Tiny MBA #11: Opt Ins And Outs

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Welcome to today’s Tiny MBA topic: Opt-Ins and Outs.

Definition: Opt-Ins and Outs

‘Opting-In’ is when you make a choice to be part of something. ‘Opting-Out’ is when someone volunteers you for something, and you have to ask to get out of it.

Story: Dirty Dishes and Junk Mail

Have your parents ever asked you to clean up after dinner? That’s an “opt out” situation.

You can try to “opt out” by saying you have too much homework or are too tired, but that doesn’t always work.

A better scenario is if your parents ask for volunteers to clean up. Then if you say yes, you’re “opting-in.”

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Illustration by Madeleine Kelly

“Opt-in” situations are always better than “opt-outs,” because the person gets more of a choice (the word opt means ‘to make a choice’… from the Latin word optare or ‘desire’).

In business, good businesses use ‘opt-ins,’ for example asking if you want to follow them by email or social media.

Bad businesses snare you with opt-out traps like the junk mail that comes to your house, or the spam that comes to your email. They buy your address somewhere and just add you to their list without your permission.

Requesting a junk mail stop or ‘unsubscribing’ from email is a hassle and takes time, so many people don’t bother. They just look at the junk mail and maybe even buy something they didn’t ever want, from those bad companies.

Once you understand opt-ins and opt-outs, you’ll see them everywhere in life. Want to join a club at school? (opt-in) Forced to go on the family outing? (opt-out)

Successful people (and businesses) are usually respectful of other people and give them as many choices as possible. Everyone likes choices!

Tiny MBA is my occasional series of short stories illustrating business concepts for kids.

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