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 'Tradeoff'?

A Tradeoff is a decision that places  higher value on one of several competing options. You can't do everything, resources are limited.

When deciding what to include in your offer, you should look for Patterns that will help you realize what your best customers value, and focus on improving your offering for most of your best potential customers most of the time.

You can't make everyone happy: improve everywhere you can, but universal praise is not a useful goal.

Josh Kaufman Explains 'Tradeoffs'

A Tradeoff is a decision that places a higher value on one of several competing options.

We live in a world where time, energy, and resources are finite. There are only 24 hours in a day, you only have so much available energy, and at any given time there's an upper limit on the amount money you're able spend. What do you do when you can't do everything you want?

You can't have everything you want all of the time. Even if your bank account is large enough to purchase a private island, you're still faced with the decision of which private island to buy. You may want it all, but you can't have it all, so you do the best you can by choosing the option with the characteristics that matter most to you at the time you make the decision.

Every minute of every day, you and the people around you are making Tradeoffs. Some of these Tradeoffs are economic: which pair of pants should you purchase? Some of them are temporal: should you visit with friends or go to a movie? Some of them are effort-based: should you go to the team meeting or complete the overdue TPS report?

Predicting how people will make certain Tradeoffs is tricky-values change quickly, given the environment and context. Values are preferences-how much we want, desire, or place importance on a particular object, quality, or state of being versus another. What you value this morning may be different from what you value this afternoon or this evenings. What you want today may be different from what you want tomorrow.

When making decisions about what to include in your offering, it pays to look for Patterns-how specific groups of people tend to value some characteristic in a certain context.

The decisions you make about what to include and what to leave out will never make everyone equally happy, but by paying attention to the patterns in what your customers value, you'll be able to focus on improving your offering for most of your potential customers most of the time.

Questions About 'Tradeoffs'


"I can't give you a surefire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time."

Herbert Bayard Swope, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist


From Chapter 1:

Value Creation


https://personalmba.com/tradeoffs/



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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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