Directional answers and precise answers

I use simple a rule of thumb for the difference between attempting to convert a directional answer into a precise answer – 10x+ time investment.

Attempting to find a reasonably good pair of headphones might just take you 10 minutes on Amazon. However, if you’re looking for the best headphones you can find for your budget, you could easily spend 100+ minutes searching.

Similarly, if you want to predict the effect of your strategy on key metrics, you might be able to get to a directional range in 2 hours. But, if you want to isolate and understand every variable and its interactions, you’ll want to budget at least 20+ hours of work.

This is analogous to being a satisficer versus a maximizer. Attempting to maximize everything you do by getting precise answers is very expensive. Thus, the implication in conducting analysis as in living life is similar – assume you need directional answers unless it is clear that precise answers are the way to go.

Every once a while, you’ll realize that you’d have been better off finding that precise answer. But, thanks to this strategy, you’ll have enough buffer time to course correct. :-)