The basic premise of this book is that we can use lot of little bets and certain creative methods to identify possibilities and build up to great outcomes.
Sims gives the example of a stand-up comedian like Chris Rock. The jokes you hear in an hour long recorded special takes 6 months to a year of rigorous testing and experimentation to develop. Comedians understand ingenious ideas never spring into someone’s mind fully formed, they emerge through this experimentation process.
1. Good Ideas Aren’t Magically Born, They Require Experimentation
Successful entrepreneurs don’t begin with brilliant ideas, they discover them. A great example is the story of how Post-It notes were discovered.
To do this successfully requires a mindset change. We’ve gone through an educational system focused on facts, and then measuring our retention of those facts. Less emphasis is given to developing our creative thinking abilities, letting our minds run imaginatively, or discovering things on our own. We’re graded on ability to get the answers right.
Management science is the same, it is the breaking down of tasks to optimize for efficiency.
2. A Growth Mindset is Needed to Deal With Failures
Being imperfect is critical to success. People like Chris Rock make important discoveries by being willing to be imperfect, especially at the initial stages of developing their ideas.
A growth mindset says intelligence and ability is grown through effort, failures or setbacks are opportunities for growth. Failures in experimentation are not seen as a knock on intelligence.
A fixed mindset believes ability is fixed, and failure is seen as a personal shortcoming. Placing emphasis on minimizing errors or risking of any kind of failure shuts off chances to identify the insights that drive creative progress.
We should look at failure through the lens of failing forward and quickly. Failing fast is good like a comedian testing jokes right after writing them. There isn’t a huge investment in them. If we haven’t invested much in developing an idea, emotionally or in terms of time or resources, then we are more likely to be able to focus on what we can learn rather than what we lost in making it.
3. Small Wins
Small Wins are landmarks to confirm if we are going the right way, or they are pivot points telling us to change course.
They help us to adapt instead of going down a road that may lead to failure
Small wins don’t emerge linearly, cannot be predicted or planned for (hence needing a mindset of observation and seeking insight).