Monday, 20 August 2012

Haircut Optimisation

Every 3 months I shave off my hair and become a temporary skinhead.  It doesn't last long - but after I've shaved there is usually a reaction (mostly from ladies) along the lines of "Oh we loved your hair as it was - couldn't you have left just a little bit on top?"  Here's what they're missing.  What I am doing in choosing to shave it all off is optimising to achieve maximum efficiency in the transaction.  I don’t do it because I like being a skinhead – I do it because in the intervening time between cuts it grows at an average rate for optimisation.  This kind of transaction applies to many other things too; it could involve money, labour, time or something else that requires a value judgment.  The same basic rule applies, despite our mostly doing this without thinking too hard about why. 

While it is true that for a brief few days the hair is shorter than my optimum length, the gains far outweigh this brief period of shaven-ness.  In the first place, the amount of times I have to shave my head is reduced - and in the second place it is a much simpler and quicker process shaving it all off than trying to obtain consistent lengths over my head surface with, say, a number 1 cut. 

More importantly, my procedure follows a simple rule of having optimum preference for the longest amount of time within two extremes - and this is a model that is easily applicable to other areas of life.  My hair cycle has the period in which it is slightly longer than I'd like and needs cutting, and also a period (as already mentioned) in which it is slightly shorter than I'd like.  But within those two extremities is a large passage of time in which it is within the optimal range for preferred length.

Cleanly shaven all over bzzzzzzzzz!

This is the most sensible approach, and like I said, this kind of transaction is easily applicable to other areas of life.  You follow the same optimising procedure when you fill up your car with fuel or draw money out of the cash point.  You fill the car full (if you can afford to), not because your next immediate trip requires a full tank, but because you want to reduce the frequency of garage trips, and you want to obtain the longest passage of time in which the car has sufficient fuel for almost all of your day to day trips from A to B.  Similarly, when you go to the cash point - when you want to optimise to achieve maximum efficiency in the transaction, you don't just withdraw the cash you want to the next purchase, you draw enough out to keep you replete for several future spending activities. In carrying more than you need at any one time (just like the petrol) you achieve maximum efficiency in the transaction - and this sort of procedure will make your life that little bit better.