Published November 29th, 2004

Today in Econmics class we were being lectured on Total Profit(TP), Average Costs(AC), Marginal Costs(MC), and Marginal Revenue(MR).

He gave an example, and said that at quanity 6, you would have the highest total profit.

However, using simple math (no really, just multiplication and subtraction), you can see that at quanity 5 you have a higher total profit.

Market Price = $60;

Total Profit = (Market Price - Average Costs) * Quanity

At Q = 5, your Average cost is $50

At Q = 6, your Average cost is $52

Total Profit = ( $60 - $50 ) * 5 = $50

Total Profit = ( $60 - $52 ) * 6 = $48

( $50 > $48 ) = true!

So, the professor was wrong in his example, hey it happens, we are all humans. I raised my hand, and asked if at Q = 5, would you have a higher total profit. I didn’t use a confronting tone, and I didn’t even say he was wrong. Instead of investigating my answer, he told the entire class that I was wrong, and to please not continue since it would mislead the class. I decided to not make a scene, and talk to him after class. Several other people mumbled how I was right… sigh.

Talking to him after the class, he would say ‘I see how you got there’, but not that I was right. Oh well. No reeason to make enemies of all my professors.

So here is the point, one of the most important attributes I like to see in people, is the power to admit when you were wrong. Tony Blair admits he was wrong about Iraq having WMDs, but my economics professor cannot admit he was wrong in a simple example. Heck, last week I started a thread on dev@httpd suggesting that we have an End Of Life Policy for httpd-2.0.x. It quickly became apparent that no one else agreed with me. No reason to create a flamewar when I was wrong, and I admit that the idea in retrospec does not mesh well with Apache’s paradign.

It takes a real man to admit when they are wrong.

Written by Paul Querna, CTO @ ScaleFT. @pquerna