Today, I drove to lunch taking a back road to avoid the usual stress of traffic and I got to thinking about the tradeoff triangle, you know, Good/Fast/Cheap – pick two. But that didn’t really make sense for what I was doing. I was trading time for a better driving experience. It was something more like Cheap/Fast/Pleasurable.
I thought I was on to something there. I tried applying it to some other modern conveniences. I have someone wash my car every few weeks. That costs a little, but it also frees up more time for me to do what I want. That fits.
In fact, there’s a whole lifestyle philosophy that promotes that when you get to a certain level of net worth or earning potential, you need to stop doing some things because it isn’t worth your time (in a somewhat literal sense). A breakdown of that philosophy may be for a future post.
But what if you enjoy doing something and the cost isn’t important to you? Like mowing the lawn, you could get someone to do it cheaply, but you enjoy it. You’re sacrificing time for cost and pleasure. Ok, that still fits.
What about upgrading to Business Class when flying? Sacrifice cost for pleasure. There’s a lot of things you can sacrifice cost for extra comfort. That’s a common one that fits well.
But the equation doesn’t work for everything. There are some legitimate sources of tasty fast food, where it’s a balance of cheap, fast, and pleasurable. So what’s the sacrifice there? That’s a better fit for the Good/Fast/Cheap equation, where you can usually argue that you’re giving up quality for the others.
I guess we need some definition as to when to use Good/Fast/Cheap and when to use Cheap/Fast/Pleasurable. It seems G/F/C applies to things you receive and C/F/P applies to things you experience. Tangible and intangible.
Now I have a problem with Cheap when dealing with experience, because that has a negative connotation. How about Economical? That makes Fast stick out, but wow, that’s a hard one to replace. I can’t think of any -able or -ible terms to fit in there. That will have to wait.
Great. I now have a physical and emotional tradeoff triangle for my analytical processes.