How does math come in handy? Math and business and WOVN
This is T.T, and I’m writing for day twenty-four of the WOVN Advent Calendar.
I majored in Math in university, and even now as a worker I often get asked how math helps society, so I thought I’d take this chance to explain a bit.
Math skills help you understand and explain things logically
The syllogism “A=B and B=C, therefore A=C” is a basic logical explanation, but numbers are also often used to aid understanding.
X^2 - a = 0
1. If a < 0, then this problem can’t be solved (don’t worry about cases with imaginary numbers)
2. If a >= 0, then x = ±√a
I think we’ve all split various problems up like so, and when having a conversation, you can also make presumptions like “of all the patterns (splits) possible, choosing this answer leads to the conclusion XX.”
“If it’s unsolvable, then a < 0. And if x = ±√a, then a >= 0.” These would be the resulting trains of thought. (Technically, just because a proposition is true doesn’t mean the converse will be true, so prioritize intuitive understanding over strict explanations.)
In this case,
x^2 - a^2 = (x-a)(x+a)
would be a factorization. This solution also breaks down (factorization) a complicated task into a simple task. Likewise, even during complicated discussions, you’ll be able to understand when there are only two points at the core.
In the business world, it’s often recommended to categorize your discussion into three points from the beginning. Splitting your explanation into three points makes it easier for the person listening to understand, and even with making three categories, you’re performing factorization.
Math is not bound by common sense (but by definitions)
In elementary school, we all learned that the sum of a triangle’s interior angles is 180 degrees. So do you think that a triangle with an interior angle sum of 270 degrees exists?
Common sense would tell you otherwise, but it does exist.
Think about a sphere (example: the earth). You head straight south from the North Pole to the equator, turn right (east) at a 90-degree angle and proceed along the equator, travel 1/4 of the circumference of the sphere and head back to the North Pole.
All of these angles equal 90 degrees, right?
So whenever I’m told something is “normal” or “common sense,” I’ve learned to ask myself “Normal where? Common sense for who?”
On the other hand, I also keep in mind definitions for things like in the image above, such as “What is a straight line? What is a triangle?”
Triangle: A figure consisting of three points that are not on the same straight line and three-line segments that connect them.
Straight line: Out of those lines, the shortest path between any two points on a line.
(Using a strict definition or axiom here would make things more complicated, so please forgive me for not doing so.)
Making sure that definitions are first set to hold up an issue is important, and decisions aren’t left to “general opinions” or “common sense.”
This sense of “definitions” in the business realm comes into play when figuring out which stance and viewpoint your words are based on - those of your company or those of the customer.
If you nurture your math skills, you’ll develop a way of thinking that isn’t swayed by common sense.
Math and business and WOVN
I’ve shared with members at WOVN before, but
“What’s the probability of a die landing on a 1?”
“One in six.”
“Then what’s the probability of it landing on a 1 the next time you throw it after that?”
“One in six.”
“And the probability of it being a 1 after it landing 100 times in a row on a 1?”
“One in six.”
That’s how a textbook would explain things, but when you change your viewpoint and ask,
“What do you think the odds are of this die being rigged?”
most people would assume it’s high.
When we’re in textbook mode, we tend to give typical textbook answers. Based on the definition above, you’d be thinking, “What kind of a definition for a die is that?” but those who think it’s possible for such a die to exist are the ones who go in a crazy and unique direction when it comes to work.
WOVN is still a start-up company. We can’t just handle things using textbook logic. We have to use our own experiences, intuition, and fresh ways of thinking to keep coming up with ideas that have never been heard of and doing things that have never been done, which I find amazing.
# Writer Profile
Name (pen name): T.T
Division: Sales & Marketing
Time at WOVN: Two and a half years