Jun 4Liked by Robert Yi 🐳

Oh I said that didn't I? True but too reductionist. The real way to move forward in the fog or really in ANYTHING is until you get enough new information it's worth reassessing. Maybe that's a foot, maybe that's 10 ft.

The debate between thinking and doing comes down to how you feel about the information you have now and when you think you will get more.

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Yes absolutely. A bit reductionist, but certainly has helped me - I think I spend far too much on the wrong side of the needing-more-information split (I tend to overanalyze).

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Jun 4·edited Jun 4Liked by Robert Yi 🐳

I use the notion of the planning horizon. Don't plan past what you can reasonably estimate. It's a waste of effort. But I just realized that planning horizons are nested, which we mostly understand but perhaps unconsciously.

For example, building a new product, I might plan a month of work at a time. Create some features, release, get more information, plan again. If I get ahead of the horizon, I risk failure and wasted effort. Plan too short and I miss out on economy of scale.

However there are other horizons. Staffing for example. I might be doing projects in one month chunks but might also be confident that my team can go 6 months without change. Iterations inside iterations

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This is a great point (and a strong testament to your thoughtfulness. not only around IC work but also as a team lead).

Your point that these horizons are nested resonates quite true with me. I think one of the most difficult things about scoping a project is that it feels very different (and requires a very different perspective) depending on whether you are in the weeds or at a higher strata. it's hard enough for me to jump back and forth and even think about problems at either level, but certainly it's going to be even harder to set time horizons that take into account take into account considerations at every level.

Have to think more about this but thanks, Gordon. Thoughtful as always.

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I'm slowly building a set of examples

See https://open.substack.com/pub/capnsblog?utm_source=share&utm_medium=android&r=9z45

And look for "A Polarity:...."

2 so far, no pun intended

Less than "prime number" I think that it's more about "presence and absence" or simply two things that are the inverse of each other.

Addition & Subtraction

Multiplication & Division

Exponentiation & Taking the Logarithm

You do a thing, then you do the inverse and end up at the beginning, establishing the smallest cyclic set

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Underrated points!

I see a lot of people recommending *just* doing, vs. thinking and planning. I have struggled with that balance my whole life.

A couple of things I have realized and learned have changed my thinking on this a lot.

One is what Joe Hudson says, which is essentially, "We make decisions not based on rational examination, but based on how we think our choice will make us feel." (From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZ91gNiwBbE)

From that, I started to pull the thread on how I feel and how so much of my behavior has been geared around manipulating those feelings. My decisions have largely been a tool for self-management, and not a clear expression of my principles and values. You can lead yourself really far astray from "the path" this way. The good news is that it's really easy to get back, you just have to change the way you make decisions. I'm working on that now, finding the choices that make me feel more in tune with myself and who I want to be.

I guess the shorthand is "make the choice that feels the most consistent with who you are, at your core." If you don't know what that is, then make choices and watch how those make you feel — both immediately, and long term. Eventually, the picture will start to resolve, and the "right" decisions (for you) will become more obvious. (And you'll be less tempted to ask or listen to others' opinions on what you "should" be doing.)

The second thing is an extension of the above. It finally clicked for me that it's not as important *what* we do as it is *how* we do it.

For example, if you do someone a favor, but you do it in a begrudging way, where you let them know how much you really didn't want to do it, you've actually turned a good act into a cruel one. You poisoned the gift. Conversely, if you tell someone "No," respectfully and confidently, and sharing the honest truth with them about *why* you are declining — you've offered the greatest kindness that you could have.

Extending this — we have this same compass available to us in every moment: "Which choice could I make and show up 100% for?" Make that one. And then show up for it.

This kind of follows Joe Hudson's enjoyment principle — do what you *enjoy*, and *enjoy* what you do. If you find yourself surrounded by obligation that brings stress, that's fixable. Just slowly move towards your enjoyment, one inch — and one decision — at a time.

Thinking is useful here, because it lets us self-reflect and analyze what we are doing and why. It can be deceptive, as the content and breadth of our thoughts are strongly shaped by our moods (and because thought is the voice of the evaluator that tells us how well we're thinking, it's HARD to notice). It's still helpful, and it can be used effectively to guide us through. We just have to pay attention to ourselves and how we feel... which, in my case, was really overwhelming and hard to do, and is slowly getting easier. Testament to how out of tune with myself I really was. There's always a road back. One step, one moment, and one decision. at a time.

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I love this angle. Of course, if you view it from the perspective that emotions guide every decision, then both of these paths -- to think or to collect more data -- should warrant some heavy self-reflection. And to think or not to think is probably not the question at all in many cases.

I think I had a very particular kind of decision in mind -- the kind where your intuition or emotions don't really have any clear guidance and the decision is a corporate one, so you have to rely on some other means of finding a solution to the problem. But of course for so many decisions (especially personal ones), it is likely far better to scrutinize what your emotions are telling you to do.

Love this take, Joshua, as always. Thank you!

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Makes sense. I would say emotions factor into those "corporate" decisions, too.

A lot of "us" bleeds over into business. I think if you examine decisions you've made, or ones you have to make, you'll find a lot of emotions lurking in the vicinity. I can say it's definitely true for me, from how I price things, who I work with, and how I communicate with clients and colleagues.

Some of the influences can be hard to piece together — it isn't always "I'm scared, so I'll do X." There can be several layers of indirection, all non-linearly tangled together.

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A classic polarity!


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wow this is fascinating, thanks for sharing Nathan!

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Two things can both be true and good, if managed together!

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Yes, absolutely. I ended up having a long discussion about this very point with my co-founder yesterday, and he's convinced this is such a universal fact of nature because two is the smallest prime number.

Not sure if there's anything that you can do with that, but found it cosmologically interesting 😅.

But anyway, point being, I think there's certainly something fundamental about why this concept of polarities is so generally applicable.

Thanks again for this. I think it's going to steadily become part of my core understanding of the world.

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