# Theory of Measure — Why I Bought a \$250 Keyboard

## A Mental Model for Decision Making

Unless you’re Jeff Bezos, you have limited resources. With the highest value resources being Time and Money.

We all need to find a decision-making process to decide what aspect of your life, or objects you acquire, require investment.

• “What new car should I get?”
• “How much should I spend on glasses?
• “Should I get a new computer?”

About a year ago I heard of a mental model canned ‘Measure: a mental model for decision-making’ by Taimur Abdaal. You can find in on his Blog, and Podcast.

## Measure

It essentially boils down to this.

Taimur outlines two metrics for value contribution to your life; “Magnitude” and “Measure”.

• “Magnitude” is the amplitude of that value at a particular time.
• “Measure” is the time over which that amplitude acts.

And I would add that value is the area under the curve.

Value = Measure x Magnitude

I have drawn to extreme examples, here.

• One could be something like a meal out with friends, a spike in value over a short period of time.
• The other is a purchase, something that adds value to your life every day, over a long period of time. These can be called “High-Measure” purchases.

I often think these can be things that are traditionally under-invested in. Stuff like mattresses, rucksack, good glasses, comfortable shoes etc.

I think we can agree, these are things that require investment as the make a huge difference to our lives. Never quite making our day, but adding value nonetheless.

## Applicable Examples

This is something I see every-day in my job. I sell computers.

My argument is often that an investment in a laptop or computer is a very high measure thing. Take the example of a freelance creative.

They use that laptop for 7–9 hours a day, every working day, for the life of the computer (which can be as much as about 8 years). By investing in a machine that is, let’s say \$2000, they not only increase the useful output-rate but also the length of the life of the machine.

Even if that machine only results in a 5% increase in your productivity, by being faster, requiring less troubleshooting and repairs over that time, you can get to a huge value-add. Let’s say you earn \$10 an hour (which is a massive under-estimation, but proves a point).

Value-Add = 5% x Life in Years x Number of Working Hours in a Year x Hourly Rate

Value-Add = 5% x 5 x (48x40) x \$10 = \$4’800

(This is evidently a huge over-simplification but you get the point)

You might argue that you get towards the law of diminishing returns, I would agree. But spending \$2000 rather than \$1000 is still a significant percentage increase in speed, reliability and length of life.

This can also be seen in reverse if you skimp. This doesn’t happen too much, but if you go as cheap as possible, say 80% of the cost of the other machine.

You save 20%, yes, but often the cheaper is less effective over time. Or in some cases, inadequate in the first place.

Meaning you may now be spending 180% to get a machine that could have cost 100%. You could sell the other one, or pass it on to family, but there is still a loss there.

## Power of Delight

You also get towards my theory of the “Power of Delight”.

I recently spent a ridiculous amount of money on a keyboard.

That keyboard has increased my typing speed, reduced ergonomic issues of thin laptop-style keyboards and allows customisation for my use.

But the biggest value-add of that purchase is the factor of delight. It’s a very nice thing.

It makes me want to type more, which makes me want to work more. Also, there is the enjoyment of the fact that I was able to build it myself.

That one \$250 purchase has increased my output, reduced strain on my hands and wrists, looks nicer, will last for years and years. I would argue a keyboard is a pretty “high-measure” item.

## Other Ideas

The same goes for a whole host of other things:

• Posture
• Relationships
• Anything that will improve sleep

Let me know what you think. What are some high-measure items in your life?

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Growing YouTube Channels, Full Time. Content Director at Driver61 and Driven Media. But, I also like nice things - so I talk about them.