A method to select among multiple law firms, software packages, or whatever (but beware a risk)

If a team has to choose a software package from a group of contenders, one way to do that is to choose between package 1 and package 2, then between the winner of that and package 3, then between the winner of the first two competitions and the next package, until you are done. As explained by John D. Barrow, 100 Essential Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know: Math Explains Your World (Norton 2008) at 169-171, this sounds efficient and logical, but maybe it is not fair.

The outcome depends heavily on the order of packages chosen. If the stronger packages eliminate each other in the early stages, paradoxically a weak package can end up selected.

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