I’m normally a pretty big thinker. I like to analyze decisions and thoughts all the way out in the future and plan for all of the various contingencies. What happens if x goes wrong and then I’m in situation y? How will that affect a, b, and c? And I continue down the rabbit hole until I can’t see the light anymore.
You can see pretty quickly that this not only gets very complicated but also pretty low fidelity. No matter how much you analyze all the different possibilities you imagine, you’ll somehow miss the one that actually happens – thanks Murphy. Even if you call the first step, it’s very unlikely you’ll expect the second one. So if you have to fly a bit blind, what do you do? Just start doing.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many instances where proper planning and outlining options is crucial to success. Retirement planning, for instance, is a great place to spend serious time setting up goals and milestones. In places where you have lots of historical data and mountains of best-practices, it makes complete sense to rely on the available resources.
Startups are a very different animal.
If you’re just starting out as a company, it will be difficult to get any real data or information on the specific problem you’re solving. If there is a ton of data, the problem might well already be solved by others. The unfortunate reality is that you’ll have to take a risk to dive in and start surrounding yourself with those experiencing the problem. You can’t do this in theory, you have to DO something to get it. That’s the tough part if you’re a thinker. The most important thing is just to start working on it. Ask a friend, call a mentor, join a forum. Each action will lead you just a bit closer to what you’re looking for and before long you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve made it. There are tons of great articles out there on how to approach early stage research without investing too much effort or capital that I suggest you browse through.
This one about what to do in the first
100 days of the startup is great!
After I began my startup journey with Topmarq, where we host car shows I found that my speed went up exponentially when I stopped planning for the future and just started doing.
Need an article for your blog? Write it.
Rather than consider all the options and plan out how to attack building a blog that will become incredibly successful, I just started writing. And turns out – it worked pretty well! I’ve written probably 15-20k words over the last month while also handling everything else going on with the company. This article on classic car shows took about 2 hours to research and drives ~100 or so new people to my brand new site!
Need to build out a new feature for the site? Go figure out how to do it.
As of March I didn’t know Python or Django but I just hopped in a few online courses and worked a ton at it. Rather than worry about how good I would be or what the return was, I just DID. I’m still mediocre at Django, no doubt, but I was able to build a prototype enough to get some feedback.
This technique is quite opposite to what I learned at my corporate role and it took some unlearning to get comfortable with it. After some work, though, it becomes second nature and you start to enjoy the power it gives you. Checking things off the todo list is incredibly rewarding.
So, what are you doing still reading? Go do something!