Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How To Make a Decision

How do you make a life-altering decision? Maybe you weigh the pros and cons. Write a list and see which column has more. Talk to your family and friends and get their opinions? Or maybe you just throw the choices in a hat.

Would you let strangers make the decision for you? 

That's what Mike Merrill is doing. He sells stock in himself and then has those stockholders vote on every decision he makes. The decisions range from whether he should wear only Brooks Brothers shirts to whether he should break up with his girlfriend.

I always applaud creative and unique ideas, especially ones that are geared towards building a business. Merrill says he does it to to keep himself accountable. He just has to hope that all these people have his best interests at heart. But I suppose that's the idea. By getting people to risk money, they have a vested interest in seeing him succeed. It is arguably a good way to force him to take classes or perform other tasks to advance a career that he might not otherwise do.

It seems most people would love to buy into this strategy. This way we get to tell someone else what to do. And isn't it easier to make decisions for someone else? It's the do what I say, not what I do thing.

So what decisions would the world make for me? It's amazing to think about my life and how one decision could have changed everything. Would I have a different job? Live in a different city? Be the world's most successful rock star? 

The problem will come down to free will for Mr. Merrill. There will come a point when he is told to do something that he doesn't want to do by his stockholders. It might be something unethical or something that is totally rational that interferes with our irrational feelings, like love. The interests of a group of people in increasing the value of their investment will conflict with the interests of an individual who is looking to enjoy his life.

And then, he will have to make his own decisions.  

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