I am currently struggling with the thought that people have limited appetites for choices, yet advertising is becoming harder and harder to get away from. I think there is some sort of research (maybe a TEDtalk) on how people make decisions. The thought is that we like having a few choices, but as the number of choices increases, we become overwhelmed and are less happy with any choice we make. If we only have three choices, we can quickly decide which one we believe will make us happiest, so we will inevitably select that one. Once we experience the choice, we will likely conclude that we have made the right choice in comparison with the other two, which we have decided are less worthy selections. From this process, we can obtain a level of contentment in making the choice that we are happiest with. Conversely, when we choose from twenty different choices, it takes considerable time to make a choice because we don’t want to be disappointed. We have to learn a bit about every selection to ensure that we pick the best one comparatively and we don’t miss one that we would’ve preferred. This extra time drains our mental energy and takes away from our peace of mind because we don’t want to choose the wrong item. Once we make a selection, the research suggests that we are more likely to second guess our decision because there were flaws in the item (as there are in every item) and we pose the mental question as to whether there might have been a better one. In the three choice situation, it was easy to choose which one you thought you preferred because you could evaluate each item thoroughly. Therefore, you are less likely to make the wrong choice and if you do, you are less likely to dwell on it because you are sure you made the best decision with the information you had. When you have twenty choices, you can miss a key piece of information or realize that you didn’t have the knowledge needed to select the item that would’ve really made you happy, so you are left unsatisfied.
The opportunity cost increases when you have more choices
Your expectations increase when you fully understand the numerous choices available.
Barry Schwartz: how we make choices
My blog will simply express my interests and concerns in the business world as well as the world of college students. I want to first learn about how people can educate themselves about market trends and consumer behavior without the aid of college courses. My goal is to become a successful entrepreneur in the next year and I feel the need to understand what people want to create something that serves a purpose. I need to learn about how the world is changing to focus my thinking around progressing our human race. I want to serve the people and need to understand them in order to do so.
One major idea I have been fiddling with is the idea that I could create a virtual map of the social groups in my city. This would make the social networking process more tangible. The reason for this site, on a secondary level, would be to stimulate economic activity and make people happier through interactions with like-minded people. A key feature of this site would be to serve as a communication medium for members of groups as well as followers of groups. All types of groups (social, greek, academic, family, athletic, etc.) would have the opportunity to post events to the site so 1) members and followers would be informed of the event and 2) the general viewer would be able to see that there is an event going on and can decide to go if it is an open event.
The thought behind this website is to inform people about interesting things going on around them. It seems that most people these days are connecting more socially, but less face-to-face. This site would hypothetically reverse that trend. People would be able to attend events on a regular basis as they feel necessary and it would create a very social atmosphere.
Advertising could also play a part in this type of site, but it would be a less intrusive approach than most advertisements in the world. If a specific group decides it isn’t interested in ads, they would not receive posts from local companies. Conversely, local companies would be connected to the communal message feed and would have their proposition viewed by the general public. Companies would have to send their posts to the administration first in order to filter intrusive and unclear content. This would give the community a better idea of what companies have made a home around them. I think niche companies would get more traction from the locals if people heard about the “local bakery that sells lights-out muffins” because they would take more advantage of these great services rather than grabbing a package of six muffins from the Walmart every week. The world would be more interesting and less reliant on corporations.
Let me know what you think. What’s flawed in my reasoning?