Tonight’s theme was Conspiracy Theory. Christopher Tso delivered a Toast to the inventor of the Internet, Tim Berners-Lee. As the world is moving towards more authoritarian governments, we can no longer take for granted our freedom of speech and freedom to transact. The Internet is helping us protect our freedoms because of its decentralised nature, and provides a check-and-balance on governments overstepping their boundaries.
The Word of the Night role was empty due to the assigned member having to stay home to fix things after the storm hit. Luckily, Johnny Manolelis had a spare word already prepared. It was “salubrious”.
Table Topics was hosted by Johnny Manolelis. The unlucky audience members had to pretend that they really believe in the conspiracy theory presented by Johnny, and had to explain it. We explained black helicopters, global warming, the JFK assinnation and Area 51. It was a challenging and entertaining session.
We had 3 prepared speeches.
“Jack of Many, Master of None” – Paul Da Silva delivered his Icebreaker speech. He described his journey from South Africa to Australia. He wants to improve his ability to persuade others, which is why he joined Toastmasters.
“How to Ace the Job Interview” – Harper Yang delivered her speech for the Pathways project “Negotiate the Best Outcome”. Job interviews are definitely among the most common negotiation scenes. Harper shared her experience on how she went through this negotiation process with plenty of useful advice.
“Wrong Words” – Molly Yang delivered her speech for the Pathways project “Know your sense of humor”. She shared her personal stories on how words can easily misrepresent your intentions if you are not careful. Molly struggled with this sometimes because she was not a native English speaker. For example, at a previous Toastmasters meeting when everyone was busy packing up and talking to each other, our ex-president Clare said “I feel I’m useless here. Maybe I can go now.”. Molly replied, “Yes you can go”. Haha. Poor Clare. A better way of saying it is “Thanks for your help today. We will see you next time.”
The theme for tonight’s meeting was “Game Theory”. Game theory is a framework for understanding choice in situations among competing players. Game theory can help players reach optimal decision-making when confronted by independent and competing actors in a strategic setting.
During Table Topics, Mark Paton randomly picked audience members to deliver a 1 minute speech on how they would deal with each situation by using game theory. The question not only tested our impromptu public speaking skills, but also listening and problem solving skills! Anyone who participated in Table Topics is probably now an expert at Game Theory! Here were some of the questions:
Prisoners Dilemma – You have committed a serious crime with your best friend – possession of drugs. If you cooperate with the investigation, you will go free and your best friend will go to jail for 20 years. If you keep your mouth shut and don’t cooperate with the investigation, you both get 2 years each. What will you choose?
Cournot Competition – You are one of only two players in the market selling the new and exclusive next-gen smartphones. You can either flood the market with 1,000 phones and sell them for $1,000 each and make $1M. Alternatively, if you only produced 200 phones you would need to sell them for $5,000 or more each. You do not know how much your competitor is selling them for or how much they are producing. What do you do?
Centipede Game – The maximum prize is $5,000 and will go to either yourself or your best friend.
Scenario A; You take $5,000, your friend decides to give it to you, you keep $5,000
Scenario B: You give your friend the money, your friend decided to give you the money and you win $10,000
Scenario C: Both take the money and both get $0.
Dictator Game – Your best friend has been given an unknown sum of money. He or she will give you part of it and keep the rest. If you don’t accept the amount your friend gets nothing. Your friend offers you $500. Do you accept?
Nash Equilibrium – You have a one of a kind smartphone that allows you to teleport yourself from place to place. This is sold for $5,000 per phone and costs you $2,500. A competitor is coming into the market and is planning to undercut you. Their cost is $3,500 and they plan to sell for $4,000. Do you sell for $3,499 destroy your competition and loose profitability or keep your price and margin and allow them to enter.
Coordinator Game – There are 2 smartphone providers in the market. A new microchip technology is available.
If both companies introduce this, they will make $600M each.
If only one company introduces this they make $150M.
If no company introduces this you will continue making $300M
My Toastmasters Reboot – Simon Jia delivered his Icebreaker speech which shared different aspects of his life with us.
Burning the Midday Oil – Aaron Fluery gave us advice on how to manage stress.
What Kind of World Do We Live In? – Johnny Manolelis explained why we should view the world as a friendly place rather than a hostile place. There was also Q&A session at the end where a couple of interesting questions were asked by the audience.
Word of the Night
Satoshi was the word that Chris asked everyone to use as much as possible tonight. A satoshi is the smallest unit of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. It is named after Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of the Bitcoin protocol.
“I just had a satoshi moment. I finally understood how to solve the problem. This is going to be big.”
“Here’s my two sats” – same usage as “here’s my two cents”, but the unit is in satoshis (abbreviated as sats) instead of cents.
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