, but it is more common for the person pointing out the inaccuracy to be confronted as is illustrated in the above-presented example.