In a zero-sum game, the winner goes home with everything, and the loser gets nothing. A classic example of a zero-sum game is the card game Poker. In each hand, the winning participant gets the “pot”, which is made up of bets contributed by other players. There is no situation where all participants win.
When it comes to building products, one challenge is finding products where all participants do in fact win: a non zero-sum product. In a non zero-sum product, incentives are aligned among participants, which means that by improving any part of the product, all of the participants are better off.
Marketplaces like Airbnb and eBay are obvious non zero-sum products, but other types of products can be as well. In fact, in most products the participants all benefit in some way, or they wouldn’t be participating, but some products more naturally benefit all involved participants more than others.
The closer a product is to a true non-zero sum game, the more rewarding it is to build and improve. Axon builds non zero-sum products that benefit both law enforcement and communities. Our goal is to drastically reduce the amount of time officers spend on paperwork. By building products that significantly cut paperwork time, we will give officers more time to focus on helping their communities instead of wrestling with kludgy software. It's empowering to know that each optimization we make in our product's user-experience workflows can directly translate into a benefit for the community that officer serves.
The Axon body camera and Evidence.com are also non-zero sum products. Body cameras offer an unbiased perspective which increases transparency for communities while also protecting officers from false complaints. The improvements that we continue to make in our body cameras and digital evidence management platform yield benefits to both communities and officers.
True non-zero sum products are challenging to find, but are extremely rewarding to work on when you find them. Being able to focus relentlessly on improving the core product knowing that it will naturally have a positive impact on all involved participants is a great feedback loop.