I’ve been stuck lately with a question that’s been coming up in my reading – the question of whether to (as the title suggests) exploit or explore, go deep or wide, narrow my focus or broaden it, whether to enhance my strengths or lift some of my weaknesses.
The answer I’ve come up with so far?
It depends on the task at hand, the job, the problem, the goal. Mindset is a tool, and the right tool for the job depends on the job.
I could persevere and double-down on what I do best. But do I want to be like Kodak and double-down just to lose out to digital cameras? Or like Blockbuster to Netflix?
MARGINAL COST VS. MARGINAL BENEFIT
Maybe the question comes down to, when should I quit? When should I try something else?
Microeconomics would respond by saying, when it’s no longer worth it to pursue the present decision. And how would I know when? When the marginal cost exceeds the marginal benefit.
MEANING AND SUBJECTIVITY
Measuring cost vs. benefit sound objective, but is it really? What’s the real cost of any decision?
The next-best decision, the one forgone, the opportunity cost. And how does one define “next-best”? Only the decision-maker knows what he finds meaningful.
What about risk vs. reward? Same. The risk in part depends on what the risk-taker believes are his other options and also depends on his level of sophistication at whatever he’s trying to decide.
WHAT ABOUT FOR ME? HOW DO I KNOW?
How badly do I want it?
What would it mean to achieve it?
What would it mean to pursue it, even if I never achieve it?
What really matters?
SUPPLY VS. DEMAND
It’s not enough for me to be passionate about something (supply). It has to also be valuable, both to me and to others (demand), especially if I want to live and succeed in a world in which other people matter to me and to whom I also want to matter.