Sometimes, we're so eager to have an opinion that we skip the step of working to understand. Why is it the way it is? Why do they believe what they believe?
We skip reading the whole thing, because it's easier to jump to what we assume the writer meant.
We skip engaging with customers and stakeholders because it's quicker to assert we know what they want.
We skip doing the math, examining the footnotes, recreating the experiment, because it might not turn out the way we need it to.
We better hurry, because the firstest, loudest, angriest opinion might sway the crowd.
And of course, it's so much easier now, because we all own our own media companies.
… three ways to deal with the future.
Accuracy is the most rewarding way to deal with what will happen tomorrow–if you predict correctly. Accuracy rewards those that put all their bets on one possible outcome. The thing is, accuracy requires either a significant investment of time and money, or inside information (or luck, but that's a different game entirely). Without a reason to believe that you've got better information than everyone else, it's hard to see how you can be confident that this is a smart bet.
Resilience is the best strategy for those realistic enough to admit that they can't predict the future with more accuracy than others. Resilience isn't a bet on one outcome, instead, it's an investment across a range of possible outcomes, a way to ensure that regardless of what actually occurs (within the range), you'll do fine.
And denial, of course, is the strategy of assuming that the future will be just like today.
If you enter a winner-take-all competition against many other players, accuracy is generally the only rational play. Consider a cross-country ski race. If 500 people enter and all that matters is first place, then you and your support team have to make a very specific bet on what the weather will be like as you wax your skis. Picking a general purpose wax is the resilient strategy, but you'll lose out to the team that's lucky enough or smart enough to pick precisely the right wax for the eventual temperature.
Of course, and this is the huge of course, most competitions aren't winner take all. Most endeavors we participate in offer long-term, generous entrants plenty of rewards. Playing the game is a form of winning the game. In those competitions, we win by being resilient.
Unfortunately, partly due to our fear of losing as well as our mythologizing of the winner-take-all, we often make two mistakes. The first is to overdo our focus on accuracy, on guessing right, on betting it all on the 'right' answer. We underappreciate just how powerful long-term resilience can be.
And the second mistake is to be so overwhelmed by all the choices and all the apparent risk that instead of choosing the powerful path of resilience, we choose not to play at all. Denial rarely pays.
To start off the year, the folks at Skillshare asked me to teach a course for them. You can find the details on the course at the link above. Reviewing the final footage, I'm excited at how well it turned out, and I'm hoping it will resonate with you.
In this course, I'm teaching specific tactics, and using the Skillshare platform to provide supplemental materials and a chance to interact with others if you choose.
Lately, it feels like I've recently had precisely the same discussion with a dozen different entrepreneurs. They've built (or are about to build) something they're proud of, and then, without warning, they hit a wall.
The problem, surprisingly, isn't their marketing. It's a miscalculation buried deep into the structure of their project. Again and again, the same issues keep coming up. I decided it would be worth creating a course to share my thoughts on how these seven different issues can be avoided (or even better, turned into advantages).
The course features seven lessons plus an intro about business models, together with exercises for each. You get about an hour of original video, along with ebooks, exercises and a chance to post your questions and your work.
If you use discount code BLOG (until January 10) on their site, you will save a few bucks.
I'm going to be actively answering questions online for the first round of students who take the course when it starts on January 15 (it's self-paced, so you can watch it when you want). Hope you find it worthwhile.
You've saved and scrimped and spent hours on the plane, and now you're in Paris for the trip of a lifetime. It's likely you'll never be here again, and you've only got three days.
Question: How much time are you going to spend in the hotel room watching reality TV on cable? For that matter, how much time will you spend checking your email, grooming your social network status or browsing around online to see what's new?
You only have three days.
Now it's a week later, and you're back at your desk. Consider the fact that the most interesting or most beloved or most trusted people you will ever know are sitting right next to you, or can be invited over in just a few minutes. Is it worth postponing that once-in-a-lifetime interaction so you can do a Netflix binge or watch some YouTube videos?
The world is waiting. Your turn….