How we utilize our resources determines our ROI. But it’s amazing that even while a small group of people understand the measurement and comparison tool; Utility (essentially “a good outcome”), few realize that everything in life has a level of quality.

Technology is fraught with this ignorance, hardware especially. People frequently go to Best Buy or Amazon and make purchases based on merely surface level information, and don’t realize that all things are designed, created, manufactured, and produced differently.

A great example is when people purchase a flash drive, aiming for the most gigabytes per dollar, but totally miss the fact that the quality of the drive changes the utility of the device massively. Things such as transfer speed are rarely mentioned, so people just think that a certain drive offering is overpriced, rather than higher quality — and then they wonder why some drives will transfer a movie twice as fast as another drive.

A sad side effect of ignorance of the principle of “quality” are companies like Monster with infamous offerings like this. Yes, it’s a $275 HDMI cable. What’s shocking is the quality difference is basically zero between that product and this which costs $2.49. They both have almost exactly the same utility, but yet the Monster product costs 110 times more. This leads to people trying to save money by skimping where they shouldn’t, and then buying something overpriced without needing to.

More businesses like this are Skullcandy, Beats by Dre, Bose, or Sol. They operate on the ignorance of the market who don’t understand the true quality of the product, so they market high price as an indicator of quality, and therefore utility.

The word “quality” can also mean the character of something or someone, this is why people will say that someone has the “quality of courage”. This is why the people we spend time with have quality levels as well. Even our resources themselves have quality levels, which is why there’s a difference between spending time with someone, and spending quality time with them.  Other examples of quality levels are of books you’re reading, movies you’re watching, clothing, or even your thoughts.

Understanding the quality of quality can help you cut through persuasion and hype by seeking the true quality of the investment you’re performing a CBA on, so that you can receive the highest ROI on utility.