The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

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What Is A 'Selection Test'?

A Selection Test is an environmental constraint that determines which systems self-perpetuate and which ones don't. It's like breathing air for a system: if a business doesn't bring enough revenue, it 'dies'.

If the Environment changes, the Selection Tests change as well. If you can identify Selection Tests in a market, you'll be able to compete there more effectively.

Josh Kaufman Explains 'Selection Tests'

Self-perpetuating systems (like businesses or organisms) can only self-perpetuate as long as they meet the Environmental conditions necessary to exist.

A Selection Test is an environmental constraint that determines which systems continue to self- perpetuate and which ones "die."

Mammals like humans have several selection tests: breating enough air, eating enough food, drinking enough water, and retaining enough heat. Businesses also have selection tests: enough value provided to customers, enough revenue to cover expenses, enough profit to stay financially Sufficient.

Many people think of selection tests as "survival of the fittest" but "death of the unfit" is a more accurate description. If a self-perpetuating system fails to satisfy a Selection Test, it will cease to exist.

If you can't get enough air, you'll die. If your business can't bring in enough revenue, it'll die.

As the Environment changes, the Selection Tests change as well.

Selection Tests are particularly interesting to watch in the technology market, where the environment of "what's possible" changes constantly. Businesses that fail to take advantage of major changes in technology quickly find that they're unable to keep up with the new demands customers make for their products.

Changing environments and selection tests are an entrepreneur's best friend-they're what allow small companies to outperform large, entrenched competitors. If you can identify what the selection tests in a market really are, you'll be able to compete in that market much more effectively.

Selection Tests are ruthless: satisfy them, and you'll thrive. Fail to adapt to changing conditions, and you'll die.

Questions About 'Selection Tests'


"Any one response to the universe, however powerful, becomes inappropriate with time and change. Those who become utterly dependent on one means of mastery will find themselves unable to cope with the future."

Frank Herbert, science fiction novelist and author of Dune


From Chapter 9:

Understanding Systems


https://personalmba.com/selection-test/



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The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

Buy the book:


About Josh Kaufman

Josh Kaufman is an acclaimed business, learning, and skill acquisition expert. He is the author of two international bestsellers: The Personal MBA and The First 20 Hours. Josh's research and writing have helped millions of people worldwide learn the fundamentals of modern business.

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