Monday, May 7, 2012

How do you survive an attack from a grizzly bear?

I laughed when I read this joke from this month's Wired.  And this is something that I totally have to share :)

Once upon a time, there were two campers whose tent is besieged by a hungry bear.  One of the campers starts to lace up his running shoes, to his pal's puzzlement - grizzlies, after all, are much faster than humans.  His pal asked him, "What are you doing, man?  Shouldn't you be running for your life already!?"

Pause here.  Now, if you were the camper with those fancy Nikes, how would you reply him?

Hold that thought.  Now, here's my humble analysis of the situation:

Problem: Hungry bear (macro problem affecting us).

Potential outcome: We get eaten (industry game over).

Constant: Speed of bear > speed of human (doomed).

Potential solution: Abandon camp and run for our lives (immediate (logical) solution).

Risk calculation: Possibility of outrunning bear = almost zero (we used to word almost because we like to be optimistic).

Very nice.  I'm pretty sure most of us follow that logical plan of action at first response.  After all, how much time have you got to spare in between bear saying first hello and you being dinner?

But if you spare 2-seconds to calm the f*** down and devise an action plan, it may totally change the outcome of the story.  So let's revisit the situation:

Problem: Hungry bear (macro problem affecting us).

Potential outcome: One of us get eaten (bear needs time to chew, which will give sufficient time for one to escape).

Constant: Speed of bear > speed of human 1 > speed of human 2 (break down facts to find your golden insight).

Potential solution: Being human 1 increases your survival tremendously (Constant versus Potential outcome = your clear solution).

Risk calculation: There's no way you will outrun the bear, but outrunning your fellow camper is still 50-50.  Therefore, survival = 50% chance (now compare with first situation).

Geddit?  Amirite?

The printed answer was:

"I don't have to outrun the bear, " the first camper explains.  "I just have to outrun you".


This 'joke' provides great insight to how we tackle business 'problems' don't we?  While, I don't suggest you do that to a 'pal' in the event of such unfortunate incident but it does make you think about how you approach your business, manage your competition and tackle end-of-the-world macro problems.

There are many ways to solve a problem.  But there's always one that is a clear winner. Just need a bit of calculation ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment