[Inverted Passion] Problem solving via Who not How

Problem solving via Who not How

By Problem solving via Who not How on Oct 24, 2022 02:55 am

My notes from the book Who not How.

  • The biggest luxury in life is time, so it’s foolish to try to do everything on your own (especially things you hate or are not good at)
  • The only things you should personally do are things that get you great at, get you excited and are impactful.
  • So if you have a problem that needs solving and are inclined to solve it yourself, ask these three questions:
    • Is it substantially impactful?
      • No? Don’t pursue it.
    • Do you enjoy doing it?
      • No? Find someone who enjoys doing it.
    • Are you great at this?
      • No? Find someone who is great at this (because what you want most is results)
  • By default, the first hunch should be to find a person who can solve the problem for you (Who) instead of thinking how you’re going to solve it (How)
  • Some perspectives to help internalize this idea
    • If you have enough money, you don’t have a problem. (Simply find someone who can solve that problem for you)
    • Operate with an abundance mindset (which emphasizes collaboration, not competition)
    • Don’t have a cost mindset, consider your costs as investments for a better future for yourself
    • Always be the buyer - if you can’t, don’t do the deal
  • I think the biggest perspective shift is to let go of the idea of zero-sum hoarding money and control, but instead pursue non-zero sum game of co-creating value with people who know specific areas better than you do

What do I enjoy doing?

Only if I know what I enjoy doing can I avoid the trap of taking up jobs/tasks that I will feel miserable doing. I have reflected on this idea in this past in my essay You cannot plan for happiness (but you can discover it)

For me, what I most enjoy doing is the following:

  • Creation
    • The zero-to-one phase of any creative project is what makes me come alive
  • Learning
    • Diving deep into an unfamiliar topic is what gets my pulse racing
  • Thinking from first principles
    • Breaking down a complex domain/problem into simpler steps
  • Writing
    • I love writing essays/tweets/threads

What’s my unique ability?

Reflecting on what is my unique ability is important because it helps determine for what jobs/areas, I’m the best person I can find to do them. Hopefully, such jobs/areas will be few and I’ll be able to find other people for other most of the jobs/tasks that arise.

Which jobs/areas, I’m the best person I can find to execute

  • Debugging a hairy problem (and finding solutions)
    • I’m good at breaking down a problem, figuring out how to solve it and what would be the initial steps for solving it
  • Product ideation
    • How to create/package a product with high likelihood of satisfaction from the end user
  • (Written) Communication
    • I think best when I’m writing, so communicating via notes or assisted via notes/deck is the best way I communicate

(This is not to say I’m the world’s best at these areas. Just that I expect the time-cost of finding someone better at these areas is likely to exceed the time it’d take me to execute them myself).

Framework for problem solving

  • If there’s a problem that needs solving, first ask if solving it will substantially improve your or world’s future
    • If not, abandon it. Time and attention is luxury - don’t spend it on trivial problems
  • Ask yourself if you’ll enjoy personally owning solving the problem
    • Does it involve substantial creativity? massive new learning? deep thinking? writing?
    • No? Hire someone to solve it for you.
  • Ask yourself if you’re the best person to execute the job/task
    • Does it involve debugging a hairy problem? Creating a product? Communicating via deck/essays?
    • No? Hire someone to solve it for you.

In nutshell:

images/_Framework-problem-solving.jpg

Collaborating framework

1. Sell yourself that the job is worth doing

Getting a problem solved via someone first requires clarity on what needs to be done, why it needs to be done and what success looks like for the project.

Adapting from the book, here’s a simple framework that one needs to define before starting to look out for who they can hire/collaborate for a particular job/task.

  • PURPOSE - What is the job?
  • IMPACT - What is the biggest difference will this make to yourself and others?
  • IDEAL OUTCOME - What does the completed job look like?
  • CONSEQUENCES
    • WORST-CASE: What’s at risk if this job is not done?
    • BEST-CASE - What’s possible if this job is done?
  • SUCCESS CRITERIA - What specific results must be true for this job to be a success
    • 3-5 in number

You can fill this: https://resources.strategiccoach.com/tools-and-worksheets/the-impact-filter#main-content

2. Figure out who can solve the problem for you and what they get from you

Once you’re convinced that the job needs to be done, find out who all can solve for you and what benefit they will get from you.

I’ve created a temple Impact filter that you can use anytime while brainstorming a new project.


Read in browser »
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