There's this type of problem I occasionally encounter in many different parts of my life. In this problem, there are two strategies to success:
- High, known cost
- Unknown cost, potentially very low or very high
The interesting thing about this problem is that with strategy 2, you might continuously feel like success is just around the corner. Each time you weigh your options, #2 might seem like the better option but in the end you can waste a lot of time.
Here are some examples:
- You need to make money. You can work hard at a steady job or gamble (one might consider making a start-up like gambling).
- You just got a new appliance and you need to set it up. You can read the manual or you can try random keys and working through the menus using intuition.
- You're trying to find something in your house with little to no idea where it is. You could systematically go through every area of every room, or you could semi-randomly look in the most likely areas.
- You're stuck in traffic. Nobody is moving at all. The road's shut down but you don't know for how long. You could take a much longer alternate route, or you could wait for the road to reopen.
Is there a word for that? This must be some kind of b-school/game theory thing.