What preconceptions about your life or business are currently holding you back? Are there assumptions that might not be actual facts? What language patterns are you using? How are you framing your solutions? Are your options truly your only options?
Can you take your business growth questions and frame them in terms of ideal outcome and constraint?
Simply put, the question is:
Have you tried working backwards??
I’m alluding to a physics based concept called ‘First Principles’. It is responsible for some of the biggest business breakthroughs.
Here’s how Elon Musk summarises First Principles:
“Boil things down to their fundamental truths and reason up from there. Most of our lives, we reason by analogy, meaning that we look at the maze and we say, Oh, well, every other time that I’ve seen a maze, this is how it’s been solved. And and that only allows us to get slight variations on what we do”.
Now, that’s not exactly the most eloquent description but let’s take a look at how he’s approached manufacturing at Tesla.
He worked out that they were making cars at 1 inch per second & set out to increase this by 4x. Their goals was to take car manufacturing from snail pace to walking pace.
The key message here is never automatically accept things as they are. Your tools are not your only tools. There are infinite paths to your outcome. In the auto manufacturing world, all of the things are built the same. So if you’re going to order a manufacturing line for commercial vehicles, then you order it from all the people who make the manufacturing line. They all happen to run at the same production rate. It’s how everyone else does it, that’s how it should be.
Tesla went ahead & built their own manufacturing line for Electric Vehicle batteries. It’s the fastest & most efficient in the world. Its likely got crazy robotics spread over several floors. Limited staff members have access to their production floors & it’s one of the most secret things inside the company.
“If I’m going to be the biggest manufacturer of electronic cars, my competitive advantage is not going to be being a manufacturer of cars”. – Elon Musk
If you’ve ever have anything wrong with your Tesla and you go back and you say, my seatbelt doesn’t work, the people are very kind and they say, sorry, we’re actually a tech company. I’m not kidding. (Customer service needs work). But what they decided to do was to be the best at batteries.
Identify and define.
Identify and define your current assumptions. How many times have you actually questioned your own assumptions?
Break down the problem into it’s fundamental principles.
Elon the best modern example of thinking different.
With Tesla, he identified the core competitive advantage & created a single overall mission for the company: cheaper, higher capacity batteries.
Then he did it again with Space X: What if we reuse those rockets that costs tens of millions of dollars and just save some money there? That’s pretty basic, right? But it was the revolutionary innovation that the rocket scientists at NASA could not think of, because they were stuck in the system. “This is how it’s always been done”.
Earlier in his career he did it with PayPal: What if you can make payments by, by email?
It a single mission. A single sentence that cuts through the bullshit. Something that adds value to peoples lives & no other company is doing.
That’s how you use First Principles in your current or new business. Don’t accept the paths you’ve been given. Boil the problem down to it’s essentials & aim to solve it with one single effective solution. Finding the simplest, fastest & shortest route to solutions can have an amazing effect on your business. The best companies in the world can always be defined in one single mission sentence, can yours?
Thanks for reading & as always, good luck.
If you want to reach out, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org