Tomorrow the draw for the next FIFA World Cup, the biggest tournament in soccer, will take place. It will determine which teams are going meet in the group stage in South Africa next year, trying to make it to the knock-out stages.
As usual in these draws, there is a seeding in place. But what’s the point in having a seeding? From a mathematical standpoint it is not necessary at all to seed if you want to determine who’s the best.
Tournament organizers want to make sure not too many of the “big” teams meet early which would increase the probability of a “good” team leaving the tournament early. They want to enjoy the play of good teams for as long as possible (and they also want to enjoy the financial benefit of having a team from a big “soccer country” with a lot of viewers, supporters, etc. in the tournament for a long time).
Do you have a seeding list in your job? If you try to advance a certain topic, do you prefer discussions with easy opponents first or do you try to discuss with the straight-forward, tough and quick guy that always challenges you like hell?
The history of the World Cup has shown that in most cases teams won the tournament that had a rather tough “program” in the early stages. The defending champions, Italy, played Ghana, the Czech Republic and the US in the group stage of the 2006 tournament – arguably one of the toughest groups available.
The point is: If you want an idea to fly, challenge it early and challenge it hard. If it survives that, it will make you and your idea stronger. If it doesn’t, it probably was not going to fly anyway.