Inferential Focus

Inferential Focus

Inferential Focus, Inc. is a New York City based consultancy offering corporate, institutional investor, private equity, and government clients business intelligence and change-detection services using a process known as Inference Reading. Charles Hess is the President and one of the co-founders of the firm. The firm could be considered a think tank, and in the 1980s was frequently referred to as "The CEO's CIA", a reference to the firm's role in gathering intelligence for corporate and investor decision-makers.

The firm's intelligence gathering techniques rely heavily on research into the two hemisphere's of the brain conducted by Nobel Prize winner Roger Sperry. The firm's application of its intelligence into the decision-making processes of its clients utilizes the decision-making model of Nobel Prize winner Herbert Simon.

History and books

Inferential Focus was founded in 1980 by business partners Charles Hess and Bennett W. Goodspeed, Sr. Goodspeed, who died in 1983 was best known for his investing treatise "The Tao Jones Averages", which was a guide to "whole-brained" investing, as contrasted to the number-based analytical "left-brained" investing that remains mainstream. They were joined by Joseph W. Kelly Jr.

Other principals during the companies earlier years included Carol Coleman, a securities analyst, and Kenneth Hey, a Ph.D. in American Studies who was also a film producer, and Peter Moore, the firm's marketing specialist. Hey remains the head writer of the firm's primary intelligence publication, the Inferential Focus "Briefing".

Hey and Moore authored "The Caterpillar Doesn't Know: How Personal Change is Creating Organizational Change" in 1998.

Inference Reading

Inferential Focus' main business is to deliver intelligence and "change-detection" to its clients, and to identify the likely implications of those changes. To do this, they employ a trademarked technique called Inference Reading. This process is analogous to the medical practice doctors are trained with; Inferential Focus looks for the "symptoms" of a change (facts and anomalies gleaned from their large reading list) and by putting the symptoms together "diagnosing" (or inferring) a big-picture view of a change taking place in politics, the economy, society, technology, and culture.

Inferential Focus' managing partners and the firm's associates or "Inference Readers" combined read between 200 and 300 diverse publications and online new sources including national and international news; magazines and trade journals; regional, national and international newspapers; and publications distributed daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly. Inference Readers do not specialize in any one area, but rather intentionally read across various sectors and regions to get a wide view of what is taking place in the world.

Inference Readers eliminate all bias from what they read, such as the writer's opinion, expert opinion quoted by the writer, polls, surveys, and any other unverifiable facts.

Inference Readers meet every 2-3 weeks to discuss events and anomalies from their reading that deserve attention. The readers attempt to relate seemingly unrelated data to create a holistic view of a change that is taking place. Using a "3-5 rule", only changes that are supported by 3-5 pieces of evidence are then reported to clients.

Similar processes have been used in the 1980s by securities managers of large insurance firms in Hartford, Ct. and by the Williams Inference Service.


* "Inferential Focus links little clues, big bucks" "The New York Post", April 29, 1985
* "Using intuition in board room - Firm's 'whole-brain' approach helps glean tidits and trends. "The San Francisco Examiner", September 16, 1985
* "Want to Be a Sleuth? Try Inference Reading" by Joyce Lain Kennedy, "Chicago Sun Times", June 12, 1985
* "Crystal Ball Worth a Fortune to Customers" by Brooke Southall, "InvestmentNews", November 12, 2001.

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