Products, personal hobbies, and intellectual pursuits almost always work better when demand (the pull) leads supply (the push).
This may seem like somewhat of a tautology, it is clarifying to point it out. In many instances, individuals and organisations think that if they put more time, effort, or money into some trailing indicator, it will improve performance on the critical dimension.
When getting into a hobby, it is often tempting to invest heavily up-front in equipment. You convince yourself that you would get super into it if “only” you had better gear. However you can almost always get by with a very entry level package for long enough to decide if this is a short term fling or a long term passion.
While it important to make investments (in the broadest sense, whether that be time, money or attention, doing it in stages, via a Bayesian approach, with the level of commitment being proportional to the level of investment, has a much higher propensity to success.
The above does not mean that hard work, or putting in the hours to get stuff done is not important. Wishing upon a star that your startup will succeed, or that you will find a career that you love does not happen by itself. Careful and deliberate investments of resources are necessary, with a willingness to change direction if some paths don’t pan out.
Some enumerated specific examples I can think of off the top of my head of examples of organisations falling prey to this trap:
- Corporations investing in marketing prior to finding product-market fit, or investing in expanding wildly out of proportion to what consumers are buying (see WeWork)
- Purchasing a book prior to deciding that you are interested in a topic (I am very guilty of this one ;) - in this case, interest is the leading indicator.
- Deciding to pursue a career before you know that you enjoy what the day-to-day entails.
Some examples of this going well:
- For a Bayesian approach, the way Venture capital works in an ideal world with a steady ramp of capital investment.
- The way I got into running - I just ran in whatever random shoes and shorts I had lying around, until it became apparent that this was something I would be doing for the long term.