Finite vs. Infinite Games

In game theory, there are two types of games, finite and infinite.

Finite Games Infinite Games
Players Known Known and Unknown
Rules Fixed Changeable
Objective Agreed upon Perpetuate the Game
Example Baseball Cold War

When you pit a finite player vs. a finite player, the system is stable.

When you pit an infinite player vs. an infinite player, the system is stable.

In an infinite game, there are no winners and losers. Because there are no winners or losers, the only thing a player can do is drop out, when he or she no longer has resources or the will to play.

Problems arise when you pit a finite player vs. an infinite player. The finite player gets caught in quagmire.

This happens in business all the time.

The game of business is an infinite game. The concept of business has lasted longer than every single business that exists right now.

The funny thing about business is the number of companies that are playing finite games. They are playing to win, to be the best, to beat the quarter, or the year. And they are always frustrated by that company that has an amazing vision. Over the long term, the infinite player will always win…

This is what happened to the United States in Vietnam.

Learn more by listening to the Simon Sinek video below….