The Money Value Function

posted Dec 04, 2007
in Programming

This entry is part of the BlogBook called "Programming Wisdom".

I've loosely defined the value function (link) to only compare two "things", without further specifying what "things" it can take, because some things we put in there (like CloseToFamily) are fundamentally non-numeric properties. But some people have their own specializations of this value function. One that almost nobody will admit to using, but a lot of people live by, is the Money value function. This function takes just one argument and returns a single concrete number with the unit "Dollars" (or relevant local currency).

I do not recommend this function for personal use, but it is a value function you should become familiar with, because it is the one in use by businesses.

This sounds horrible, but the horror doesn't intrinsically come from using a dollar-based function. It comes from the valuation the business places upon the non-concrete factors like ``employee happiness'' and other such things. Contrary to popular belief, no company can afford to put a negatively-infinite valuation on employee happiness, nor can they afford a true zero (if nothing else local labor laws, unions, or if necessary vigilante justice will impose some lower limit), but certainly very low values can be used.

It is the nature of that function that differentiates companies, not whether or not they have one.


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