Push and Pull

Published: Mon, 06 Jul 2020

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:

Some examples of this going well: