Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue



  • So recently (past year to date) there has been an ongoing project to 'find a solution' to a desired end product. Within a month of starting the project, a solution was found, but it didn't work in the 1% of cases that may occur.

    Which this 1% of cases, we don't provide the platform, just the service.

    We have two options, and both options work in similar fashion, one cost money, the other does not. One is complex, takes time to configure, and a massive trouble to actually troubleshoot should something occur.

    This solution also works in a manner that our platform isn't designed for, and often has all kinds of issues.

    The other solution, is free, works within our platform, way easier to troubleshoot as well as setup and easy to teach to our service providers.

    So today the expensive solution again, breaks, looks like crap, and Employee A says "Gah I'm going to stay here and figure it out, why it breaks and make it work!"

    I'm standing here, biting my tongue at this, as this isn't the only time that the solution has gone belly up. And actually made the business look ridiculous in front of our customers.

    So I load up software B (the free one), and send it out to the powers that be, and give them a 5 minute demo. They love it, it works, it's simple, and I tell them, that software B needs to be our go to solution. We can't be reliant on software that seems to break every time someone farts.

    Well the employee sees me demo this and more or less loses it. Saying things like "I need your help to get this to work", "I'm done" etc...

    Which I'm past caring about this employee and their attempt to save face, or whatever it is they're trying to do.

    Of the two solutions, one works within our platform, and cost us nothing. The other cost money, works sometimes and adds way more complexity to the end product.

    To employee, whatever reasoning you have for being hard stuck on trying to force this solution, realize you're wasting business time, money and effort.

    Let it go, it may work in the 1% of cases, but that 1% of cases, isn't something that we as a business need to kill our selves over.



  • Wow. Reminds me of this:

    0_1484698453965_Sl5KZfX.gif



  • @Tim_G feels a lot like it.... what kills me about this is the employee uses every possible excuse of "well this changed" or "they used it".

    Which people and the systems are going to change, that can't be the reasoning for it. The platform will update. We can't control that, the platform provider does.



  • @DustinB3403 said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @Tim_G feels a lot like it.... what kills me about this is the employee uses every possible excuse of "well this changed" or "they used it".

    Which people and the systems are going to change, that can't be the reasoning for it. The platform will update. We can't control that, the platform provider does.

    Another point, is that what about when your own platform changes? Which of the two solutions are more likely to continue working through your platform change? Surely not the expensive one that barely works as it is and can't support it's own weight and changes.



  • ...I don't know anything about the platform your company provides, but just saying.



  • Oh thank god.

    uBlock to the rescue - was able to block punching cow... I really wish I could have just stopped it from cycling...



  • @DustinB3403 said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @Tim_G feels a lot like it.... what kills me about this is the employee uses every possible excuse of "well this changed" or "they used it".

    Which people and the systems are going to change, that can't be the reasoning for it. The platform will update. We can't control that, the platform provider does.

    Assuming he spearheaded that other software, he's just trying to safe face.

    Sadly so many managers only ever look at things like that as a failure instead of a learning experience and hold it against people.



  • @Dashrender That is what it appears to be. So I stood in the way and basically went to the people in charge and said listen we need to use this solution not the other one, the other one just has too many issues, it's too complex, and has issues doing the basics of what we need.



  • @Tim_G Just read this on my laptop, we don't provide the platform, just services.

    We use 1 platform which we provide services over, 99% of the time. And this employee is working to get a solution that works for the other 1% because I assume.

    1 solution that works for all, is the simplest. . . . except if it doesn't work......



  • @Dashrender said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @DustinB3403 said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @Tim_G feels a lot like it.... what kills me about this is the employee uses every possible excuse of "well this changed" or "they used it".

    Which people and the systems are going to change, that can't be the reasoning for it. The platform will update. We can't control that, the platform provider does.

    Assuming he spearheaded that other software, he's just trying to safe face.

    Sadly so many managers only ever look at things like that as a failure instead of a learning experience and hold it against people.

    Saving face is an aspect of sunk cost. But in reality, it is making him look more and more foolish. As he continues to try to get it to work he demonstrates an increasing level of not understanding or considering the business aspects and switches from "Having made a simple error in choosing the right approach" to "intentionally not fixing something that is broken for personal gains."



  • @scottalanmiller said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @Dashrender said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @DustinB3403 said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @Tim_G feels a lot like it.... what kills me about this is the employee uses every possible excuse of "well this changed" or "they used it".

    Which people and the systems are going to change, that can't be the reasoning for it. The platform will update. We can't control that, the platform provider does.

    Assuming he spearheaded that other software, he's just trying to safe face.

    Sadly so many managers only ever look at things like that as a failure instead of a learning experience and hold it against people.

    Saving face is an aspect of sunk cost. But in reality, it is making him look more and more foolish. As he continues to try to get it to work he demonstrates an increasing level of not understanding or considering the business aspects and switches from "Having made a simple error in choosing the right approach" to "intentionally not fixing something that is broken for personal gains."

    This is often as much management's fault as it is the employee's in this case - mainly because management is often just as eager to not start over as the employee is in saving face.



  • @Dashrender said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @scottalanmiller said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @Dashrender said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @DustinB3403 said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @Tim_G feels a lot like it.... what kills me about this is the employee uses every possible excuse of "well this changed" or "they used it".

    Which people and the systems are going to change, that can't be the reasoning for it. The platform will update. We can't control that, the platform provider does.

    Assuming he spearheaded that other software, he's just trying to safe face.

    Sadly so many managers only ever look at things like that as a failure instead of a learning experience and hold it against people.

    Saving face is an aspect of sunk cost. But in reality, it is making him look more and more foolish. As he continues to try to get it to work he demonstrates an increasing level of not understanding or considering the business aspects and switches from "Having made a simple error in choosing the right approach" to "intentionally not fixing something that is broken for personal gains."

    This is often as much management's fault as it is the employee's in this case - mainly because management is often just as eager to not start over as the employee is in saving face.

    True, but one is giving advice and one is choosing to trust, perhaps.



  • And today, again this was brought up "Well it's open source, so it could just disappear one day"... and I wanted to scream at the guy...

    There is a greater chance that we get stuck (extorted) paying for the software that barely works! Or that they close shop, or drop support, or stop selling the product entirely.

    (Someone else brought this up, that the business may just close) which cooled me down a bit.



  • Also this concept of open source just disappearing, where did this idea come from?

    I know this is a separate topic entirely, but why does everyone have faith in a business?

    I've seen business close shop way faster and more often than I've seen free and open source software disappearing.



  • @DustinB3403 said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    Also this concept of open source just disappearing, where did this idea come from?

    Just crap that people make up when they think that their bosses are total fools and will believe absolutely anything. It's the ultimate form of mocking them right to their faces.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @DustinB3403 said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    Also this concept of open source just disappearing, where did this idea come from?

    Just crap that people make up when they think that their bosses are total fools and will believe absolutely anything. It's the ultimate form of mocking them right to their faces.

    See, but how do you call that out? I can't just jump up, and shout "LIAR!!!" They are more likely just completely unaware / uneducated.

    But I can't teach everyone, the onus is on that person to take the 15 seconds and research open source, right?



  • @DustinB3403 said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @scottalanmiller said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @DustinB3403 said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    Also this concept of open source just disappearing, where did this idea come from?

    Just crap that people make up when they think that their bosses are total fools and will believe absolutely anything. It's the ultimate form of mocking them right to their faces.

    See, but how do you call that out? I can't just jump up, and shout "LIAR!!!" They are more likely just completely unaware / uneducated.

    But I can't teach everyone, the onus is on that person to take the 15 seconds and research open source, right?

    Should not require research, it's just common sense. One license totally protects against the idea of the maker going out of business and the other totally exposes the customer to risk. It's that simple, one protects, one exposes. That they choose the opposite implies they didn't look into it at all, don't care or actively want to be misled.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @DustinB3403 said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    Also this concept of open source just disappearing, where did this idea come from?

    Just crap that people make up when they think that their bosses are total fools and will believe absolutely anything. It's the ultimate form of mocking them right to their faces.

    This implies malice - I really don't think they are doing this maliciously. Those who say this/repeat this just have more faith in a company that appears to be there to make money vs a project that's supported by good will.



  • @Dashrender said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @scottalanmiller said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @DustinB3403 said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    Also this concept of open source just disappearing, where did this idea come from?

    Just crap that people make up when they think that their bosses are total fools and will believe absolutely anything. It's the ultimate form of mocking them right to their faces.

    This implies malice - I really don't think they are doing this maliciously. Those who say this/repeat this just have more faith in a company that appears to be there to make money vs a project that's supported by good will.

    I'm definitely implying malice. Making statements like this, contrary to fact or logic, for the purpose of misleading management to support a personal goal - e.g. to hurt others for personal gain, is malice. It sounds like malice because it essentially always is. Whether they have a personal stake in hurting the company that they work for or they are trying to hurt people who give their work away for free or they are trying to funnel money to a commercial vendor because they want to inappropriately support them... malice.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @DustinB3403 said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @scottalanmiller said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @DustinB3403 said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    Also this concept of open source just disappearing, where did this idea come from?

    Just crap that people make up when they think that their bosses are total fools and will believe absolutely anything. It's the ultimate form of mocking them right to their faces.

    See, but how do you call that out? I can't just jump up, and shout "LIAR!!!" They are more likely just completely unaware / uneducated.

    But I can't teach everyone, the onus is on that person to take the 15 seconds and research open source, right?

    Should not require research, it's just common sense. One license totally protects against the idea of the maker going out of business and the other totally exposes the customer to risk. It's that simple, one protects, one exposes. That they choose the opposite implies they didn't look into it at all, don't care or actively want to be misled.

    The fact that the software can never 'Disappear' is a completely foreign concept compared to a product made by a company with patients/copywrites, etc... they just don't consider that free just means, as long as someone is willing to host it on the internet, it will be there forever for whomever to download. But even if they do consider that - they might look and say - why would someone be willing to spend their own money to host files for others - that just doesn't make sense.

    Not saying these people are right, it's just how so many think.



  • @Dashrender said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    Those who say this/repeat this just have more faith in a company that appears to be there to make money vs a project that's supported by good will.

    No, that's wrong because that's the beauty of the open source license, it removes the need to have faith in the "vendor". Or conversely, it's why closed source is risky because it suddenly requires us to trust a single vendor in a way that we can't generally trust them. The way that you have stated it is misleading, if it were only about faith in vendors vs. good will it would be a different matter. That's closed source commercial vs. closed source free, no open source included in your equation.



  • @Dashrender said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @scottalanmiller said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @DustinB3403 said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @scottalanmiller said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @DustinB3403 said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    Also this concept of open source just disappearing, where did this idea come from?

    Just crap that people make up when they think that their bosses are total fools and will believe absolutely anything. It's the ultimate form of mocking them right to their faces.

    See, but how do you call that out? I can't just jump up, and shout "LIAR!!!" They are more likely just completely unaware / uneducated.

    But I can't teach everyone, the onus is on that person to take the 15 seconds and research open source, right?

    Should not require research, it's just common sense. One license totally protects against the idea of the maker going out of business and the other totally exposes the customer to risk. It's that simple, one protects, one exposes. That they choose the opposite implies they didn't look into it at all, don't care or actively want to be misled.

    The fact that the software can never 'Disappear' is a completely foreign concept compared to a product made by a company with patients/copywrites, etc... they just don't consider that free just means, as long as someone is willing to host it on the internet, it will be there forever for whomever to download. But even if they do consider that - they might look and say - why would someone be willing to spend their own money to host files for others - that just doesn't make sense.

    Not saying these people are right, it's just how so many think.

    But we aren't talking about free, we are talking about open. If someone is injecting free, that's misleading.



  • Using free as a substitute for open is a common means of misleading buyers. Software that is open has no direct relationship to software that doesn't cost anything. But malicious parties will often try to interchange those words to set up a misleading argument.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @Dashrender said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    Those who say this/repeat this just have more faith in a company that appears to be there to make money vs a project that's supported by good will.

    No, that's wrong because that's the beauty of the open source license, it removes the need to have faith in the "vendor". Or conversely, it's why closed source is risky because it suddenly requires us to trust a single vendor in a way that we can't generally trust them. The way that you have stated it is misleading, if it were only about faith in vendors vs. good will it would be a different matter. That's closed source commercial vs. closed source free, no open source included in your equation.

    Just because the license prevents this - doesn't suddenly make people realize it (they don't read license agreements, are you kidding me?). I said - they simply have faith, is it wrong - of course it's wrong - but it's the same reason that so much advertising works.. people are lazy and just follow the skin deep thought process.



  • @Dashrender said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @scottalanmiller said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @Dashrender said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    Those who say this/repeat this just have more faith in a company that appears to be there to make money vs a project that's supported by good will.

    No, that's wrong because that's the beauty of the open source license, it removes the need to have faith in the "vendor". Or conversely, it's why closed source is risky because it suddenly requires us to trust a single vendor in a way that we can't generally trust them. The way that you have stated it is misleading, if it were only about faith in vendors vs. good will it would be a different matter. That's closed source commercial vs. closed source free, no open source included in your equation.

    Just because the license prevents this - doesn't suddenly make people realize it (they don't read license agreements, are you kidding me?). I said - they simply have faith, is it wrong - of course it's wrong - but it's the same reason that so much advertising works.. people are lazy and just follow the skin deep thought process.

    But it is faith in something other than the subject of what is being discussed. In order for the faith argument to come up they have to be ignoring the situation already and looking at something else in order to have it even matter. No amount of faith would cause the problem, it's misdirection that causes the problem. That's what I just explained. It's not even considering open source at all and desperately looking for unrelated excuses that has to cause this to happen. If they knew what open source was, they'd know that faith in the company was irrelevant. If they don't know what open source in then making up false facts about it to dismiss it would be malicious ignorance - intentionally covering up proposed answers without even considering them and lying to cover it up.

    THey might do it subconsciously. They might have done it so many times in the past that they aren't thinking about it any more. But at the end of they day, your argument doesn't hold up as providing any sort of excuse.



  • All of your proposed arguments as to why they chose what they chose come back to one base thing - a malicious starting point. Malicious because they want to hurt someone or malicious because they are willing to. But the malicious point remains. We are dealing with people who are misleading others for what we assume is personal gain and providing false information to do so. Not many non-malicious situations actually lead to something like that. We want and hope that we can justify this kinds of things happening through honest means, and there are rare cases where they do, but in general malicious intent is the root the majority of the time. Especially in a case where we are essentially expecting it to happen.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    If they don't know what open source in then making up false facts about it to dismiss it would be malicious ignorance -

    Malicious ignorance. It's hard to disagree with this, but at the same time, I'm not sure how a business person is suppose to know about this - I suppose you could say it's their job to research this as a business owner, and that's hard if not impossible to argue. But like the Linux discussion in general, there is so much FUD surrounding open source software, made even worse by the media,, and sales people trying to get a leg up.

    intentionally covering up proposed answers without even considering them and lying to cover it up.

    I'm not sure that this applies to Dustin's situation - he said that management doesn't want to give up the 1% that his open source solution won't solve, so it sounds like there was at minimum a reason to try the other solution, even if Dustin doesn't like it.

    THey might do it subconsciously. They might have done it so many times in the past that they aren't thinking about it any more. But at the end of they day, your argument doesn't hold up as providing any sort of excuse.

    I'm not saying my argument has to stand up, but its one they have/use just the same.

    It's human nature to not accept blame/responsibility - of course this isn't good for the end game of a business, but I'd be surprised if 'passing the buck' isn't a valid evolutionary trait.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    All of your proposed arguments as to why they chose what they chose come back to one base thing - a malicious starting point. Malicious because they want to hurt someone or malicious because they are willing to. But the malicious point remains. We are dealing with people who are misleading others for what we assume is personal gain and providing false information to do so. Not many non-malicious situations actually lead to something like that. We want and hope that we can justify this kinds of things happening through honest means, and there are rare cases where they do, but in general malicious intent is the root the majority of the time. Especially in a case where we are essentially expecting it to happen.

    Are you saying that saving face is malicious intent?



  • @Dashrender said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @scottalanmiller said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    If they don't know what open source in then making up false facts about it to dismiss it would be malicious ignorance -

    Malicious ignorance. It's hard to disagree with this, but at the same time, I'm not sure how a business person is suppose to know about this - I suppose you could say it's their job to research this as a business owner, and that's hard if not impossible to argue. But like the Linux discussion in general, there is so much FUD surrounding open source software, made even worse by the media,, and sales people trying to get a leg up.

    • Common sense
    • Any amount of effort
    • Yes, it is their job
    • Sales people promoting things should be a flag to research it, not make it confusing
    • The malicious point is the guy lying to them for personal gain


  • @Dashrender said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    @scottalanmiller said in Ripping the bandaid off of the Sunk Cost Fallacy Issue:

    All of your proposed arguments as to why they chose what they chose come back to one base thing - a malicious starting point. Malicious because they want to hurt someone or malicious because they are willing to. But the malicious point remains. We are dealing with people who are misleading others for what we assume is personal gain and providing false information to do so. Not many non-malicious situations actually lead to something like that. We want and hope that we can justify this kinds of things happening through honest means, and there are rare cases where they do, but in general malicious intent is the root the majority of the time. Especially in a case where we are essentially expecting it to happen.

    Are you saying that saving face is malicious intent?

    Yes, absolutely 100%. Doing something to hurt someone else for the purpose of personal gain (saving face) is totally malicious. Malicious does not imply a desire to hurt someone, only a willingness to do it which is likely the case here. Saving face is literally a "saving face" way of stating "malicious intent."