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It is amazing sometimes that some people are so wedded to a decision that despite things going horribly wrong will continue to rationalize why it is still right. It’s sort of a corollary to that insanity theory, if you will. We see this in software all the time; there is a much more obvious solution and people continue to want to double down on the infrastructure or processes they have. They are the inverse of Crossing the Chasm — they are not the early adopters — they are the hangers on.

Dan McCreary, Author and NoSQL expert, took some time to dissect what he calls Selectivity Bias, the stupendously bad rationals of why RDBMS is given the nod over the more flexible document-centric data store. And while it is easy to blame the rationalizers, as we learn from Jonah Lehrer’s book How We Decide, the reality is that rational decisions (not rationalizations) are impacted by the emotional side of our brain. Sometimes that is great – and sometimes it is not. “Whenever a someone makes a decision the brain is awash with feeling, driven by its inexplicable passion.”

I would argue that where there are rationalizations there are managers or a business environment that is encouraging it. Individuals are Pavlovian — if they are beaten for making bad decisions — they will take no new chances.

Next up: 10 signs your architecture is flawed.

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