Brown Chocolate Chips 
Photo byAnton Uniqueton on Pexels

When is Twice a Quarter not a Half

For better or worse, I am hyper-rational. Hyper-rationality should probably count as a spectrum disorder.

As a result the behavior of real people often confuses me and when I was younger often caught me by surprise.

Very occasionally I have insights into real people when I notice irrationality in my own mind.

I had such an experience making this morning and I would be grateful for help in understanding it.

Person Holding Clear Glass Bowl With White and Brown Nuts To make it I will measure out 4 fluid ounces of dark chocolate chips. A level half-cup scoop feels really excessive. Two, level one-quarter scoops do not. I can add. I can multiple. I can pour the chips between scoops to assure myself that four ounces are four ounces. I presume I could make two batches and compare the taste to confirm it is the same. But it doesn't feel the same. It is odd.

When I was little and broadcast television was all there was, I would see ads for things no one actually needed without total prices, but only “three easy payments” of some dollars and 98 cents. Credit cards existed but weren't really common yet, so three payments meant three checks. Anyone that needs to space out these payments probably can't really afford to buy these things, so I presumed (perhaps wrongly) that wasn't it. It must have been that three small payments felt different than one bigger payment.

clear plastic cup with red liquid inside That is of course almost as irrational about it being OK to use two one-quarter cups of chocolate chips but not one-half cup.

Or perhaps even asking you to read two small blog posts rather than writing one longer one.

For me personally, this irrationality is an odd novelty.

It's not like joining a crowdfunding campaign to be part of something. Whether or not it is strictly rational, I can understand it.

I don't understand this. Perhaps I can't ever.

What is it like for it to be routine?

Or to design sales and marketing systems to exploit it?


Written by Russell Brand

Entrepreneur in residence at Founder Institute, he has mentored, performed due diligence on and invested in numerous early stage companies. Hundreds of these early stage companies have described Russell’s insights and advice as the most useful thing in the history of their companies. He has always had an inborn ability to find more valuable uses of new ideas and faster ways to achieve results.

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