My son recently shared a link on Facebook to the following math problem.
40 + 40 x 0 + 1= ? Do you know the answer?
Is it 1?
I have to admit my first guess was wrong! And last time I looked I am not alone in guessing incorrectly. There were about 300,000 people who were right there with me!
What is the correct answer? 41. Why is this the correct answer? because of an important math rule I have long since forgotten since my days in Algebra in High School. That rule is based on the order of operations. You must do the higher order functions first. Multiplication is considered higher order function than addition. The right answer comes from first multiplying 40 times 0 than doing the addition.
I remember thinking once I completed High School I would forget the likes of Algebra, Pre Cal and the other forms of torture I endured in High School. I am a liberal arts major so I only needed what I deemed as practical math.
However I think there is a lesson in this equation that helps me as an entrepreneur. Much like that logical world of mathematics some things come first in business too! There is an order to operations that is in place. It is definitely important to plan and replicate your idea before you add.
So my take away from this math problem? always take a step back before you tackle a problem and make sure you tackle it in the right order!
What do you say? Any other math problems teach important business lessons?