THE BLOG
05/23/2014 12:05 pm ET Updated Jul 23, 2014

Why BubbleBreaker is a Roadmap of Every Strategic Decision Ever Made

I am the proud owner of a very old dumbphone. The Motorola Q9 came out circa 2008, and was considered smart when it was first introduced. Though it may be antiquated by today's standards, it does exactly what I need to this day. One of the novelty items of the phone was a game called BubbleBreaker. Basically, the game had you searching for groupings of similarly colored bubbles, and when you selected that group you got points. That group disappeared, and the bubbles above dropped down to take their places. The larger the group, the more points you earned.
The game was super simple, yet I realized after playing it on random occasions that the many scenarios that occur in the game [I play it more now than before] parallel everything that happens to us when we make a strategic decision. Fallout, leverage, bonuses, regret, huge wins and downward spirals -- all from this seemingly simple cellphone distraction.

The act of decision making is something that most people make too much out of. Sure, a decision could do some real damage if made incorrectly, but decisions are typically manageable if made strategically -- by looking ahead at contingencies, what-if scenarios, risks and gambles we can bias a decision towards helping us to not only move forward, but to help us react and recover if we're wrong. Because let's face it, none of us is ever right 100% of the time. The question should not be "what did you do wrong?" but rather "how are you going to fix this and move on?"

BubbleBreaker rewarded you for taking the time to analyze and think ahead. Like the game Connect Four, when you select a group of bubbles, new and potentially different colored bubbles take their place. This means that you can set yourself up for a huge score, or you can screw up the board enough to prevent any real chance of recovering. This same set-up scenario shows up in other games like Chess, though not at the same level of complexity.

Strategic decision making has little to do with being right. General Custer was right when he surmised "Dang, I believe we are outnumbered." Look where it got him. Being ready is more important than just being right. Real strategy comes from having back-up plans, second sources, alternate routes and safety supplies. It's having the ability -- no actually creating the ability -- to cover anything that can go wrong so that you don't lose momentum.

People say you can't create luck, but you sure as hell can create contingency.

BubbleBreaker was a crude yet interesting game that was part of a 2008 cellphone. It's simplicity was downright deceiving, yet the lessons that it provided can today still teach even the shrewdest of decision-makers a thing or two about moving forward. Forget how basic it is and consider what it can teach you.

Because a simple little game can offer a treasure trove of innovative ideas...