Human nature is to be distracted by the bright and shiny. Nothing points this up like earnings season.
To wit: Apple and IBM announced earnings earlier this week. Our traffic spiked dramatically on their reports (more so Apple) and there ensued a plethora of comments (here and elsewhere) about what the results said about the tech world and the economy in general.
Contrast that to Caterpillar and UPS, which released earnings this morning. Our readers kind of yawned in comparison. Nevertheless, some would argue that Caterpillar and UPS are more important bellwethers of business and speak to the real guts of the economic world.
It's similar to the attention gap between video games and movies. A video game these days can reap over $200 million in a day. That gets some mild interest. Yet readers go ga-ga over coverage of a movie with a marginal weekend box office return.
It may be a case of more people being more familiar with movies than games. And more people interested in bright and shiny iPods than dull and dirty tractors. Still, it's more likely tractors are going to signal if we're digging out of the economic rubble.