I recently came across many wonderful thoughts and ideas like this and this. However there is one principle that I heard, not surprisingly from Jason Fried, that blew me away. It was one of the most simplest rules, but when followed, simplifies a lot of decision making situations. Here is what it is.
In an interview when Jason was asked what was the partnership deal between dhh and him at 37 signals he said, that he cannot disclose the exact number but 50:50 is one of the worst numbers for partnership. Its ok to have 51 to 49 but not 50:50. He said the partnership split was something that is not 50:50.
That struck me as soon as I heard it. It was a stunningly simple solution for a pervasive problem. I’m exceptionally bad at making a decision. I’m always confused between two very good options in my mind. When I drill deeper I realize, I had not prioritized between the two things. When you switch from 50:50 to 51:49, suddenly everything is in perspective. We know which one is more important.
Its also a great number when an assignment/project is given to two people to complete. It provides so much clarity to everyone involved. It says who has the ultimate responsibility , even when both the parties have to put in almost equal amount of effort into it.
Any ratio that is not 50/50 says who has a higher stake in the game. Risk or reward, nothing is 50-50.
I also think this number could be applied in personal lives. 50-50 has the potential to creates tension between the two equal people/ideas/options. Better be explicit and clear about who/what is 51.