A friend, Tom, was looking for a new television to watch movies. When we spoke, Tom had narrowed his choice down to a 65” top of the line 4K high definition television for $6500. He wanted a second opinion from someone who knows technology gadgets.
I am guessing his decision came from a gut feeling after an in-store demo of the 4K technology and after browsing features on a few websites.
Kahneman distinguishes between slow and fast thinking. Most people rely on fast thinking because it is easy, convenient and routine. Fast thinking uses heuristic shortcuts or ‘rules of thumb’ that help us make quick decisions without critical thinking and rigor.
It may come as a surprise that most people with less information and experience rely on emotion to make decisions. Why? Well, it takes less effort, focus and attention? How many of us feel more rushed today than a few years ago. Retailers know this and push their sales staff to sell with emotional .
I see this type of decision making in the business world every day. Executives do make good business decisions but they are often incomplete. Decisions are made too hastily without properly considering how other factors like technology will impact their business. Kahneman says slow thinking is more deliberate, conscious and detailed. What this is means is that it’s harder and requires focused, analytical and critical thinking. The goal is to minimize risk and maximize benefit. Mistakes still happen but slow thinking often leads to better decisions due to higher scrutiny. People who engage in slow thinking describe it as thoroughly engrossing. When a person is deep into the problem, they focus in the moment and are oblivious to other matters.
Returning to Tom, it didn’t occur to him to compare resolution, screen size, distance and price when making his decision. Yet, when I suggested he think about these, it made perfect sense to him. Often times, what seems like common sense requires us to go below the surface by asking why something is important? It helps to be curious, explore, research and ask the right questions. These are the same things I think about when dealing with a customer’s challenges.
It turns in Tom’s case, bigger really is better, when sitting 15 feet from his television.
For new high-definition technology televisions, 4K refers to a resolution of approximately 4,000 pixels in width and 2,000 pixels in height. This is about double the horizontal and vertical pixels of 1080P with a resolution of 1920×1080. While 4K has a stunning resolution up close, the difference is marginal and insignificant if Tom is 15 feet away.
The chart below clearly shows the best screen resolution based on the viewing distance.
If you want to be more accurate, this home theatre calculator is handy.
After evaluating the data, I suggested Tom go with an 80” 1080P screen. This saved him $1000.
In his case, older technology with a bigger screen resulted in the most enjoyable “movie like” immersive experience. As innovation goes, I will likely have a different answer for Tom a year or two from now. New technology and a range of options will exist.
If you are looking for a new television this holiday season, I recommend choosing the largest screen for your room based on your viewing distance and with a budget that you can live with.
When we last spoke, Tom was was happy and jokingly said “I could have gone a bit bigger”.
What decisions did you make in 2013 that were too fast? What one thing can do to practice slow thinking in 2014 to ensure you make the best possible decisions at home and at work?
Source for image here