#20 Optimal Constraints 🏋


  • 🏋 Optimal Constraints: how to fuel creativity and start producing.

  • Weekly Hack: Death Clock and prioritising humans.

  • 💵 Recent Deals in Spain: Jobandtalent, Sherpa, Taxdown etc.

  • 💭 Thinking or Reading: Games in disguise

🏋 Optimal Constraints

My friend Sunny Huang wrote a piece on the power of smart constraints to fuel creativity - read on! 👇

Tl;dr - a healthy dose of smart constraints helps humans produce more, and in turn, become more creative. Think about how to implement these in your startup.

💡 Embrace Creative Constraints

"Individuals, teams, and organizations alike benefit from a healthy dose of constraints. It is only when the constraints become too high that they stifle creativity and innovation" 

Why is that? 

"When there are no constraints on the creative process, complacency sets in, and people follow what psychologists call the path-of-least-resistance – they go for the most intuitive idea that comes to mind rather than investing in the development of better ideas. 

Constraints, in contrast, provide focus and a creative challenge that motivates people to search for and connect information from different sources to generate novel ideas for new products, services, or business processes."

-- Harvard Business Review

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Lack of constraints also means you're dealing with infinite possibilities, which activates two of the greatest killers of productivity and progress - analysis paralysis and decision fatigue.

How do we combat this? Let's go to the folks at Y Combinator:

🚢 Ship early, ship often

Paul Graham talks about this in The 18 Mistakes that Kill Startups - 

“Several distinct problems manifest themselves as delays in launching: working too slowly; not truly understanding the problem; fear of having to deal with users; fear of being judged; working on too many different things; excessive perfectionism. Fortunately you can combat all of them by the simple expedient of forcing yourself to launch something fairly quickly."

Ideas tend to die a long, protracted death when confined to your mind, typically because you're second guessing if it's actually "good" or not.

As a creator or entrepreneur, whether your idea is valuable or not is not for you to decide

Embrace constraints and self-impose resource, format, or time limitations to get your idea out. Your audience will tell you what is valuable and what isn't, and your job becomes much simpler from there. Listen, and iterate based on feedback.

Noah Kagan of AppSumo has a great framework for doing this, as told in his story of creating a beef jerky company in 24 hours.

He did this by thinking "inside the box," and decided to, before building anything, validate his idea first. The notion is, your idea is only valuable if someone is willing to pay money for it, and you can learn a lot from the ones who decide not to. 

The trick is to aim for the scrappy v0 that you can validate against, rather than a pretty v1 that takes too long to launch.

⚡Weekly Hack: Prioritise (your favourite humans)

💡 Tl;dr - Prioritise time with your favorite humans leveraging visual tools. You start our as a time billionaire, and die time poor - you might as well invest time wisely.

The great Tim Urban did all the leg work here - take a look at an average American life in weeks and figure out where you are at on the chart:

Now take a quick look at famous deaths, aka time not spent according to plan:

According to Tim Ferris, the average person in the developed world would have used up 90%+ of in-person parent time after finishing high-school. Do the math for anyone older that you care about.

Assuming David Sinclair fails at reversing ageing + I get lucky, I should have about this amount of time left:

Here’s the death clock Chrome extension I use - time to prioritise!

💵 Recent Deals in Spain

You love startups and want to enjoy a Spanish lifestyle? Come join the Spanish startup ecosystem. Here’s a list of recently funded startups:

💭 Thinking or Reading

📈 Projected Growth

The best apps today = games in disguise

An insightful tweet by Jon Lai - here’s a practical framework building one:

  • Motivation: why does a user want to use your app?

  • Mastery: what are the rules of the app?

  • Feedback: how will a user learn those rules?

🧠 Quote I’m Pondering

“The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego, the second half is going inward and letting go of it.” ― Carl Jung

If you find this interesting, please consider sharing with your friends. I’d also love to get your thoughts and feedback on Twitter. Until the next one! 😃