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LET’S TALK ABOUT
DECISION MAKING
INDUS KHAITAN
ENTREPRENEUR-AT-LARGE
1
QUICK BIO
• Two startups
• One seed fund
• Lots of working and defunct software codehttp://khaitan.org
@1ndus on twitter
2
GOOD (& BAD) DECISIONS I’VE MADE AT
3
”
“ A conclusion or resolution
reached after consideration.
- Dictionary.com’s definition of Decision
4
WHY LEARN TO MAKE
SMART DECISIONS?
• All the information is out there for everybody
to learn
• Skills of humans have gone up
• Everything equal, decisions differentiate
success from failure
5
RULE OF TWO
• The person with the fewest blind-spots wins
• Don’t aspire to be a problem solver. Avoid the
problems by making better decisions
6
ANALYSIS VS. PROCESS
Widespread Belief that analysis reduces biases
Imagine a big decision made by your boss,
organization – How would you rate the quality?
Analysis is a good start to remove bias
Process ensures objectivity in analysis
7
HOW DO WE MAKE BAD
DECISIONS?
• We fool ourselves
• We are not ready
• We don’t gather information
• We get engulfed by four villains of decision
making
8
What are the popular examples of bad decisions?
9
THE FOUR VILLAINS OF BAD
DECISIONS
Narrow Framing
Confirmation Bias
Emotional rollercoaster
Overconfidence
10
Wrap
✔Widen Your Options
✔Reality Test Your Assumptions
✔Attain Distance Before Deciding
✔Prepare to Be Wrong
The Villains
➤To overcome narrow framing
➤To overcome confirmation bias
➤To overcome emotions
➤To overcome overconfidence
11
TAMING THE VILLAINS USING “WRAP”
HOW TO MAKE SMART
DECISIONS
• Figure out how the world works
• Use frameworks and toolbox such as Mental
Models
• Ditch biases
• Debug using a decision journal
12
”
“ What the pupil must learn, if he learns anything at all, is that
the world will do most of the work for you, provided you
cooperate with it by identifying how it really works and
aligning with those realities. If we do not let the world teach
us, it teaches us a lesson.”
Joseph Tussman, UC Berkeley Department of Philosophy
13
LEARN HOW THE
WORLD WORKS
• Rules the Universe plays by (Physics and
Math)
• Rules life on Earth plays by (Biology)
• Rules humans have played by (History)
14
LAWS OF PHYSICS AND
MATH
• Velocity does not equal Speed
• Reciprocity
• Multiplication by Zero
• Relativity
• Leverage
• Randomness
• Compounding
15
LESSONS FROM
BIOLOGICAL HISTORY
• Life is Competition
• Life is Selection
• Life must Breed
16
LESSONS FROM HUMAN
HISTORY
Human behavior has changed, but not human nature
Ideas are the strongest things and shape future generations
Fragile relationships break, but strong win-win is super glued
Lack of adaptiveness to change is a losing strategy
17
DITCH BIASES
• Availability bias – “Recall the recent, frequent
and important.”
• First conclusion bias – “First idea gets in and
then the mind shuts.”
• Hindsight bias – “I told you so. Knew-it-all-
along.”
• Confirmation bias – “Reassurance, rather than
new fact gathering.”
18
MENTAL MODELS
• Framework for understanding how the world
works
• Toolbox for making decisions
19
TOP FIVE MENTAL
MODELS
• Inversion – “Just tell me how I’m going to die
so that I never get there.”
• Occam’s Razor – “Simplest explanation with
the least moving parts.”
• Hanlon’s Razor – “Never attribute to malice
that which can be explained by neglect.”
• Second-order thinking – “Effects have
effects.”
• Map is not territory – “Reality is different
than abstraction.”
20
DECISION JOURNAL
• Quality control log for decision making mind
• Write down
• Situation
• Problem
• Variables
• Alternatives
• Outcomes
• Expectations
• Mood/Feelings
21
SUMMARY
• Everybody has all the skills, with smart
decisions we can lead a good life
• Decision making is not like writing a book, it is
an art and a science
• Rein your biases and use mental models
• Keep a Decision log
• There are exceptions, use multiple techniques
22
REFERENCES
• Generous helpings from FarnamStreet,
BrainPickings, 25iq, Psychology Today
• Decision Making by Alan McLucas
• Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
• The case for Behavioral Strategy by Dan
Lovallo and Olivier Sibony
• Poor Charlie’s Almanack by Peter Kaufman
• Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
• Seeking Wisdom by Peter Bevelin
Thank you for inspiring!
23
GOOD LUCK!
24

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Lets talk about decision making - UC Berkeley

  • 1. LET’S TALK ABOUT DECISION MAKING INDUS KHAITAN ENTREPRENEUR-AT-LARGE 1
  • 2. QUICK BIO • Two startups • One seed fund • Lots of working and defunct software codehttp://khaitan.org @1ndus on twitter 2
  • 3. GOOD (& BAD) DECISIONS I’VE MADE AT 3
  • 4. ” “ A conclusion or resolution reached after consideration. - Dictionary.com’s definition of Decision 4
  • 5. WHY LEARN TO MAKE SMART DECISIONS? • All the information is out there for everybody to learn • Skills of humans have gone up • Everything equal, decisions differentiate success from failure 5
  • 6. RULE OF TWO • The person with the fewest blind-spots wins • Don’t aspire to be a problem solver. Avoid the problems by making better decisions 6
  • 7. ANALYSIS VS. PROCESS Widespread Belief that analysis reduces biases Imagine a big decision made by your boss, organization – How would you rate the quality? Analysis is a good start to remove bias Process ensures objectivity in analysis 7
  • 8. HOW DO WE MAKE BAD DECISIONS? • We fool ourselves • We are not ready • We don’t gather information • We get engulfed by four villains of decision making 8
  • 9. What are the popular examples of bad decisions? 9
  • 10. THE FOUR VILLAINS OF BAD DECISIONS Narrow Framing Confirmation Bias Emotional rollercoaster Overconfidence 10
  • 11. Wrap ✔Widen Your Options ✔Reality Test Your Assumptions ✔Attain Distance Before Deciding ✔Prepare to Be Wrong The Villains ➤To overcome narrow framing ➤To overcome confirmation bias ➤To overcome emotions ➤To overcome overconfidence 11 TAMING THE VILLAINS USING “WRAP”
  • 12. HOW TO MAKE SMART DECISIONS • Figure out how the world works • Use frameworks and toolbox such as Mental Models • Ditch biases • Debug using a decision journal 12
  • 13. ” “ What the pupil must learn, if he learns anything at all, is that the world will do most of the work for you, provided you cooperate with it by identifying how it really works and aligning with those realities. If we do not let the world teach us, it teaches us a lesson.” Joseph Tussman, UC Berkeley Department of Philosophy 13
  • 14. LEARN HOW THE WORLD WORKS • Rules the Universe plays by (Physics and Math) • Rules life on Earth plays by (Biology) • Rules humans have played by (History) 14
  • 15. LAWS OF PHYSICS AND MATH • Velocity does not equal Speed • Reciprocity • Multiplication by Zero • Relativity • Leverage • Randomness • Compounding 15
  • 16. LESSONS FROM BIOLOGICAL HISTORY • Life is Competition • Life is Selection • Life must Breed 16
  • 17. LESSONS FROM HUMAN HISTORY Human behavior has changed, but not human nature Ideas are the strongest things and shape future generations Fragile relationships break, but strong win-win is super glued Lack of adaptiveness to change is a losing strategy 17
  • 18. DITCH BIASES • Availability bias – “Recall the recent, frequent and important.” • First conclusion bias – “First idea gets in and then the mind shuts.” • Hindsight bias – “I told you so. Knew-it-all- along.” • Confirmation bias – “Reassurance, rather than new fact gathering.” 18
  • 19. MENTAL MODELS • Framework for understanding how the world works • Toolbox for making decisions 19
  • 20. TOP FIVE MENTAL MODELS • Inversion – “Just tell me how I’m going to die so that I never get there.” • Occam’s Razor – “Simplest explanation with the least moving parts.” • Hanlon’s Razor – “Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by neglect.” • Second-order thinking – “Effects have effects.” • Map is not territory – “Reality is different than abstraction.” 20
  • 21. DECISION JOURNAL • Quality control log for decision making mind • Write down • Situation • Problem • Variables • Alternatives • Outcomes • Expectations • Mood/Feelings 21
  • 22. SUMMARY • Everybody has all the skills, with smart decisions we can lead a good life • Decision making is not like writing a book, it is an art and a science • Rein your biases and use mental models • Keep a Decision log • There are exceptions, use multiple techniques 22
  • 23. REFERENCES • Generous helpings from FarnamStreet, BrainPickings, 25iq, Psychology Today • Decision Making by Alan McLucas • Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath • The case for Behavioral Strategy by Dan Lovallo and Olivier Sibony • Poor Charlie’s Almanack by Peter Kaufman • Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman • Seeking Wisdom by Peter Bevelin Thank you for inspiring! 23