Thursday, 24 July 2008

How we make decisions and the carpeting-over-Madonna dream

When it comes to making decisions about Grasshopper we have found the following to be true:

1: Comparing the benefit of possible outcomes is useful.
2: Talking to someone more experienced is useful.
3: Leaving important emails overnight before sending is a good idea.

Our best decisions, however, have been taken in a moment and not as the result of a calculation. The book ‘Blink’ promotes the use of intuition in decision making by arguing that our shallow sub-conscious processes information about people and situations without telling us. I love this idea.

Some people call it a voice in their head, a religious person might call it God but I call it Tony (‘why doesn’t Tony want to go and live in The Overlook Hotel?’ ‘HE JUST DOESN’T’). If Tony doesn’t like someone he doesn’t have to give a reason because he is always right. The best thing about working with my sister is that the transmitter in her head is on the same channel as mine and she trusts Tony as much as I do.

When Grasshopper was starting to grow we needed money to buy things and it added up to a lot. I applied for grants, funds, loans and bursaries. No one wanted to give us free money so we went to the bank for a loan. In a book I read that a limited company exists as a separate entity and that the directors are not liable for the company’s debts if the business fails. I put this to the bank manager and he said that that was often true but that in our case a loan of this size would need the following security:

1: Abi’s house
2: All future earnings of any blood relatives
3: My first born son

The small print also explained that the bank could call in the loan/firstborn/house/kidneys of either or both of us at any time. We were, however, desperate to keep going, so desperate in fact that I just pushed forward until we were in the bank with the pen hovering over the agreement. In hindsight Tony had been warning me for some time not to take the loan (he communicated this message by making the skin on my legs rashy, keeping me up all night arranging my books in alphabetical order and giving me a re-occurring dream about carpeting over Madonna) but I had refused to listen. When he had become more insistent I covered his mouth with gaffer tape and hummed to drown him out. Luckily Abi heard him, put her pen down and refused to sign the loan. When I panicked and asked her what we would do instead, she suggested a light lunch. To summarise: yes do your homework, yes ask a grown-up but always listen to the little boy that lives in your mouth and do what he says.


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