Friday, January 14, 2005

Analyzing Versus Executing

by Asim Jalis

I have always resisted an instinct to focus on concepts at the expense of experience. Even though I prefer to think about what to do, it seems more fruitful to act, to engage with the world, to get real feedback. But accumulating real experiences is so time-consuming and hard and tedious. And so why resist the attraction to concepts. Why not just engage with concepts and abandon the pretense of establishing credibility through real experience. For example, my primary motivation with shareware was not so much to make money, but to understand how the whole thing could work. In the course of the exploration we discussed a lot of interesting ideas, such as the benefits of being a copy cat, starting small, effectuating, working with incomplete information, learning along the way, etc. I suspect some of these things could be useful to an ISTJ fired up about starting a shareware venture. However, I felt that I lacked the credibility to talk about shareware unless I had my own successful venture. But in the end this is really just a blocking assumption. (Blocking assumptions are ideas that prevent us from exploring certain options -- and become self-fulling prophecies.) The main point here is that it is possible that there is real value in concepts and ideas. To build credibility I could talk to people who have succeeded and have done it themselves. However, these people, while they know what to do, might not really conceptualize it very well. They might be so caught up in the specifics of what they did that they might not see the general principles underlying their success. My point is that if I abandon all hopes of action, if I accept the fact that I cannot execute on a large sustained scale, that's a really liberating idea. I can then focus simply on understanding what entrepreneurship is, freed of the commitment to actually use that understanding. At the same time I am always suspicious of people who talk about things but have never done them. After a while the ground reality becomes lost because everyone regurgitates the same observations over and over. I don't respect people who are all talk and no action. I don't know how to resolve this problem at the moment, except by ignoring it.