I'm always into exploring why good things sometimes happen and sometimes don't. Chief among those is when there's a known best practice that some people follow, and others neglect. Why is this the case?
Taylor's one of the smartest people I know, and so I shot him an email to ask about this. I think his reply is very insightful and he gave me the go-ahead to share it.
"Good stuff. Coincidentally this week's TSR is Celerity #2: Power Laws. Covered similar ground.
Why do you reckon people are unable/unwilling to do turn down minor gains to focus on large gains? It puzzles me, but it's incredibly common. Rare are the people like Justin Mares, Noah Kagan, James Clear who go right to the heart of things. Thoughts?"
"I think James is a particularly interesting example. I talk to him every month or so and he is really good at just seeing through the BS and knowing "these two actions will produce the most results and I will just do them."
My sense is that it's a combination of
That line stuck with me --
"Business is not that complicated so I think people that are intellectually-inclined often create useless challenges just to keep from being bored."
Yeah, that seems true. Potentially devastating, but -- true. Worth meditating on some.
Very true on all counts. I would add an adjunct to #3 - ego also drives useless challenges in many cases. Far too often I find myself overengineering solutions because I am enamored with my cleverness in building something dripping with technical elegance, when all I need is an 80% solution that gets the job done.
Yes on : Business is not that complicated so I think people that are intellectually-inclined often create useless challenges just to keep from being bored.
Also people with blocks or resistance do this. They imagine something will be hard or require lots of staff or money to do. So never start the task, or make it a struggle.
I agree with this. I think some other issues make a difference here too.
For instance, large companies often keep large amounts of liquid cash sitting around (infamous tech-industry examples: Apple, Microsoft.) When Microsoft was growing 40% per year it had many billions in uninvested cash sitting around - HUH? WHY NOT PUT IT IN YOUR 40% YoY GROWTH ENGINE?
Answer: unexpected opportunities. If you have a bunch of cash/time/energy that isn't invested, it gives you a lot of ability to seize opportunities. If you're seriously working on one or two massive-yield, high-risk, hard-to-drop activities, they had better work. You won't be taking advantage of anything else that comes down the pike. You're full up.
Usually, best practices are consistent, low-yield advantages that take a predictable amount of effort. That's great for keeping the gains you have. But "filling up" on best practices -- taking up too much of your time with predictable, low-yield investments -- prevents the big-project gains *and* prevents any big new opportunities from happening.
You mention "domain expertise" above. One aspect of it is "how many new opportunities will show up this year, and what is the expected value of dropping what I'm doing to grab them?"
If you're manufacturing soap, spend your days on disciplined, low-yield best practices. If you're a venture capitalist or a general, keep most of your energy "liquid," ready to take advantage of new opportunities.
Plus, of course, even a disciplined player isn't always *good* at what they do, and even an amazing player sometimes takes a big risk and loses. It's easy to look at failed risks as foolish, even when "probability times expected value" was pretty good.
You could substitute in the word "initiative," "goal," or "target" if you don't like mantra. I'm not a believer in anything new agey or mystical. Rather, for me, "mantra" captures a complex and detailed idea in a short word or phrase. They're things I'm working on.
I was brainstorming at a cafe what I'm working on, what's most crucial in terms of development. This is the list I came to -
Create Enterprise Start day productive Focus Celerity I don't need to feel good to do the right thing.
In greater detail:
I don't really like the way comments are on this site. You know what I mean? It is confusing to have comments with different hierarchical levels display at the same level visually. This happens when you scroll down so that a non- root-level comment will be dragged all the way to the left. In this way, a real root node, displayed further down the screen, will take up the same amount of horizontal space as this child node, and then all hell breaks loose. I can't tell what's the parent of what, and who replied where, and all the fuzziness happened.
---By the way, I don't really plan on having anyone read this, so if you are reading it, please know that I usually am more coherent than this. My brain is kind of fried fries.
On Reddit, you can open and close layers of comments and their children. I find this very useful, because sometimes I want to disregard the shit out of shit.
I was thinking, maybe it would be good if you could click "Focus on this Comment" on a comment and then you'd be like 'Wow'. Because then it would move it over to the leftest point, and you'd only see its children. Then you could "Focus on this Comment" on one of its children. Then you could go back to the first one, by using the browser history. Then, you would be happiness.
Possibly also, there could be different colors for different levels of posts. That way, nobody would get lost trying to keep track of which parent is parent.