Co-operative strategy

An idea shared is more powerful than one that’s hidden. A technology standard outperforms a proprietary one. A community is stronger than divided individuals ever could be.

– Seth Godin

A common belief in business, life, creativity, existence is that in order to thrive, you must escape scarcity. What that looks like in practice is:

  • Hoard access to ideas in order to be seen as inspirational
  • Find markets that no-one else has appreciated
  • Pull the ladder up behind me when I get a promotion
  • Etc. Etc. *YAWN*

In game theory, when you follow non-coöperative strategies, by definition you create a winner and a loser.

If there is only one piece of cake, the winner is the person who gets it. The loser is the person who goes hungry.

If I want to open a pizza shop, I could open it on a block with no other pizza shops. I might occasionally entice in a customer with whose stomach rumbled as she was passing by.

Alternatively, I could open on a block with multiple pizza stalls and benefit from all of the customers who already know they want pizza.

This is a co-operative strategy. Who makes more money selling pizza? The people who just want to sell a lot of individual slices? Or the people who want to sell the whole pie?

Your answer to this question can tell you a lot about your relationships, your business, your life.


Photo by Luca Florio on Unsplash