In the last two days, I saw one of the companies I work for cede the chance to pioneer legal precedent to a third-rate competitor and lose every bit of their leverage that had been designed to take a stake in a decently well-known startup. Their lawyers and staff spent too much time worrying and planning and holding meetings and then back to back headlines made it all irrelevant.
My attitude the whole time had pretty much been “I think you should just say fuck it, do it and see what happens.”
The fundamental rule of the internet is essentially this: Just doing it is cheaper than deciding about doing it. Or, it’s better to try stuff and get it wrong, then talk about it first and get it 100% right.
What good internet theorists are realizing (I like Shirky and Robb) is that web economics don’t necessarily change how businesses succeed but have more impact in how they fail. A site that allows groups to form is revolutionary in the sense that it drastically lowers the costs of attempting to start and group and failing. In decentralized terrorism, it’s that executing an attack and missing most of the time is actually more efficient than planning them thoroughly and always getting it right. In other words, the way people have grown up thinking about things is wrong – it’s just way too slow and it inflates the costs of mistakes.
It’s all very interesting, right? but I think there is an even bigger picture. If you apply this life as a whole, it means to stop deliberating and start making decisions.
When you’re looking for a parking space for example, take the first one you see instead of driving around for a closer one. By the time one opens up, you could have walked most of the way there. The cost of being wrong is very low, the benefits of ending up with a better spot aren’t very high. My assistant (who is great) drives me insane because he asks these extra questions to find out exactly what I want instead of trying and getting it wrong. Instincts, as he’s thankfully starting to realize, don’t come from explanations. They come from positive and negative reinforcement. And that, comes from doing.
Think about the resources you’d free up for solutions if you didn’t plan your actions under the cloud of knowing you’d always have to justify your decisions after the fact. I’m guessing you’d make gutsier decisions. You can give that freedom to yourself. I’m lucky because people have given me that luxury. Now, the economics are starting to pull that weight too.