+1 Sum Game.

Life is a +1 Sum Game.

“You forgot to turn in the cards, so you don’t get the soldiers.” - anyone who has ever played risk.


I was raised on board games. I’ve probably mentioned that a few times, maybe not though, and maybe I should mention it more. Board games are awesome. You can have war, or a hotel empire all in the span of a couple hours… and generally no one gets hurt. Although I have wanted to kill people at the end of some games of Risk.


Games are imitations of the real world. They take finite resources: soldiers, money, houses, wood, water… and they build an interactive game around the decision making between players and the overarching mission. I say imitations, because they aren’t the real thing. Board games have truly finite resources, the winner at the end has the most soldiers or dollars or wood. But there were only ever a certain amount they could win.


In markets of the real world, the assets are limitless, yet we only see what’s in front of us. We limit them, just like the board game, until someone creates a new chess piece.


Imagine for a moment that you are one of the first 10 humans on the planet and you all live in the same cave. That cave is the entire universe of humanity. That cave has all of the value in the world… until one of the humans does the unfathomable, and leaves the cave and lives in a tree, or finds another cave. Immediately doubling the assets controlled by human beings.


Now, think of this concept illustrated over thousands of years. Extrapolate that to tribes of mesopotamians doing transactions with a ledger. Imagine a chicken being worth two cows. Imagine that suddenly there needs to be a unifying medium of exchange. Imagine corporations are created to build velocity of this medium of exchange… You get the idea.


The game that the caveman was playing where it was a zero sum game of one cave, became a two sum game of multiple caves and trees, which leads to markets and ownership and society as we know it. Exploration grows markets.


The reason I write this, besides the fact that I think of things like this throughout my day, is that I see a lot of investors and companies acting like it’s always a zero sum game. They are acting as though there are only a finite amount of resources, and that everyone is playing the same game of monopoly. We are playing global inter dimensional chess, the only rules are make the system better for everyone, and we can invent new pieces at any time.


The game is +1 Sum game. If you win, I win, wealth grows. Markets grow.


  • The idea of a trillion dollar company was unfathomable until it happened.

  • There is a $122B industry of cryptocurrency that was invented 10 years ago.

  • The internet influenced markets globally and caused wealth like we have never seen.


Right when every thinks a game is won, someone makes a new piece. The brain expands, the universe grows, we live in a world of abundance, not scarcity.