STORY INLINE POST
The world is fundamentally too complicated to understand from academic advice and pontification. In a way, it reminds me of the Swinging Sticks Kinetic Energy Sculpture, where because of two interdependent axis of rotation that change with each other, it’s impossible to know at any point in time where the sticks will be exactly:
The only way to actually know how something, where one’s rotational motion affects another, will end up is to watch it. Yes, there are certain single rotational aspects of life that play by one set of rules — humans will always need validation and to feel accepted: it’s written into our DNA. But anything that is affected by another’s motion while it is moving itself may bring us into this different world that plays by seemingly mystical rules. In this mystical world, you need to “launch” to see what will happen and how to move forward.
I help run the leading distributed solar company in Mexico, Bright, and we learned this principle the hard way. In our early years, we thought and thought hard about what products and strategies made sense and then “went all in.” We were disappointed that nine out of 10 efforts failed. We questioned our intelligence and leadership, and then ultimately realized that the world was too complicated to predict, so why try. Instead, it could be better to just run many experiments at low cost, and then double down on those that seemed to work. While our failure rate still is high, the cost and time to hit those failures have decreased dramatically and it looks instead like our experiments work all the time because we double down on the one out of 10 that did work and those efforts are the ones that then become visible and grow.
If I look around me, I also find many of the most successful people I know are those who have tried many things and don’t seem to be afraid to bias toward action. Although I rarely hear about the things that don’t work, when I do talk to those who are really successful, I find they always have side projects and random things they’re working on. They are the people who just tried building their own website, who just launched a Facebook ad to see if someone was interested in a theoretical product they might create, who learned online poker and started earning money, or who bought an NFT just to see what the process was like. Most of these things go nowhere particularly but one in 10 does, and that leads to repeated success over time and with enough iterations.
So, launch away and frequently! Good luck!