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first principles examples

The myth of the lone genius. When you run a team, you want a coach in charge and not a play stealer. So are bitcoins.

Reproduction of materials found on this site, in any form, without explicit permission is prohibited. Was I correct? The key distinction between Socratic questioning and normal discussions is that the former seeks to draw out first principles in a systematic manner. If you outright reject dogma, you often become a problem: a student who is always pestering the teacher. A first principle is a foundational proposition or assumption that stands alone.

It turned out that the materials cost of a rocket was around two percent of the typical price.”[6]. These two people look the same to most of us on the sidelines or watching the game on the TV. Using them, however, is not without a cost. If we never learn to take something apart, test the assumptions, and reconstruct it, we end up trapped in what other people tell us — trapped in the way things have always been done.

Cost A small company wants to compete with far larger firms by designing and selling washing machines …

Why is this question important? Everything is possible as long as it’s not against the rules. It’s only when we step back, ask ourselves what’s possible, and cut through the flawed analogies that we see what is possible. Sometimes the early bird gets the worm and sometimes the first mouse gets killed. Cookies help us deliver our site. Explore implications and consequences – What will happen if my decision is wrong? “I can’t do that; it’s never been done before.” Since then, thousands, if not millions, of plays have been created. Taking a first-principles approach means asking how much information we can physically store in our minds. What are the consequences? What are my conclusions.

A list of color characteristics explained. Learn more about the project here. First principles is kind of a physics way of looking at the world, and what that really means is, you … boil things down to the most fundamental truths and say, “okay, what are we sure is true?” … and then reason up from there. Yet this myth about the need to move first continues to exist. It’s also why the rewards for filling the chasm between possible and incremental improvement tend to be non-linear. The headline must be persuasive and direct. Consider printing in the 15th century. The search for first principles is not unique to philosophy. He doesn’t understand the difference between something that didn’t work and something that played into the other team’s strengths. Some of them are just play stealers.”. He knows the raw ingredients and how to combine them. What exactly do I think? Analogies can’t replace understanding. Still, I try never to say “Because I said so.”. The iPhone wasn’t first, it was better. Give people the chance to engage. And to send people to Mars, you need cheaper rockets. Then the answer becomes what my mom used to tell me: “Because I said so!” (Love you, Mom. Instead of focusing on garnering investors or having large offices, fancy systems, or huge numbers of staff, Sivers focused on making each of his customers happy. This approach was used by the philosopher Aristotle and is used now by Elon Musk and Charlie Munger. These investors, instead, seek to understand the variables that will affect their investments. ), Examining consequences and implications (What if I am wrong? The cook, who reasons by analogy, uses a recipe.

And when we let other people tell us what’s possible or what the best way to do something is, we outsource our thinking to someone else.

In the following applet, you can explore how this process works. Many people mistakenly believe that creativity is something that only some of us are born with, and either we have it or we don’t. Hosted by Pressable. To learn a few techniques for establishing first principles and understand how reasoning plays an important role in it, let’s take a look at some examples . As adults, we learn to stop questioning when people say “Because that’s how it works.” The implicit message is “understanding be damned — shut up and stop bothering me.” It’s not intentional or personal. Of course, we all have moments when we’re alone and something suddenly clicks. Musk, a notorious self-learner with degrees in both economics and physics, literally taught himself rocket science.

Indeed, they look the same most of the time, but when something goes wrong, the difference shows. A common aphorism in the field of viral marketing is, “content might be king, but distribution is queen, and she wears the pants” (or “and she has the dragons”; pick your metaphor). Sivers asked, What does a successful business need? Any type of argument or solution is built upon a series … The problem is that we let others tell us what’s possible, not only when it comes to our dreams but also when it comes to how we go after them. We are doing this because it’s like something else that was done, or it is like what other people are doing… with slight iterations on a theme. Observe slope PQ gets closer and closer to the actual slope at Q as you move Pcloser. Reasoning by first principles removes the impurity of assumptions and conventions. The special monks in the church, called scribes, would copy each and every page by hand — complete with illustrations. An approach to thinking that begins with what you know to be true. Differentiation From First Principles This section looks at calculus and differentiation from first principles. TechTello © document.write( new Date().getFullYear() );. Do I have enough data? Another way to think about this distinction comes from another friend, Tim Urban. As Upton Sinclair aptly pointed out, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Wal-Mart failed to see the world change and is now under assault from Amazon. “There is too much information out there.” This type of thinking is analogous to looking back at history and building, say, floodwalls, based on the worst flood that has happened before. That’s part of what coaches do. People mustn’t feel awkward sharing it. We cannot deduce first principles from any other proposition or assumption. The problem is that we don’t know as much as we think we do, so our intuition isn’t very good. Thinking through first principles is a way of taking off the blinders.

When we take what already exists and improve on it, we are in the shadow of others. There is a person who toils alone for years in relative obscurity before finally cracking the code to become a hero. So much of what we believe is based on some authority figure telling us that something is true. All Rights Reserved. Can you imagine how that would play out with Elon Musk? Every play we see in the NFL was at some point created by someone who thought, “What would happen if the players did this?” and went out and tested the idea.

And maybe we just think very differently about something. The play stealer has no idea what’s going on. Peretti recognized the first principles of online popularity and used them to take a new approach to journalism. An employee who is always slowing things down by asking why. You have to build up the reasoning from the ground up—“from the first principles” is the phrase that’s used in physics. … Musk would identify the play stealer as the person who reasons by analogy, and the coach as someone who reasons by first principles. Clarify your thinking and explore the origin of your purpose – What’s my current thinking? What remains is the essentials. There are many ways to establish first principles. A common way that people limit what’s possible is to tell themselves that all the good ideas are taken. ), Looking for evidence (How can I back this up?

I made the office computers myself from parts. We can see the world as it is and see what is possible. Microsoft wasn’t the first to sell operating systems; it just had a better business model. Here’s an example that has played out numerous times at my house: “It’s time to brush our teeth and get ready for bed.”, “Because we need to take care of our bodies, and that means we need sleep.”. A lot of professional investors read Farnam Street. It’s one of the best ways to learn to think for yourself, unlock your creative potential, and move from linear to non-linear results. I’ve heard this in boardrooms for years. Why, then, is it so expensive to get a rocket into space? With that, Musk decided to create SpaceX and see if he could build rockets himself from the ground up. So we can better understand how first-principles reasoning works, let’s look at four examples. “They sell themselves short without trying.

When you really understand the principles at work, you can decide if the existing methods make sense. Jon Steinberg, president of BuzzFeed, explains the first principles of virality: Keep it short. By ignoring unnecessary details that cause many businesses to expend large amounts of money and time, Sivers was able to rapidly grow the company to $4 million in monthly revenue. [3] https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/11/the-cook-and-the-chef-musks-secret-sauce.html, [4] Elon Musk, quoted by Tim Urban in “The Cook and the Chef: Musk’s Secret Sauce,” Wait But Why https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/11/the-cook-and-the-chef-musks-secret-sauce.html, [5] Vance, Ashlee. Analogies move us to see the problem in the same way that someone else sees the problem. It allows them to cut through the fog of shoddy reasoning and inadequate analogies to see opportunities that others miss. … *** Is friendship important for our survival? © 2010-2018 Naimonet. Socratic questioning generally follows this process: This process stops you from relying on your gut and limits strong emotional responses. Maybe it doesn’t match up to our experiences. TechTello is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. People have far better memories than they think they do. Reasoning by analogy: "It's just like painting a portrait" so take the job. It’s rare that people try to think of something on a first principles basis. The way Musk thinks is much different. And it’s … mentally easier to reason by analogy rather than from first principles. Musk would build a billion-dollar business to prove you wrong, Feynman would think you’re an idiot, and Munger would profit based on your inability to think through a problem. Money is a shared belief. People hate the “because I said so” response for two reasons, both of which play out in the corporate world as well. These aren't necessarily factual and can be assumptions or approaches that are adopted by a society, organization or team. The definition of intangible assets with examples. The rules of football are the first principles: they govern what you can and can’t do.

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