Game On…

Win / Lose Matrix...

So when is it that we are “playing a game”, and why is it important to understand this moment you wonder.  As in this context, we aren’t speaking of video or board games, as these are the games we play in ever day life which make the world go around in that we negotiate with spouses, children, bosses, coworkers and clients every day.  As with out this exchange, the world would sit static as there would be no reason to do things such as mine ore to make steel for cars, nor have the sales person on the floor of the shiny show room to sell you the finish product.  Also lets take a moment to understand why we call this a “game” in the first place, as if we look to our friend Webster he defines the “tactical” definition of a game as “a procedure or strategy for gaining an end” and isn’t this the goal?

For example if Wal-Mart ™ places a product on a shelf in their store is this a game?  The answer is sort of but, no as it’s only an incitement to play a “game” much a kin to a casino.  As when you step into a gaming establishment you are presented a myriad of options as enticements to “game”, however it’s not till you “decide” to lay down your money does the game start in earnest.  While there may be a competitive situation set up between Black Jack and Poker and there will be a winner and loser as if you pick to play let’s say Black Jack over Poker, the “house” still wins, however the dealer of “poker” loses.  So if we look at it this way:

Customer1 + House1 (Black Jack1 + Poker1)  = 0

So why this works is simple as the Customer1 has a finite amount of money to give to the house now don’t get lost on the fact of “0” and the argument that the customer can walk away with a greater amount then they walk in with in this case as it’s only a fact of “distribution” and not a win or loss as we need to look at this way to better understand what is happening:

Whereas: Win =1 Lose=-1 Therefore: Customer1 (Win) + House1 (Lose) = 0

This is in fact how business works and why it’s so important to understand as back to our friends at Wal-Mart™ when they are placing a product on a shelf they are taking a risk to entice you into a game, so we could look at it like this:

Customer1 + Wal-Mart1 (Productsy * X)  = 0  Where X= Number of Products

Here again the game cannot be greater than the least (minimum) amount in the game between the two sides, so if the Customer has $100 dollars in their pocket that is the maximum size of the game in this scenario, as in the Casino as well as Wal-Mart the key is to play the most winning games possible.

So again why is this important, well lets define the aspects as:

  1. There can only be a one (1) winner and one (1) loser in a game, everything else is psychological.  Take for example my purchase of an iPad II,  as Apple™ won 850 of my dollars and I lost 850 dollars, and while I am “happy” with the purchase, because it’s only psychological as I have still forfeited 850 dollars and thus lost.
  2. It’s important to understand what “game” we are playing as its only the final “game” which counts. Take for example Black Jack or Poker, its selection is psychological as its only a prelude to the end game.
  3. Don’t get lost on the distribution as a “factor” in winning or losing as no matter what there still will only be one winner and one loser distribution only becomes a factor in the decision to play the game (we will talk more tomorrow about this).
  4. The last position in the game (sequence) is the “final” game*.

Living life is very much like playing a “game” and hence the popularity with board games such as Monopoly, Life and even Candyland demonstrate this and rhetorical success (as also in these games) is defined by whom at the end of the game has the most “currency”.  Thus because there is only so much currency in the box like the real economy, someone has to lose theirs for you to win…

*Note: Resale markets (eBay, Craig’s List, etc), leasing and the like have become disruptive game changers to the standard economic models as in the past the consumer would purchase a product and its resting place would be the trash.  However, now many things are finding their way into a newly created secondary market which in turn pushes out the “end” game.

About Joseph Campbell

As a strong believer in the fact that "people work for people", it has been a life driver to better to understand the complexities of the various aspects which drive efficiency within this axiom, especially the concepts of leadership. Supporting this, I have been fortunate enough to having experienced this as leader on a global basis over the last decade and half. During this time it has been clear there are three core drivers being Life, Leadership and Economics.
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