Tag Archives: decision framing

Comparing your inside to other people’s outside

I was just listening to Minnie Ingersol on Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders and all of a sudden two dots connected for me……Neither is revolutionary on their own, but recognizing the similarities of the two is at least new to me.

The first is facebook. I’m not much of a facebooker. Not merely because it feels to me more like personal marketing than genuine connection, but also because I much prefer the complex ideas and thoughts that my friends have.

Perhaps I am missing a sensitivity gene, but I don’t care about seeing my friends with their kids at the beach. I would love to hear about the wonder in their child’s eyes when she first played in the waves, but fbook is not so good with that type of subtlety.

So, what I get instead is a glossed up picture of their outside, with almost no insight into their messy interesting inside.

The second “dot” in this story is your current job vs. your possible next one. We are all aware of the messy inside at our current place of work including both its joys and its frustrations. Just as with any relationship, over time the challenging parts begin to grind on us more and more.

In contrast, when we go to interview, we read the new firm’s website, we read about them in the news, and we talk to their interviewers. Everything is very glossed up and exciting. We imagine a world without messiness where we can completely spread our wings.  Of course, we seek out the dirt too via our connections, glassdoor, twitter, wherever, but summarized dirt is not internalized in the same way as living it and feeling it.

In both cases we are comparing our own messy inside with someone else’s glossy outside. We should be careful about luring ourselves into thinking we are making an apples to apples comparison when we really are not.


Book Review – Nudge

This book covers an approach with which I agree : Paternalistic Libertarianism.  Two big words that mean everyone should have the right to make choices for themselves, but that the system should be set-up to subtly encourage choices that we, as the decision framers, believe are in the decision-makers’ best interest and the best interest of the larger population.

I think Libertarian ideals are great, but game theory tells us that when we are left to each fend for ourselves, we do not always end up with an optimal solution that creates the most total utility.  In situations where there is a history of people making choices that are sub-optimal, a paternalistic nudge can be for the individual and overall good.

However, problems start to arise when you think about who should be the framer of these paternalistic decision choices.  Do they have motives beyond the common good?  Do they measure common good in different ways than we do?  While nudging is certainly better than legislating against something (from a Libertarian point of view), it may not match with our own personal definition of “good”.

This book, like so many business books, would have been much better as a long magazine article.  It gets quite repetitive.  I feel that the authors could have traded out some of the endless examples for more space to help potential framers think through how to best approach setting up a nudge.

Though I skimmed it at parts, all in all, I thought it was an interesting read.  What I learned will hopefully inform my approach next time I am faced with framing a decision for others.

Please share if you have ever experienced or set-up a nudge and what you felt about the experience.