Thursday, January 8, 2009

Solve your problems as they appear

From an insightful blog post:

The problem is that we’re surrounded with information that confirms the threats we recognize. There are all those competitors that flubbed it because their engineers weren’t as smart. They got themselves Techcrunched and crashed under the pressure. Or they had some great feature but made it too hard to use.

The flaw in this sample, though, is its survivorship bias. The failures we hear about represent only failures big enough to get mentioned in the news. The more common failure might be the two guys in their garage that never manage to get out of their garage. Or the group of smart engineers that spend too much time working on the problems that are amenable to good code rather than the problems that end up being important to users. Or to the people who would have been users if you had actually done something they cared about!

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