Volume Matters

In a previous essay I mentioned that a bias towards action will inevitably increase your likelihood of success in whatever you decide to do. In brief, “You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take.” While reading Mikhail Csikszentmihalyi’s book Creativity I came across a passage that talked about how creative individuals need to generate a vast amount of ideas and be willing to throw them away whenever they don’t work. I came across this idea as an undergrad in a class where the professor lectured on the correlation between the volume of work famous composers and their success.

Nevertheless, when I rediscovered this idea yesterday I must have approached it with fresh eyes because it instantly got me thinking about how entrepreneurs come up with ideas for their ventures. Therefore, if we apply this idea from the musical and artistic domain that the volume of work can dictate your likelihood of coming up with truly innovative pieces, then coming up with a lot of startups ideas should increase your likelihood of success.

I can already hear some of my friends (and my own conscience) saying but wait quality matters more than quantity right? I think it does but this misses the point I am trying to make. The idea is to generate a large amount of ideas and then vet these ideas and throw away the most of them because they are not good enough.

So far all of this might seem very intuitive and I have actually gone through a similar thought experiment before. Nevertheless, I find it really hard to actually integrate this idea generation process into my current systems and workflows. In order to address this, starting tomorrow I am dedicating at least 30 minutes of my days to generating new potential startup problems/ideas that can be solved. Let see how it goes…