Went to the Building of Basecamp seminar in Chicago this week and had a great time with all of the people of 37 Signals. More than simply a dry explanation of how they built Basecamp, I felt like the experience was more about how to create and sustain a small innovative company that succeeds for the right reasons. Also, perhaps unexpectedly, how to enjoy your work: both the act of working and the product of it. A question we've been tossing around at work recently is: "how do we make sure that, if this succeeds, we still want to work on it?" In other words, how do we build a company that we want to work at even if we don't necessarily have to? All these things, right now, are exactly the kind of stuff I'm interested in, being in a small company myself that plans to innovate and succeed for the right reasons, all while having fun. Looking forward to Jason Fried's visit at the end of his road trip. Meanwhile, I learned a lot more about Ruby on Rails that I'm looking forward to taking advantage of.
Quick pretend games. Let's say I have a 10-sided die.
*Game A:* I will roll the dice 10 times. You can choose to either have a 1 in 10 chance of getting $1,000 or a 5 in ten chance (or 1 in 2) of getting $10 each time the dice is rolled. You can only choose one of the odd/pay out combos for all 10 rolls. Which of the odds do you choose?
*Game B:* I will roll the dice 1 time. You have the same options between odds and pay outs. Which do you choose?
*Game C:* I will roll the dice 10 times (like in Game A), and the odds are the same, but this time you are choosing between 1 in 10 chance of $1,000,000,000, or $10,000,000. Which do you choose?
I made up these games because I am trying to understand how I act upon risk in different situations. When relatively small amounts of money are involved, I eagerly seek risk (for it could be exciting and have a much higher pay out than not seeking risk). When I only have a single chance though, I tend to be more conservative. Also, when the rewards are both "good enough" I am also okay with being more conservative.
So, as you can probably guess, this is how I answered: Game A, I chose the first option; Game B, I chose the second option; and Game C, I chose the second option again.