🗝️ Make up for what you don’t have with something they can’t have.
Your weekly dose of new ideas & inspirations
Hey, Pritesh here.
We’ve reached post #107 in this journey of discovering new ideas & inspirations.
Here’s a quick glance of today’s post:
🔣 Understanding distribution equation
🧑🎨 The paradox of effort
🚧 Seeing maintenance with a new lens
🔁 Power of do-overs
🔩 Small inventions that changed the world
🤸 Naval for kids
and much more…
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And with that, let’s dive in.
1. Ben Horowitz on Distribution
I spend an inordinate amount of time writing this newsletter and only a fraction of it distributing it. And I’m not the only one guilty of such a mistake. It’s just that building feels easy & more magical. And I (we) expect that if the product is good, it will find its own distribution.
I know it’s a wrong assumption at every level and building the right distribution is an inherent part of building a successful product.
Ben Horowitz’s post on Distribution is a great primer on this designing distribution & sales channels. He approaches it like a mathematician. Below snippet point towards the starting point.
Rest of the post beautifully expands this equation and adds nuances based on other variables that play a significant role in the process (how is decision making done, who makes the decision etc).
Lessons like this should become part of our formal & informal education in business.
2. The Paradox of Effort
Sahil Bloom spoke of “The Paradox of Effort” and sprezzatura in one of his recent posts. Here’s how he defined it:
The Paradox of Effort: You have to put in more effort to make something appear effortless. Effortless, elegant performances are often just the result of a large volume of effortful, gritty practice. Small things become big things. Simple is not simple.
We’ve all heard the anecdote of Picasso's 1 million dollar fee for the painting that took all of 30 seconds to make. That’s the paradox of effort.
Sahil goes on to expand how is this applies more universally to every craft:
Legends of every craft have abstracted all of the effort that went into their performance. From the outside, it looks easy, almost unconscious, but on the inside, it is the product of consistent compounding of tiny daily actions over long periods of time.
He further shares a mental model based on 4 Stages of Competence to help us traverse through this journey. Here’s a snapshot of the model for you:
Image credit: sahilbloom.com
Finally, why should we care about understanding of these concepts?
It’s all worth it, isn’t it?
When you hear the word ‘maintenance’, what comes to mind? Probably a worker with a toolkit, ready to fix something that's broken. This is the traditional perspective, albeit quite narrow in its scope and stunted in its maturity.
While it's true that a significant aspect of maintenance involves routine problem-solving, the scope of maintenance extends far beyond this simple understanding. It's also about improving things, learning, and planning ahead.
That’s the premise of this essay on Stoa blog titled “How to survive the relentless march of entropy”. The rest of the post goes on to beautifully break down this idea around three vectors.
Maintenance as a means of refining and streamlining operations
Maintenance as an opportunity to gain insight into the intricacies of a complex system.
Maintenance by design or designing your system in a manner that it inherently accommodates for fluctuations in operational and environmental conditions
A short but highly useful read to bring a new perspective to the idea of ‘maintenance’.
4. The Power of Do-overs
Building long lasting habits is a tough game. We set ambitious-yet-achievable goals, build a path of tiny-habit towards them, celebrate small wins, monitor our streaks and what not! And then one day that streak is broken and it’s all over. That broken streak hurts so much that the game feels irrelevant now.
This is where the power of do-over can come handy. In her recent Choiceology podcast episode “The Power of Do-Overs”, Katy Milkman talks of how mulligans, skip days, cheat meals, and get-out-of-jail free cards are important strategies for sticking to your long-term goals.
She delves into the world of video games as well as some academic research on this topic. I loved the concept of ‘emergency reserve’ and how it helps.
Emergency reserves with tough goals stretch you, then you're a hoarder by nature, so you hoard the reserves and don't use them. And finally, if you do have a misstep, you have an excuse so you don't give up on yourself.
A great listen in just 25 mins of your time!
5. Small Inventions that Changed the World
Roman Mars & Roma Agrawal discuss seven of the most basic building blocks of engineering that have shaped the modern world. This episode of 99% Invisible gives a preview to Roma’s book “Nuts and Bolts”.
Can you guess what these seven small inventions are that changed the world (in a big way)?
They are - the nail, the wheel, the spring, the lens, the magnet, the string, and the pump.
Image credit: 99percentinvisible.org
Fascinating list, isn’t it? Unexpected in many senses. And that’s the key reason I liked this episode. Roma talks of ideas that are so easily left unexplored or ignored if ever discovered. This is the territory where 99% Invisible podcast rules.
And yes, the conversation between Roman & Roma is super fun! They seem to be having a blast and so will you.
6. Light reads
Some interesting posts & essays that are well worth reading.
We stand with the Underdogs by Jason Fried.
What do you got? Hunger. Drive. Grit. Scrappiness. Independence. You’re on offense. You don’t have enough, which is why you’re dangerous. You have no choice but to be clever and creative. To make up for what you don’t have with something they can’t have: The underdog spirit.
The Unified Theory of Deliciousness by David Chang.
To me this is what separates the good dishes from the truly slap-yourself-on-the-forehead ones. When you eat something amazing, you don’t just respond to the dish in front of you; you are almost always transported back to another moment in your life.
7. Everything else
Some random goodness from the internet:
Erica Fischer’s photo collection “Locals and Tourists” shows the different worlds that tourists & locals capture. Her collection covers many global cities, I wish there was one from India too.
Naval for Kids - Best of Naval & storytelling in one place. What a fascinating thread!
Hats off to whoever made this ad - If moms made the Zomato app.
Ben Koracevic is the @thestringartguy. He creates beautifully detailed pieces of unique artwork with the simplicity of a piece of string. You’ve to see it to believe it.
Elaine Silets is the "Train Lady". Her train layouts are world famous. Check out some of her best collections including one of the largest and best G-scale layouts in the world as well as her incredible Chicago-themed Lionel O-scale model train museum. This is Sheldon Cooper’s heaven!
The title of today’s post is taken from Jason Fried’s post.
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That's all for this week, folks!
I hope I've earned the privilege of your time.
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