Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Madness of March

One of my clients is doing an NCAA March Madness bracket. Most people in engineering are doing it, and they sent me an invite, too.

An Aside:
This is a really good thing, as a consultant. It shows they have forgotten about the employee-consultant divide. You're just one of the team, which is pretty much exactly where I want to be.
End Aside.

I filled in my bracket, and it's been interesting. You see, I don't actually know anything about basketball. So I went with the highly scientific heuristic as follows:

  1. schools where I've heard of the basketball team
  2. schools I've heard of
  3. wild guesses
As of right now, I'm winning. (yay?)

I'm finding this really interesting. By rights, I really shouldn't be winning. Some of the people here did a whole lot of statistical analysis, and follow NCAA basketball very closely; they're far more informed than I am. They also took a lot longer to put together the bracket.

I suspect there's a lesson in there.

Maybe, just maybe, when faced with a highly variable system, it's as good to go with a simple heuristic as it is to create a complicated solution to the problem.

You don't always have to account for everything. As long as "close enough" or "better than anything else" is an option, choose the simple thing. It might just work for you.

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