Before the era of computers, databases and, now, big data analytics, business intelligence was based on one’s gut instinct and the creative vision necessary to capitalize on it. 

A June 2012 Chicago Tribune article by Phil Rosenthal entitled“This Man Knew How to Size Up Consumers” highlights the 40+ year career of David Wallerstein to illustrate this point. Mr. Wallerstein, a friend of Mr. Rosenthal’s grandfather, was notorious for telling outrageous stories involving his influence with Walt Disney and Ray Kroc, among other notable entrepreneurs. After his death 20 years ago, friends discovered that he didn’t make it all up. His obituary backed up his stories; for instance, as a long-time operator of movie theaters, he was the man who introduced butter on popcorn, as well as ice in soft drinks. As a board member of McDonalds, he also convinced his friend Ray Kroc to add large size fries to McDonalds’ menu. Mr. Wallerstein was seen as a brilliant pitchman who relied on assimilating his creative instincts with his observations of consumers’ tastes and behaviors.

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