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Qualities – The engineering tool, not the buzz word, (Theory)


Lead Engineer, Michael Kirk-

On this website, we will use things like Calories, Vitamin A (g), Amount of 4G data/$. These qualities can be measured.

Or I can use it in my personal life. Label Maker- Hooks up to PC(True/False), inkless(True/False), doesnt use proprietary label paper(True/False), Cost($), size of label(inches).

These allow things to be compared objectively and without bias from brands and their marketing. Or if you do drink cooperate koolaid, this can help ensure you get the best product they offer.

Understanding the word Quality with an example

Suppose you need to buy a computer, consider what you want in a computer.

Do you want a fast computer, one that doesn’t slow down under movies, most video games, CAD, Photoshop, a video editor, and mobile? Do you only need something that runs Excel and a Browser? You can use qualities to find you the highest quality option at the lowest cost. There is even a situation that someone might have to give Apple money.

Qualities can be as simple as True/False or more complex/specific with numerical values. This depends on how much effort you want to put into collecting data. More time spent collecting information will give you a better end result, but this may not be necessary if you are buying something in the $0-$20 range. This may be more important when buying something in the $100-$1000 range.

When choosing a fast computer(as described above), you can choose the quality metric- Dedicated Video Card? (True/False). Or, you can use a numerical value of a standard Video Card Benchmark. Choice is yours to how you want to spend your time.

You could include RAM(GB of Memory), Storage Space(SSD or HDD). Deciding if these qualities are necessary to your decision is up to you.

Apple may meet your quality metrics, but they have the highest cost. This causes them to fall into last place quality per dollar (Not to mention their support for Chinese dictatorships), you wouldn’t buy an Apple product unless you had to. Suppose you need to compile an App for iPhone owners. In that case, there would be a quality called, Can compile for iOS (True/False). In that event, you are forced to buy an Apple product, you can still apply the previous advice. You don’t need video editing or fast speed, you need something that lets you compile.

These qualities can be compared to help you choose a $600 gaming laptop, a $200 used computer, or a $1000 barebones used Mac Mini.

Doing Math with Quality

Choosing a quality.

Start by brainstorming what qualities matter. In engineering this could be the max voltage for a transistor, at home it could be the number of inches a TV is. Don’t worry exactly how you will measure it, or the units. Focus on the problem you are looking to solve, and consider what qualities you need to achieve.

Choosing a dimension for a quality

Time to consider dimensions. It helps if there is an ‘objective measurement’, inches for a TV is generally something you are going to care about. You can extend this quality into multiple measurements. Diagonal in, width in, height in. Your decision how detailed you make your study. This can also be a simple Boolean True/False, ‘Does this allow me to connect via USB?’. (Also I have stopped making the Boolean/Bouillon joke, I get too many emails.)

You can even use subjective values, like a 0-10 ranking. Consider ‘coolness’, you could do a subjective 0/10 to 10/10. Its not perfect, but any measurement gets you closer than emotion.

Gather Data

After looking at lots of t-tables, it seems like there is a fantastic benefit in certainty to take even 2 samples. I personally recommend taking 3 samples because you get a 3x benefit in certainty by taking 3 samples over 2 samples. All that being said, if you want to actually be correct, you can take a larger sample. The most time conscious person should check 2 options, but I highly recommend 3 for lazy people. Weirdly enough confidence increases, but the diminishing returns are early. Fun fact, your airbags are officially tested 3 times.

Sometimes you need to get creative, if all you have available is the average caffeine content of coffee per liter, you might need to use it and make a note of how you came up with it. If the deciding factor comes down to this estimation, it may be worth spending more of your resources to figure out a better estimate.

Doing Math with it

Now that you have numbers, you can begin to compare. Its common to sort by max/min, but you can also do other useful things. Inches of TV divided by Cost of TV is the unit In/$, which later can be sorted for max/min. Other units I’ve used, mg Vitamin A/Calorie, mg Vitamin A/Gram of Broccoli. Protein per Second.

Making a decision

After you sort the data, you should learn a lot about the options. You can eliminate poor performers and begin focusing on the difference between the best options.

Where you can apply Quality for Correct Decisions

Ideas- Phones, Food, Contractors, Colleges, Degrees, Cars, Video Game systems, Laundry Detergents, and more. This website is full of comparisons, the best ROI I’ve seen on comparing quality per dollar was health insurance.

Next time you spend money, especially on big purchases, consider what quality metrics you care about. This will prevent corporate marketing from using psychology tricks on you. You save money, you get the best product.

Efficient Careers, Youtube Cooking Videos, Essential Fats and Amino Acids, Physical Cookbooks


5 new releases this quarter

  1. Our first ever physical cookbooks, Efficiency Is Everything In Cooking and New Perfect Eating. These recipes are free digitally In Cooking pdf and Perfect Eating article.
  2. New Recommendations – Essential Amino Acids and Essential Fats when eating for ~$1.50/day. Bonus nutrition information as we are building a calculator including every essential nutrient, essential amino acid, essential fat, antivitamin, and provitamin the human body needs(Minimum/RDA) and max(Dangerous).
  3. We Cook on Youtube- See how we eat for $1.50 per day, feat Dr. Mandy Kirk.
  4. Minor Article: Long term conclusions from our Restaurant study

Feature Article

The decisions you make at 18 years old changes everything. A veteran contacted me having no college debt and $400k in mortgages at the age of 23. We have 3 others compete to beat ‘5 years to the American Dream’.
American Dream Per Dollar– Efficiency Is Everything studies Career paths, change your life and make money in years.

Bonus Shoutout: Dr. Alex Harrison has a DIY Gatorade for endurance athletes

Tips/Reminders

Read books/play musical instruments while watching your favorite sports. (~6hrs/week)

Eat more $1.50/day recipes, try once a week until you learn the recipes. (Saves $100-$10,000/yr + delicious healthy food)

If you must go to restaurants, dollar menu/loss leaders (400 Calories Per Dollar vs 100 Calories Per Dollar)

Bored and ready to buy entertainment? Save money and watch Philosophy videos on youtube. (Stoicism and Tao Te Ching are popular)

Invest.

Wish you the best,
Michael Kirk
Lead Engineer

American Dream Per Dollar, the lowest cost path to a degree and 400k home.


I was talking to an Efficiency Is Everything User who is the owner of multiple homes and a college degree with no college debt, age 25.

I was curious what the most optimal path to this ‘American Dream’ of being college debt free and owning a 400k USD home. Note- I personally don’t know if I support personal home mortgages, but this can otherwise be viewed as-

“Paid College degree and $80,000”

We have Michael and Mandy Kirk, Austin, and Francesca racing to 80k.

Michael(Me) and Dr. Mandy Kirk

I saved a few thousand dollars by being stingy as a child, knowing I’d need to pay for college. I worked a retail clothing job making ~9k yr until I got coop job turned midnight shift job paying 38k/yr. This worked out as I took 60 credits at the community college and 68 credits at our local university, living off campus(19k/yr expense). Year 2 my parents loaned me $9k USD to pay for college and I was able to pay it back by graduation with the help of my process technician job.

From there it was engineering money. And both the costs and the benefits of my wife’s Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. We finally bought our house 9 years after high school graduation. Speaking of benefits, Dr. Mandy now has over 40 patients per week.

9 Years.

Michael Kirk(Individual Run)

Suppose in 2012 I didn’t buy a wedding ring and doctorate degree. I hit 80k+ savings year 7.

7 Years.

Austin

A veteran Active Duty Marine uses benefits to get free college and VA loans that require no down payment. The catch is that you need 4 years of Active Duty. (Austin did 5 years Active Duty)

Austin then found a college that you could take tests to get credits toward the degree. He could study for the tests, take them, and get credit for the classes. The total cost of his bachelor degree was $~7200, the government paid for almost all of it by being in the Air Force or Army Reserves. In 2020 Austin finished his Bachelors degree and got a pay raise to $115,000/yr. Or so he expected, until he was called upon in the reserves. Its both a pay cut and cost of living cut as he no longer needs the place he currently rents. He currently is getting the government to pay for his masters degree.

This is a way to get the same outcome and meets the goal-line. Reminder, this could be shorter with 4 years active duty or using reserves.

7 Years.

Francesca

Our conversation started off with her teaching piano lessons and saving money since she was 13. Even with us only tracking her from 18 on, she had Money figured out. After her first year of college she worked a intern job, taught piano, and did school. When you make ~20k profit per year before graduating college you are going to win this race.

Some notes about this lifestyle. She said her parents were annoying and work was more tolerable than being home. And one time she almost fell asleep teaching piano lessons.

5 Years.

Conclusions and Errors

Here is the raw data. Francesca wins the race by the numbers.

However, is the race to a downpayment on a 400k house a good metric?

Upon finishing the race the Engineer and Dr of Physical Therapy has a revenue close to 300k/yr, Francesca makes teacher pay.

The Final Ultimate Answer – Job/Reserves for 2 years while working a second job and getting a high value degree.

Marry a doctor.

Possibly join the reserves as they have $5k/yr or higher benefit toward school plus access into potentially high paying ‘top secret’ government jobs. It takes ~39 days per year x8 hour days, a benefit of about 16$/hr.

Or maybe you get a factory engineering job and learn about Industrial Engineering while attending engineering school.

The trend is having no time and high value degrees. Anecdote: I thought the weekends and money was nice.

Bonus note: Western Governors University allows you to test out of classes, saving money. Might be worth considering a college that lets you do this.

Outro

Hope this was engineering enough, but for such a critical life decision as a career it seems necessary for Efficiency Is Everything to cover it. Completing a suggested path is going to be difficult, but consider it like exercising a muscle in toughness- wait, that’s not engineering.

Wish you the best,
Lead Engineer
Michael Kirk

Dates Per Dollar- Dates compared by Price, Privacy, Creativity, and Classiness


Lead Engineer-Michael Kirk

Our Intern Josh has collected data to find the best dates, given various quality metrics and cost.

The Data – Comparing How To Save Money On Dates

This data uses specific pricing, and has gas costs calculated using a common location. While the description on this website is generic(Coffee Date), the detailed description(Atomic Coffee Royal Oak, 2 Cinnamon Dolce Latte) can be found in our raw data – Click Here.

Classy, Creative, and Public were subjectively decided on a scale from 0-10, and based on that given a True/False value. This is considered Boolean, as it has only 2 possible values.

Given how specific this data is, but how varied prices and distances to locations in your own life, the data should be compared on a scale. For instance, 100-400 Minutes Per Dollar are similar. 7-10 Minutes Per Dollar are similar. There is a drastic difference between 5 Minutes Per Dollar and 20 Minutes Per Dollar. This is mentally doing Logarithms with the data.

Note: Clicking the Column names will sort, and if you click in a specific order, IE: Minutes Per Dollar, then Creative, you can see a comparison of qualities without opening the raw data.

Date Cost Minutes Spent Minutes of Date Per Dollar Classy Creative Public
Park $0.30 120 400.0 FALSE TRUE TRUE
Animal Watching $0.30 45 150.0 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Tennis $1.20 120 100.0 FALSE FALSE FALSE
Hike $7.50 180 24.0 TRUE TRUE FALSE
Cooking Date Night $10.00 180 18.0 FALSE TRUE FALSE
Party $18.00 300 16.7 TRUE FALSE TRUE
Mall $10.60 140 13.2 FALSE TRUE TRUE
Beach $16.00 180 11.3 FALSE TRUE TRUE
Fair/Festival $17.00 180 10.6 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Long Distance travel with 2 night hotel $282.50 2880 10.2 TRUE TRUE FALSE
Zoo $36.40 300 8.2 FALSE FALSE TRUE
Store $14.90 120 8.1 FALSE TRUE TRUE
Apple Orchard $16.50 120 7.3 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Drive in $37.00 240 6.5 FALSE FALSE FALSE
Swimming $21.50 120 5.6 FALSE FALSE TRUE
72 Mile Roadtrip $21.75 120 5.5 TRUE TRUE FALSE
Museum $21.80 120 5.5 TRUE TRUE TRUE
DIA $32.80 180 5.5 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Netflix’N’Chill $10.99 60 5.5 FALSE FALSE FALSE
Coffee Date $11.50 60 5.2 TRUE FALSE TRUE
Downtown Free $13.00 60 4.6 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Fair/Festival all day(Drink,booth,etc) $82.00 360 4.4 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Science Center $42.80 180 4.2 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Mini Golf $14.50 60 4.1 FALSE FALSE TRUE
Picnic with drinks $15.30 60 3.9 TRUE TRUE FALSE
Fair/Festival with 2 drinks each $53.00 180 3.4 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Local Concert $55.40 180 3.2 FALSE FALSE TRUE
Wine Tasting $14.60 45 3.1 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Movie at Emagine with 2 Beers $47.50 140 2.9 TRUE FALSE TRUE
Normal movie at Emagine $44.50 130 2.9 FALSE FALSE TRUE
Low Cost Movie $45.00 130 2.9 FALSE FALSE TRUE
Thrift store $21.20 60 2.8 FALSE TRUE TRUE
Downtown Bar $46.00 120 2.6 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Ice cream/ frozen yogurt $12.00 30 2.5 FALSE FALSE TRUE
Ski $169.50 360 2.1 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Bar $28.30 60 2.1 TRUE FALSE TRUE
Bowling $22.20 45 2.0 FALSE FALSE TRUE
Flea Market $31.40 60 1.9 FALSE TRUE TRUE
Gym $50.30 90 1.8 FALSE FALSE TRUE
Aquarium $51.00 80 1.6 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Pro Sporting event with pregame $201.00 300 1.5 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Pro Sporting event $161.00 240 1.5 TRUE TRUE TRUE
International Concert $286.00 360 1.3 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Dinner at Chilis $47.70 60 1.3 FALSE FALSE TRUE
Dinner at Red Lobster $55.20 60 1.1 TRUE FALSE TRUE
International Concert with drinks $338.00 360 1.1 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Fast food $15.30 15 1.0 FALSE FALSE TRUE
Laser tag $32.00 30 0.9 FALSE TRUE TRUE
Cooking Class $171.20 140 0.8 FALSE TRUE TRUE
Dinner at Capital Grille $94.50 60 0.6 TRUE FALSE TRUE
Dinner at Melting Pot $121.14 60 0.5 TRUE TRUE TRUE
Psychic $153.00 70 0.5 FALSE TRUE TRUE

Interpreting Dates Per Dollar

Parks, beaches, trails, and outdoor activities are the lowest cost Dates. The cost comes from gas money, parking, and cost for entry. These are top results because they are low cost and have the potential to provide hours of entertainment.

On a similar note, public locations like the Mall and Local Festivals can also be a good value, as long as your spending doesn’t get out of control. These have the benefit of being potentially multi hour activities despite being more expensive than free locations.

Comparing these low cost options, to getting Ice Cream or Coffee, these have similar costs as a low cost trip to the mall, but last under an hour. This is the benefit of comparing items Minutes Per Dollar rather than cost alone.

More expensive activities include visiting Museums and Art Institutes, but are a better value than visiting a restaurant.

Classy and Creative Dates

Looking at the best values and including non traditional dates(Creative) and non embarrassing dates(Classy) give some fantastic recommendations-

It may be helpful to know your Partner, and how to make these experiences memorable.

Privacy- Good for Romance, Bad for Creepers

Public dates are something that is either desired or can put a dampen on your romance. A first blind date likely will be at a public location, while by the end of the night, you may want to be alone.

Most dates are in public locations where people do business, making low cost first dates plentiful in options.

Finding privacy can be more difficult. Dates that involve traveling give you the option to find uninhabited areas.

Best Dates

It seems the ‘wholesome’ date ideas like Hiking and Visiting Museums are a better value than ones that involve quick indulging like eating/drinking.

These are perceived Creative and Classy, give you plenty of time to spend together, and are affordable on seemingly every budget.

If you are struggling to get a first date, check out low effort ways to improve your appearance.