Nate Meyvis

Viewquake: Decisionmaking is overrated

Patrick Collison said this on the Tim Ferriss Show. His justification is that having a stream of high-quality options matters much more, as does being able to correct mistakes and incorporate those new high-quality options quickly.

A similar idea arises in Talent: Cowen and Gross emphasize that the way to make good hires is to have a stream of great candidates.

Other notes on the subject:

  1. Back in my poker-forum days, savvy people liked to point out that the closest decisions mattered the least. (If the expected values of A and B are so close, you're not doing much better or worse by choosing the better one.)
  2. Hiring (and other) decisions are very hard (see also the literature on NFL drafting that Cowen and Gross cite). The harder you think they are, the more you should emphasize cultivation over decisionmaking: good cultivation is more robust against human fallibility than decisionmaking is.
  3. This is relevant to personal-management decisions, too. I've written that that even if your best outputs are what really matter, it's better to try to (i) avoid zero-productivity "work" and (ii) cultivate lots of energy and lots of output. ("Trading down in the draft" for productivity.)
  4. I'm struck by how many successful companies emphasize speed and quantity of output.

Published 2022-05-31.