004 — Errybody get choices🤷🏻‍♀️. A simple approach I take to decision making.

Emmanuel Pozo
Oct 16, 2017 · 3 min read

TLDR; People constantly need to make decisions. Making decisions is hard. I’m going to share a simple, top of the funnel methodology I use to filter decisions.

Facts: Decision volume increases as you get older. Decisions increase in magnitude as you get older. The types of decisions change signficantly as you get older. 👵🏼 👴🏼

This evens out a bit when you hit a certain age…

This is an anectodal graph and varies based on various factors.

There are numerous resources you can use to get better at decision making, but for me it comes down to using a mix of principles, context, logic and intuition to narrow down the decision making process.

Here is a simple filtering framework I use to make decisions every day. Think of it as level 1 filtering. I use this in life and in my career. It can apply to companies and indivuduals.

  1. Principles: Overarching, non compromisable, guiding principles I hold tightly. Nothing gets past this!
  2. Context: What is most important to me right now? If I’m talking about a company, these could include things like: Are we more focused on acquiring users, or growing revenues? Are our users abandoning us for a competitor? Or are do we have a good enough loyal base? Do we have a strong brand that users want to share with their friends? Or do we need to work on that? If it’s on a personal level then this could include things like: Am I tied to a geographical location? Or am I willing to move? What’s more important to me money or experiences?
  3. Logic: Do I have significant quantifiable data available to inform a decision?
  4. Intuition: A mix of pure emotional intuition and past experiences that can inform the decision. Do I feel strongly about something or can I draw on past experiences?

From here, I can start the process of elimaniation when I need to make decisions. If it doesn’t get past 1 and 2, I don’t even bother. It’s an immediate NO. If 1 and 2 check out but I don’t have 3, then I move on to number 4 and make the best decision I can.

Real life scenario: Work — Since I am responsible for developing products, I have to make tons of decisions every quarter, month, day, hour, minute. Some small and nuanced, others larger and often times more signficant. One of the things I spend a large amount of time doing is deciding what to build next. If an idea or feature is thought up of or suggested by a member of the team, I run it by my filter. If it passes all the checks, it’s a candidate for sizing and prioritization. If it doesn’t, it immediately goes to the back in the queue.

Simple Example:

Coworker: “Emmanuel, I think we should work on this idea I had, it could really improve the signup flow. It will make things so much easier for people. Can we try it and see how it impacts our numbers?”

Me: “Well, I agree that it would improve the user experience significantly, but we are doing OK on acquisition. Remember, we all decided to put more emphasis on features that improve our referral rate. Let’s revisit.

Coworker: “Oh that’s right! I still hate you though. You never listen to me 😜”

Although the idea was great, it just didn’t fit the context. In real life, this may be easier said than done, but you get the idea.

Share your process with me and help me improve!

Weekly Thoughts

Think of this as a weekly journal. A window into my life. A collection of short, simple posts.

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