“Nothing is so powerful as an insight into human nature . . . what compulsions drive a man, what instincts dominate his action . . . if you know these things about a man you can touch him at the core of his being.” -Bill Bernbach

One cannot simply ask Siri for insights…I mean it is possible, but she typically responds by saying, “I have never really thought about it.” While this response would never help anyone looking for a true insight, it helped me understand even more clearly what differentiates an insight from a fact. Insights are not one click away like facts are. As Chris Kocek states in his book, The Practical Pocket Guide to Account Planning, “Contrary to popular belief, there is not a mythical tree inside our offices from which we pluck insights on a daily basis.” (27) I know, what a bummer, I was hoping the infamous insight tree was real too. Look on the bright side though, insights can come from ANYWHERE.

Before I get ahead of myself, let me just break down the differences between facts and insights. (We will discuss insights and their origins in further detail in a later blog post.)


Fact: A thing that is indisputably the case.


Insight: A deep understanding of a person or thing.

An insight is EVERYTHING ELSE- The reasoning behind the fact/statement. 

Umar Ghumman posted an interesting presentation on SlideShare. On slide 8, Umar gives an example of both a fact and an insight to attempt to differentiate the two.

Fact: People tend to feed their pets twice a day.

Observation: They tend to feed them at breakfast and dinner time.

Insight: People feel guilty eating in front of their pets.

As you can see from this example, the insight is the thought-process behind the fact. People tend to feed their pets twice a day (breakfast and lunch) because they feel guilty eating in front of them (and most people are eating lunch at work).

You can look at it in another way:

Knowledge vs. Wisdom. 

There are a million quotes that I can use to describe the difference between knowledge and wisdom, but this one is my favorite–unfortunately I cannot find the original source.

“Knowledge is knowing facts, wisdom is knowing what to do with the facts you know.”

Here are a few more examples of facts and insights:

  • Fact: Sedona, Arizona is the only town with the “Turquoise Arches”. The McDonalds in Sedona has Turquoise labeling.
    • Insight: The Town of Sedona felt that the typical yellow arches would ruin the natural beauty of the location/clash with the natural red rock of the city.
  • Fact: Warby Parker sells glasses (both sunnies and optical).
    • In world flooded with big name frame manufacturers, they had to do something different. They looked at the industry (and probably the TOMs concept) and decided to give a pair away for every pair sold. They realized giving back was important to their customer base.
      • I own 2 pairs of Warby’s. Why? I love the fact that I can take a typical visit to a store I enjoy and turn it into something more meaningful.
  • Fact: Before going with Blue Devils, Duke considered the nicknames Blue Eagles, Royal Blazes, Blue Warriors and Polar Bears.
    • Insight: The TarHeels > The Blue Devils. (Alright this one is not the best example, but I think you get the picture)




Insight Tree