Let's say that a big staffing contract goes out to bid, should you go after it? What if winning it means that your attention and your best candidates suddenly start going to this new account instead of to your retail accounts? How many erstwhile competitors have you seen go down the tubes chasing volume? But doesn't that volume sometimes help a smaller business hone processes and get candidate and sales activities up to a meaningful level?

Game theory helps address questions like these. Here's a brain teaser that can help get your game theory brain in gear. I'll send a $25 Starbucks card to first one to email me the correct answer.

A marginal, high-volume staffing contract becomes available in a city with n staffing companies (where n is some number greater than 10). Any staffing company can win the contract, as each of them knows, but it would become so tired that it would become defenseless --easy prey for another staffing company to conquer and then itself become defenseless. The staffing companies are hungry (equally so for the initial staffing contract or taking over the other staffing companies). They're all super rational, but naturally not suicidal. Does any staffing company pounce on the contract?

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