analytical Q May-Aug 2000 Sept-Dec 2000 Jan-Apr 2001 Discussion

The Diary
Anne Ku

26 March 2001 Monday





The law of diminishing marginal utility or returns is probably one of the important things I learned in Economics 101. When you're hungry, the first bite of pizza gives you the greatest satisfaction. Each additional bite is less satisfying than the previous.

I am now teetering on negative returns from attending conferences. Since last July, I've been going to conferences left, right, and centre. Or am I just tired from travelling so much?

When the conference organiser asked me at the end of day on what I would write about, I struggled to answer. The truth was that I didn't find anything really interesting. My transatlantic jet lag didn't help matters either, as I tried hard not to fall asleep in the dimly lit rooms.

Has the industry not moved or was this conference badly organised? I voiced my concern to a fellow delegate during dinner. I was worried about the possibility of becoming bored in my new job. Would I see patterns in events, like all my previous jobs, and switch off?

I confess. I am terrified of boredom. Diminishing marginal returns is the beginning of that. Overdoing it is one way of curbing my cravings - and I have certainly done it by over-scheduling my time and over-meeting people and over-attending conferences. Luckily, life is sinusoidal. I just have to abstain from this sort of activity for awhile. And I will return to increasing marginal returns!