Run Upstairs

July 14, 2013 1:08 am

The issue with programmers is this: generally speaking, they are lazy. This laziness is a boon in disguise: it makes them design things that makes life easier. And in most cases, easier leads to better. But there are some scenarios where such laziness might be a huge disadvantage.

Say you are building a product, and are faced with the following choice to solve a problem: build a solution that is complex, hard and time-consuming OR build a simple workaround (a ‘hack’) that, well, just works. The programmer inside you would just pick the later one by default and will move on to the next problem.

Here is PG: “Use difficulty as a guide not just in selecting the overall aim of your company, but also at decision points along the way. At Viaweb one of our rules of thumb was run upstairs. Suppose you are a little, nimble guy being chased by a big, fat, bully. You open a door and find yourself in a staircase. Do you go up or down? I say up. The bully can probably run downstairs as fast as you can. Going upstairs his bulk will be more of a disadvantage. Running upstairs is hard for you but even harder for him.”

Run Upstairs. Always.

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