If you read my last few posts about deciding what type of business to build, you’ve seen screenshots of the program I wrote to help me make better decisions – Decision Assistant.
Decision Assistant lets me enter in my options, the factors I want to use to rank the options, and then has me do some simple comparisons. It helps because we humans tend to make our decisions with our guts, and not critically. By using this program, it reduces the decision to a mathematical process and lets me come up with a result that isn’t as biased.
However, as I started using it for larger problems, with a larger number of options and factors, I’ve seen some inefficiencies.
For example, let’s say I want to decide which car to buy. I have 20 cars I’m considering, and one of the options I care about is price. Using the current version, I’m going to have to answer a huge number of questions about which is cheaper. First, it will ask about car 1 versus car 2. Then, car 1 versus car 3. Then, car 1 versus car 4. This will go on for quite a while – 190 times, in fact.
That’s a crazy number of questions.
The formula for the number of comparisons for a decision is:
((number of options * (number of options – 1)) / 2) * number of factors
That adds up quickly.
In a situation like this, I want to be able to enter the prices for the cars once, tell Decision Assistant that the lowest value is the preferred one, and let it automatically do the comparisons for me.
I could also do the same for questions where I can enter a number and say the preferred option will always be the higher value. Yes/No questions would also work – with the ability to prefer yes over no, or no over yes.
I see at least one other thing that may help reduce the number of comparisons needed to reach the ultimate decision.
So, I’m going to work on a new version of Decision Assistant, to use these improved methods.
I’ll update here when the new version is complete.