Outcome (noun): something which matters, is measured and measurable. Examples: sabermetrics, code, sales.
Optics (noun): something which might matter, however is unmeasured and unmeasurable. Examples: appearance, attention, cultural expectations..
Things which are difficult to measure will be evaluated by optics. In these conditions it’s best to maximize optics.
Things which are easy to measure will be optimized on their measured quantities. In these conditions it’s best to optimize.
3 thoughts on “Incentivizing outcomes or optics?”
[…] Restriction for an individual is to remove ego, which often opens new paths for competition success. Movie Producer Jason Blum demonstrated the success of the low-budget horror film and hasn’t suffered much alpha erosion. Part-of-the-reason, said Blum, is that people in show business like the rewards of the show part more than the business part. There are huge advantages for a person if they can look stupid. […]
[…] thinking with via negativa. Ask, what are the key factors that drive an outcome (be careful of optics vs outcomes), the consider the brute force work of removal before optimizing on […]
[…] In public health it’s hard to measure “healthy place”. In these systems optics are rewarded. Theme parks are in the optics business too, but for them results like: Person Gets Sick at World […]