Link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_osKgFwKoDQ

I wanted to note down some key takeaways from the video listed above:

In Game Theory, there are 2 types of games:

Finite Game

Infinite Game

  • Known Players
  • Fixed Rules
  • Agreed Upon Objective
  • Example: Baseball
  • Known and Unknown Players
  • Rules are changeable
  • Object is to Perpetuate the Game
  • Example: Cold War

When Finite Players play against Finite Players, or when Infinite Players play against Infinite Players, the system is stable. When a Finite Player is pitted against an Infinite Player, there’s a quagmire.

Business is an Infinite Game

  • There are known and unknown players
  • Rules are changeable. Nobody has agreed to rules.
  • There is no “Winning”. It just perpetuates.

The Game of Business has been around for a long time, and will outlast all current companies in the game today. However, most companies today think of business as a Finite Game, by creating arbitrary players and rules. When you’re constanting creating new “goals” based on the Finite Game, you waste resources.

Infinite Game

Finite Game

Based on Values – What do we stand for? Based on Interests
Vision – Crystal clear sense of what the finish line looks like, without knowing how far away it is Goal-Based – Measureable
Looks at Trends Looks at arbitrary points in time

Within the Infinite Game, there should be many Finite Games that leads us toward the Vision. It’s our way of getting closer toward the vision. Finite Games in a vacuum (Goals determined purely on Interests) will lead to inefficiency and frustration.

Most people want their work to be “towards/for” something (sense of purpose). Work has to contribute towards something. If we just keep playing the Finite Game, we’ll eventually question what it’s all for.

However, there are people within a company who want to be Finite Players. They don’t necessarily care for the overall vision (of a company), but are looking for the short term gains (like salary, bonuses and compensation). They will work hard to meet goals.

When the leader creates an environment in which people feel that “someone has my back”, they will do extraordinary things. We feel safest when we trust each other, and good leaders are capable of producing that environment.

People need authority and discretion to do their job.

Why is it that small companies (under-resourced, can’t get the best / brightest, out of business any day) tend to be more innovative than big companies (full of resources, full of amazing people)? For small companies – their vision is more distant than their grasp. Vision should be unachievable. Innovation is born out of a struggle.

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