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Least Worst Universal Measure of Value

In the education system I grew up in students get graded 1 to 5 (best). Although those marks look like numbers, they are rank names, so “4” = “second best rank”. This is important because you can’t perform math with ranks, because it clearly makes no sense – 2 people who got a 2 are not the same as 1 person who got a 4, etc.

Except… the larger point of the system is to be able to compare the student’s success using grade averages, which means summing all the grades up and dividing them by their number – in other words: math!**

This makes no sense whatsoever, and it never has.Nevertheless, it’s been and will be used to determine the fates of millions of people simply because it’s accepted as the least-worst way of comparing student success.**

The use of math gives it an illusion of fairness and objectivity, as long as you don’t think about it.

And people

The same goes for hourly pricing of expertise-based services. The impact of our work is hard to understand and even harder to measure, so why not just ignore it and only measure the amount of immediate effort needed to complete the task?

It’s like pricing paintings by counting brush strokes because comparing how the paintings look is too hard.

All of these simplifications have bad consequences, for everyone involved.

When presenting your pricing options, you may have an opportunity to explain this to a client. I urge you to use it.

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