13 Professionals Share Surprising Facts From Inside Their Industries

Learning how the sausage gets made (literally or figuratively) can be a disturbing experience.

From health care to finance, every industry has hidden facts and processes that would shock the rest of the world. A bunch of professionals shared their most surprising insights in a thread on Quora.

Pretty much all political signs are fake.

'When you see 'handmade' signs at a political event, they're almost never handmade by the person who's holding them. Someone handmade them -- probably an intern or junior member of the event team -- but it wasn't the guy (or more accurately, the female visible minority or young person) holding the sign. Similarly, it's not just a coincidence that the messaging on the sign matches what's in the speech. Standard practice is to allow no signs of any type through the doors into an event venue, and then either have a table where people can pick up signs, or have event staff distribute them to strategically-placed guests.'

Source: Top rated comment on Quora.

Nursing homes can't make patients do anything.

'For instance, your loved one comes to us after a few days in the hospital being treated for a UTI, and she's a bit ga-ga (elders who get UTIs generally have a few cognition issues from all the toxins in their bloodstream) and keeps trying to get out of bed herself but is weak, so she falls and gets bumped and bruised. 'Can't you put siderails on the bed so she can't get out?' No, and think about it: If she climbs over the siderail anyway, now she falls from a higher height, and can get caught in the siderails and break bones, too. Bad idea. 'Well can't you tie a sheet across her so she can't get up?' No, that would be what's called a 'restraint', and we cannot restrain people. 'So you just let her fall?!' What we can do is lower her bed to the floor, place mats on either side, and yes, let her do as she pleases. Of course, her rising from floor level to a standing position is very unlikely, so she's safer than any of your other suggestions.'

Source: Jae Starr on Quora.

Most mines are much cleaner and safer than you realise.

'Down in 1.5km main level, everything's well lit, the walls are white, there are offices, repair and part shops, restaurant, sauna and even a cell 'tower,' so your mobile phone works down there. Everything is done with big machines that have soundproof and air conditioned cabins, with MP3 players etc. The machines can also be operated remotely or even operate completely independently, by themselves.'

Note: Coal mines are typically worse.

Source: Mikko Tikkanen on Quora.

Investment bankers have very limited knowledge.

''Investment' banking has little to do with investments. Your primary job is to advise corporations on equity/debt issuance and mergers & acquisitions. Heck, that's not even true, you are really a 'salesman', and your primary job is to maintain a relationship with corporations and convince them to hire you on financing and M&A activities ... Being a banker from Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley (or any bulge bracket bank) doesn't mean you know what's really going on in the markets or finance. You are just a cog in the wheel.'

Source: Henry Wong on Quora.

Corporate giants often make decisions based on whim.

'I used to work at a top 2 food & beverage company in the U.S. as a brand manager. While there I was a part of or observed: National multi-million dollar product launches performed because 'it worked in another country'; Legal decisions on product names, flavours, nutrition data etc. made by whoever you can find -- if the first lawyer doesn't give you the answer you want, go find another; National marketing decisions made by people in engineering, sales, etc.; National engineering decisions (including purchases in the plant, what lines to run, when to have overtime, etc.) made by people in marketing.'

Source: Highly rated comment on Quora.

Credit score reveals everything.

'I worked as a statistician in the insurance industry for a few years. Most people are shocked when I tell them that your credit score is BY FAR the most predictive of car insurance claims (i.e., people with lower scores tend to have more accidents). 'BY FAR' is an understatement ... really no other variable compares in terms of predictive power.'

Source: John Taveras on Quora.

Food in fast-food advertising isn't really faked.

'Everyone thinks the burgers shown on TV commercials must be constructed by a food stylist or chef, but the fact of the matter is that food advertising is subject to many regulations. The meal must be prepared from actual store stock (from the frozen patty to the bun to the seasonings). On a shoot, stylists would receive tons of product, which they would pore through to find the best-looking raw material. The food must be cooked and assembled by an actual store employee. Seriously, they'll bring in some kid who works the fry station to make the food for the shoot, because they have to.'

Source: Caroline Zelonka on Quora.

Black boxes aren't really black.

'It makes sense; you want to find this box amongst what will usually be charred wreckage.

Source: Tracey Bryan on Quora.


Not everything at the hospital gets cleaned.

'Some instrumentation is so complex that it is not taken apart and properly cleaned between patients. For example, instruments for total hip or knee replacement can get quite loaded with debris during surgery, but they are so complex that the folks responsible for cleaning and sterilizing them have no idea how they are used. As a result, they have no idea how to take them apart and clean them thoroughly. This results in lots of debris (deep inside the complex instruments) being left behind, and used again on future patients. Over time, this lack of proper cleaning builds up and can be quite gross and shocking.'

Source: Aaron Cloward on Quora

High-frequency trading is really simple.

'The algorithms that keep our markets stable aren't quite the exotically advanced machine learning techniques many believe they are. The strategies employed by the most advanced HFT firms are shockingly simple in terms of Maths or Stats: think exponential moving averages, with a handful of if statements and safety checks. If someone claims they're running some crazy-advanced Simulated Annealing, they're blowing smoke up your arse.'

Source: Matthew Kolbe on Quora

Most personal trainers don't know squat.

'A very large % of personal trainers are really poor/not very knowledgeable. There are 7 nationally accredited personal training certifications that one can obtain. Some of these certifications are easier to obtain than others. In regards to those, an Ivy-League calibre student that does not even have a relevant major towards health/fitness/biology can likely pass one of these exams with just one week or less of intense studying ... For several large chain gyms, the orientation or training program that new personal trainers receive consists of nearly 80%-90% sales tactics with very little devoted to on-the-job performance.'

Source: Anonymous on Quora

All software has tons of bugs.

'Every release has had hundreds of known bugs (as in, we knew about them before we shipped), and probably another hundred unknown bugs (as in, our customers will discover them after we ship)...If you have 100 bugs that only affect 1 customer in 100, you have a product that is eventually going to annoy 100% of your customers at some point. That makes me sad. But at the same time, I also have no doubt that if we took a year off and fixed a ton of those rarely-encountered bugs, we'd lose market share to a competitor who shipped more cool new features than we did that year. Or maybe even to a competitor who just improved their performance more than we did that year. Software is hard to get right.'

Source: Highly-rated comment on Quora

Film crews spend most of the time doing nothing.

'While a film set is a very busy place, most of the crew spend more than 50% of their time waiting around, doing nothing. Most scenes take place in smallish rooms, so each department must wait for the previous department to finish before they can do their job, i.e. while the art department is dressing the set, the grip and electrics department are waiting to set up lights, and after them comes the camera department, the director and the actors for rehearsal, and usually the art department again to fix whatever the other departments messed up. The sound team is just kind of expected to sneak in there whenever they can. For some reason, no one really likes the sound department.'

Source: Aladdin Steiman-Cameron on Quora

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