Simple device answers questions just like your boss does


Like many of us, [Bertho] has had plenty if interaction with “Executive” types who seem to make decisions randomly, and most certainly not based upon any sort of reason. As he was picking through parts bins at his local hackerspace, he thought it would be fun to build an “Executive Decision Maker”. The device he had in mind would answer questions at the push of a button, with the kind of randomness that could only be carefully honed through years of barking orders from a corner office.

Constructed from third-rate LEDs and old CMOS chips that were lying around, the operation of the device is quite simple. Much like a Magic 8 Ball, a question is posed, and as [Bertho] states, “The Executive Decision maker automatically tunes into the aether and the subconscious of the user” pressing the “Decide” button. The device then makes a judgement, relaying its answer to the user via an LED display.

We definitely got a good laugh out of this one, so be sure to check out the video after the break to see the Executive Decision Maker in action.


  1. Aaron says:

    Awesome! It’s almost exactly like the one Radio Shack used to sell back when I was a kid!

  2. that1guy says:

    The video gave me a good laugh and was well done. Pretty cool little project!

  3. CustomWelds says:

    Finally I was able to put my mathematical skills to use. Thank you engineering calculus 3, diff eq, and linear algebra!

    There are a total of 35 “questions” asked,
    16 Resulted in NO (45.7142857%)
    19 Resulted in YES (54.2857143%)
    Pretty good probability, and pretty close to real executive decisions I’de say.
    Bravo, good build, good hack!

    • Bertho says:

      Thank you for the analysis. I thought about using the FIPS bitstream random test, but then I would have had to push that damn button 20000 times.

      It did occur to me that I could make a mechanical arm to push the button and then use some photo-sensors to record the result. However, I did not immediately see the parallel to the average executive. If there were a parallel, the mechanics would keep missing the button…

  4. j_at_chaperon says:

    I especially like the looks. It is kept simple, no arduinos, no overkill, just a bunch of leds and some logic. The video is great, nice humour.

  5. Microguy says:

    If it’s exactly like my boss does, why does it have a “YES” display?

  6. MisterPG says:

    or… you could just flip a coin. i’m sure that’s what my boss does.

  7. Dave says:

    Personally, I’d be happy with any decision at all.

  8. andar_b says:

    You mean it doesn’t ridicule you for asking in the first place? Fail ;)

    Nice build.

  9. Nawak says:

    Why the “fast” button? Is it really needed? Couldn’t the device accept rapid presses on “decide”? Or is there something I didn’t understand?

  10. bob says:

    The fact that you HAVE to ask your boss for a decision would already indicate you do not understand the decision process yourself.
    So any comments about the ‘randomness’ of a bosses decision would be irrelevant.

    Plus the device is missing the all-important “Let me get back to you” tri-state.

  11. ClareLove says:

    I guess that’s why they get the big bucks.

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