First, some background:

I've been thinking about writing something like this since 1976. I'll explain why that date tomorrow. I have in the past written a number of articles on a related series of issues, but not for public consumption. I mention this because although I cannot in all honesty claim to be a world ranking expert on decision-analysis, I’m not a layperson either.

I am the co-founder of Cognisco and was, before I resigned in the mid 1990s head of creativity and innovation. I invented the Milestone tool and received a Patent on it.

That tool was designed, in part, to help both employers and employees make informed, intelligent, rational and objective decisions about how on-site training might be applied, and through consensus agree about when it was futile to continue. The consequence is, so I'm told, that hundreds if not thousands of employees who found themselves in unhappy job roles were reassigned – without pay loss – to positions where they could progress. The evolution of my original work are today used globally.

I should point out that while I was the creator and inventor it was the exceptional work of my team who took the practical application of the original tool to levels higher than I might have achieved on my own. Great people, all of them. And yes, how this applies to our lives in the shrinking (in the UK at least) audiophile community will become clear. I promise! Anyway, moving on …

Not just hi-fi

These days, my interest in decision analysis focuses in the main on the process of making buying decisions as a consumer.

Now then, I’m an audiophile retailer (Stereonow Ltd) and interested in why either the potential buyer fails to buy or why I prefer not (in their best interests) to sell to them but …… but, this series will not focus on my business. Rather how as a potential buyer myself (including cars, digital cameras, vintage and new audio gear, CDs, a new home and so on) I try to make sense of the irrational, to balance subjectivity with objectivity, to contrast price with cost and so much more. And in so doing help all of us – including me – to reduce buyer-anxieties.

My intention in this series is …

not to be ‘academic’ or worse yet, pseudo ‘academic’. Rather to provide observations that might be of value to the readers. Yes, from time to time I will invite you to explore some of the accessible (even for the layperson) aspects of the psychology of decision-making, utility theory and practical applications one might usefully use in everyday life – if there’s a desire to do so.

Well, why not?

Now then, that last part might seem a curious perspective. Why might a person NOT want to make the best quality decision – especially where their money is concerned?

Well, I'll be going into that in the series. The answers really floored me. Moreover the revelations explained in a somewhat devastating way how I had come to make poor decisions in the past. I still make what in retrospect turn out to be poor decisions – but they are at least the more uncommon and trickier-to-spot-initially ones. Well, that's my excuse, or one of them at least.

I'm not immune

So, having read this far, and assuming that you’ll accompany me on the journey I should I feel reveal a few of my own irrationalities in decision-making – both current and historic. Having volunteered this, and they’ll be more as we progress I will attempt to provide explanations. In so doing I'll touch on a few of my own prejudices and what – if anything – I’m attempting to do about them. So, in no particular order ..

Despite hearing a Linn LP12 in January 2011, in Colorado I heard the most musically credible audio system of my entire life and yet I would never have anything from Linn in my system. I figured …. why lie about this?

I had immense pleasure from my BMW 850csi (arguably the pinnacle of their engineering prowess and cosmetic elegance) but would never consider another BMW - other than their M1.

I find Kylie Minogue the reverse of sexy whereas it appears I’m in a minority and …

Why I have no interest in being in the majority in the above and in most other aspects of life too. So, given an absence of bad luck I'll continue on the path tomorrow. Perhaps you’ll join me?


When it came to a decision about what to listen to as a type this, well I selected this and it’s a most satisfying decision.

Thank you

To be continued tomorrow

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