The Message

January 6, 2013 4:25 am

In most cases, we tend to remember contradictory messages – that is just how the human mind is wired. So it appears to be a rare occurrence when a common message is spotted in multiple places. And that the message comes from Nassim Taleb, Paul Graham and Mark Zuckerburg makes it even more special.

‘The Black Swan’ author Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s new book, Antifragile, has an important argument, that most technological progress came from a bottom-up tinkering approach, from people trying to solve their own practical difficulties.

“Beginning in the distant past, consider ancient architecture. There is a tendency to believe that Euclidian geometry allowed for this. That the geometry came first, and the magnificent buildings followed in its wake (loc. 3959). As Taleb points out, though, this is not at all how it happened. As evidence of this, the author invites us to “take a look at Vitruvius’ manual, De architectura, the bible of architects, written about three hundred years after Euclid’s Elements. There is little formal geometry in it, and, of course, no mention of Euclid, mostly heuristics, the kind of knowledge that comes out of a master guiding his apprentices. ” Source

That is the exact same message and approach that PG is advocating through his ‘Launch Fast and Iterate’ theory:

” I like to find (a) simple solutions (b) to overlooked problems (c) that actually need to be solved, and (d) deliver them as informally as possible, (e) starting with a very crude version 1, then (f) iterating rapidly. Source

“Launch fast. – The reason to launch fast is not so much that it’s critical to get your product to market early, but that you haven’t really started working on it till you’ve launched. Launching teaches you what you should have been building. Till you know that you’re wasting your time. So the main value of whatever you launch with is as a pretext for engaging users.

Let your idea evolve. – This is the second half of launching fast. Launch fast and iterate. It’s a big mistake to treat a startup as if it were merely a matter of implementing some brilliant initial idea. As in an essay, most of the ideas appear in the implementing.” Source

And Mark Zuckerberg vouches for this approach as well –

“Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough” (Source)

The message is clearly very consistent: What are you breaking today?

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