Decision Making and Forcing Clarity

I helped out with Angel Hack Hong Kong this weekend. I started by interviewing Jaan Tallinn on Friday about his career at Kazaa, Skype, as an angel investor, and his work on existential risks. I then judged the hackathon on Sunday. Harry Ngai, the main organizer for Angel Hack, did an outstanding job. He deserves to be commended.

During the judging, I engineered the voting so that I had the tiebreaker vote. We had 7 total judges; 3 voted one way, 3 another, and I voted for a third candidate. Naturally my vote then didn't count, and I had to determine the tie.

This was a serious vote - the winner of this would get a slot in the Angel Hack accelerator. There was startup pressure to pick correctly so that the right startup gets the award, there was social pressure from the outstanding judges, and reputational pressure to make the right choice.

I think I made the right choice. There were two things I needed additional data points on - what was the main reason why each team WOULDN'T be good and how hard the team worked. I made a choice based on those two factors.

To be the deadlock was a great learning experience. Sometimes one needs to be in the center of controversy and forced to make a decision to discover more about oneself. I know I learn a lot more when I filter the world to be binary and to make a judgement or decision. The action of forcing the world to be binary forces clarity in thought and action.

I do recommend to people when they're faced with a decision to decide on anything, just as long as they decide. Deciding should be the easy part, and implementing that decision is the hard part, not the other way around.