June 11, 2020

Reader feedback re finite vs infinite games

Longtime friend of the list Rod Aparicio wrote in with thoughts on my message about playing finite vs infinite games (shared with permission, bold mine):

Hey Jonathan, I read this email last week and had some thoughts that I put on here. Loving this finite v. infinite game theory. =) About infinite games: it’s not only when it’s not fun that you get out of it. It’s also when you don’t have the resources or the will to play: you’re out until you get more resources to keep playing the game. Being out of the game doesn’t mean the game ends, it just ends for you. Along with this, the number of players is undefined and uncertain: it could be a game of one (a very niched down expert with no competitors/ a monopoly) or a game of many (cab drivers, service providers, apps, etc.). On this theme, Simon Sinek talks how money for a business is like fuel for a car - it helps you get there, but it’s not the end itself: Money Is Fuel There was also a TedTalk (can’t remember exactly which one it was - maybe Adam Grant?) where they talk about people being bakers or eaters. The eaters are always trying to get more of the cake because they can’t think of anything else -“It’s me vs everybody else!. If somebody else gets a piece, I won’t have any.” The bakers, on the other hand, see the picture as “Why not making a BIGGER cake? That way everyone gets a bigger piece and everybody is happy”. I really like how you defined fun towards this infinite game - it REALLY relates to the V Word ep. in TBOA. What’s the world we imagine to see at some point. =) Thanks for your emails - I got another reply on your next email on service. =) Stay safe, R

It’s a great point about running out of resources. Even if you’re still having fun, you need to have the time, money, and energy to keep coming back to an infinite game every day.