A note to my future self.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the type of problems that I want to solve in the next 10-15 years and the more I think and read on how to solve hard problems the more I realize the importance of going deep on the problem that you want to solve.
This might seem intuitive but it is not. I think that I’ve tended to deceive myself in terms of how deep I go with my own ideas and projects. Over time I’ve realized that going “deep” on an idea is obsessing over it until it bothers you and then let it sit there for a while and come back to it with a fresh perspective. Once you repeat this process you will start gaining a better understanding of the problem that you’re trying to solve.
Obsessing over your problems is necessary but not sufficient in this case. I think that obsessing over problems that you want to solve is important but only if you’re able to engage in that healthy obsession over an extended period of time.
I am not trying to take a reductionist approach to depth but if I had to boil down depth I would say that depth = time x understanding. In order to gain a deep understanding of any given subject you need to spend a lot of time studying it and your increase your understanding of the subject over time.
The key takeaway in this case if very tactical. First of all, if you believe in an idea or project that you have stick with it for some time. Don’t give up too early. If you’re trying to understand how to solve a problem for a customer make sure that you understand the market, the current solutions and the customer’s need better than anyone else including the customer’s themselves. This level of familiarity is what’s required to obtain novel insights and solve hard problems that matter.