Sticky Notes

Being Wrong Less

  • Two basic building blocks to telling a story
  1. Overall
    1. ​Evaluate your assumptions early and often​
  2. Inverse thinking
    1. The inverse of being right is being wrong less
  3. Unforced errors
    1. Try to seek them out and avoid making then
  4. Antifragile
    1. Get better from shocks and instability
    2. Like working out it temporarily breaks down your muscles so they rebuild and get stronger
  5. Arguing from first principle
    1. Take the most fundamental truths and build up axioms from there
  6. Derisk
    1. Take your assumptions that might be false and aggressively test them
  7. Occam's Razor
  8. Frame of reference
    1. Useful to always frame an important issue you want to bring up to show it in the best light
  9. Walk a mile in their shoes
    1. To be wrong less increase your empathy and check assumptions on their motivations
  10. Fundamental attribution error - attribute others actions to their internal state or Fundamental character rather than external factors
    1. Third story
      1. What an impartial observer would say about the situation
    2. Most respectful interpretation
    3. Hanlon's razor
    4. Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by carelessness
  11. Confirmation bias - how to combat
    1. Thinking grey
      1. Devil's advocate
  12. Backfire effect
  13. Don't trust your gut
  14. Proximate cause - thing that immediately caused the effect
  15. Root cause - the real reason something happened
  16. 5 whys

Anything that can go wrong will - Murphy's Law

  1. Unintentionally harming your neighbours
    1. Tragedy of the commons
    2. Tyranny of small decisions
  2. Risky Business - assess risk differently to each other
    1. Moral hazard - taking on more risk when you feel protected (also principle agent problem)
    2. Principle agent problem
    3. Asymmetric information
  3. Be careful what you wish for
    1. Goodharts law - when a measure becomes a target it ceases being a good measure
    2. Perverse incentives
      1. Cobra effect - attempted solution makes things worse
        1. Evil genie granting the let of your wishes but not the spirit
    3. Streisand effect - when you attempt to hide/censor something and as a consequence draw more attention to it
    4. Hydra effect - actions intend to reduce a problem but multiplicate it
    5. Observer effect - people act differently when they think they are being observed
    6. Chilling effect - threat or coercion that causes people to stop doing legitimate actions
    7. Collateral damage - damage that is incidental to the intended target
    8. Blow back
  4. It's getting hot in here (boiling frog)
    1. Technical debt
    2. Path dependence - paths available to you now are dependant on your past decisions
    3. Preserving optionality
    4. Precautionary principle - when a decision could create harm of an unknown quantity proceed with extreme caution (E.g. do no harm)
  5. Too much of a good thing
    1. Information overload
    2. Analysis paralysis
    3. Perfect is the enemy of the good
    4. Reversible decisions vs irreversible decisions
    5. Hicks law - number of options increases decision time logarithmically
      1. Offer multi step decisions
    6. Paradox of choice
    7. Decision fatigue

Spend your time wisely

  1. North star - guiding vision
    1. Create a personal one
  2. Compound interest
    1. People overestimate what can be done in two years and underestimate what can be done in 10
  3. You can do anything but not everything
    1. If you try to please everyone you end up pleasing no one
    2. Multitasking - avoid it, eliminate it
    3. The top idea in your mind
      1. Your mind will keep working on solving this while it drifts and thinks of other things
    4. Deep work
    5. Eisenhower decision matrix - urgent important 2x2 matrix
    6. Sayres law - in any dispute the importance/value of the issue is inverse to the intensity of the feeling
    7. Bike shedding
    8. Categorising take as important not important then figuring out which important thing to do
    9. Choose the option with the lowest opportunity cost
    10. BATNA
  4. Getting more bang for your buck
    1. Leverage
    2. Look for the highest leverage option - highest leverage activities have lowest opportunity cost
      1. Best job to advance your career
      2. Home renovations to best increase value of home
    3. Pareto principle - 80% of the benefit come from 20% of the effort
    4. Power law distribution
    5. Law of diminishing returns
    6. Law of diminishing utility
  5. Get out of your own way
    1. Present bias - overestimate beaten near term rewards over making incremental progress on long term goals
    2. Discounted cash flow model
    3. Net present value
    4. Hyperbolic discounting - discounting the future with too high a discount rate which is not fixed
      1. Valuing instant gratification over delayed gratification
      2. Central role in procrastination
    5. Commitment
      1. In someway actively commit to your future self and desired self
      2. Usually work best when there is some sort of penalty with breaking it
    6. Default effect
      1. Make default commitment to your future goals
      2. Scheduling time in your calendar to do a certain task
    7. Failing to plan your time effectively
      1. Realistic, time bound and specific
      2. Parkinson's law - work expands to fill the time available for its completion
      3. Hofstadters Law - it always takes longer than you expect even when you take into account this law
    8. A less than perfect solution is often good enough
    9. Sometimes a project should be abandoned, we don't due to
      1. Loss aversion
    10. Acknowledge the loss has already happened - don't fall for the sunk cost fallacy
    11. Concorde fallacy - when the sink cost fallacy causes you to invest ever more resources
    12. Don't be afraid to abandon a project mid way
    13. Need to accurately assess the view of it moving forward and ignore past costs
  6. Shortcut your way to success
    1. Plan ahead and remember you are probably not the first person to encounter this problem
    2. Design pattern - a reusable solution to a problem
    3. Anti pattern - seemingly intuitive but wrong solution
    4. Brute force can be an effective and quick solution to small problems
    5. Heuristic solutions
    6. Algorithms
    7. Black boxes - inputs go in something happens inside and outputs come out
    8. Automation makes sense when the investment costs are less than the eventual savings in time and effort
    9. Economies of scale also result from automation
    10. Parallel processing allows you to speed up processing
    11. Divide and conquer - break the problems into independent pieces and hand them off to different people
    12. Reframe the problem
      1. Like Disney trying to shorten the wait time for the rides at Disney World - an almost impossible problem
      2. Reframing the problem as how do we make people happier while waiting opens up the solution space ten fold

Becoming one with nature

  1. Natural selection - traits that provide reproductive advantage are naturally propagated in the population
  2. Scientific method - use it to stay adaptable
    1. Constant experimentation
    2. Making observations, Formulating hypothesis, testing hypothesis, analysing data and forming new theories
  3. Don't fight nature
    1. Inertia - a physical objects resistance to changing its current motion
      1. Question your assumptions and your beliefs and you can overcome your personal inertia
    2. Strategy tax - reluctance to change an organisations long held strategy
      1. i.e Google must pay the strategy tax of not adding privacy features to Chrome because of its strategy of being the internet's biggest advertising company
      2. Avoid locking yourself into rigid long term strategies
    3. Shirky Principle
      1. Organisations will try to preserve the problems for which they are the solution
    4. Lindy effect - an object that had existed for 40 years can be expected to last another 40 but if it lets another decade it can be expected to last another 50
    5. Peak X -
    6. Momentum
      1. Seek things which are rapidly gaining momentum
      2. Entrench ideas into people is high leverage and called culture
    7. Flywheel/merry-go-round - takes a lot of effort to get it spinning but once it's spinning doesn't take much effort to keep it spinning
    8. How to use momentum and inertia to enact change
      1. Homeostasis - things tend to return to their resting state
      2. Techniques to overcome homeostasis
        1. Collect data that supports the position and use it to counter arguments against
        2. Look for hidden potential energy
          1. People in your organisation ready to help you
        3. Identify the centre of gravity of an organisation, idea, market and you can enact change faster
        4. Understand the activation energy needed to enact change and identify any potential catalysts (reduces activation energy)
  4. Harnessing a chain reaction
    1. Need critical mass to enact any change in society
    2. When evaluating ideas you want to be conscious of where they are in their adoption curves
    3. Root cause of reaching a tipping point often found in network effects
    4. Metcalfes law - nonlinear growth in value of a network as it grows
  5. Order out of chaos
    1. Butterfly effect
    2. Luck surface area - your luck will increase as you interact with more people in different situations
      1. Say yes to things that can increase your luck surface area
    3. Entropy - the amount of disorder or chaos in a system
    4. Increase your luck surface area by increasing your entropy
    5. Entropy tends to distribute everything evenly - second law of thermodynamics - the natural increase in entropy in a closed system
    6. Orderliness needs to be maintained
    7. Look for win win situations
    8. Don't fall into black and white thinking

Lies, damn lies and statistics

  1. To believe or not to believe
    1. Scientific evidence is better than anecdotal evidence even if it has its problems
      1. Using proxies
      2. Placebo effects
      3. Nocebo
      4. Observer expectancy bias
      5. Double blind studies are better
      6. Using randomised control
  2. Hidden bias
    1. Selection bias
    2. Non response bias
    3. Survivorship bias
    4. Response bias - change from truthful responses when responding for example for fear of reprisal
  3. Be wary of the law of small numbers
    1. Don't draw conclusions from too small a sample size
    2. Law of large numbers - larger your sample size the more sure you can be your average is close to the true average
    3. Gamblers fallacy - in any sequence of decisions or events people think the opposite result is more likely the longer the streak is
    4. Clustering illusion - people have a fallacy where they believe when things are clustered together it can't be random - don't mistake the improbable for the impossible
    5. Regression to the mean - an extreme event is unlikely to be followed by another extreme event as it is just as unlikely as the first one
  4. The Bell curve
    1. Mean median mode
    2. Standard deviation
    3. Variance
    4. Normal distribution
    5. Probability distribution
    6. Log-normal distribution - describe power law events such as startup investing and wealth distribution
    7. Poisson distribution - random events over a time interval such as lightning strikes in a city
    8. Exponential distribution - time based events such as decay
    9. Central limit theory
    10. Bernoulli distribution - yes or no
    11. Look for error bars and confidence intervals
  5. It depends
    1. Conditional probability
    2. Inverse fallacy
      1. Thinking that the probably of A given B must be similar to the probability of B given A
    3. Base rate fallacy
      1. The cause of the inverse fallacy but not taking into account the base rate probability of event A and B
    4. Bayes theorem
      1. Use p
    5. Frequentists vs Beysians
  6. Right or wrong
    1. Type I error - false positive
      1. Rejection of true null hypothesis
      2. You think what you've measured is true but it was chance
    2. Type II error - false negative
      1. Non-rejection of a false null hypothesis
      2. You think what you've measured is false but it's actually true
  7. Will it replicate

Decisions, decisions

  1. Weighing the costs and benefits
    1. Discount rate
    2. Attach costs to costs and benefits
    3. Garbage in garbage out
  2. Taming complexity
    1. Decision tree
    2. Expected value
    3. Black Swan events
    4. Systems thinking
      1. Casual loop diagrams
      2. Stock and flow diagrams
      3. Insight maker
      4. True-world
    5. Chatelier's principle - system that is disturbed will respond to restore to a new equilibrium state
    6. Hysteresis
    7. Monte Carlo simulation
    8. Scenario analysis
    9. Super forecasters
      1. Intelligence
      2. Domain expertise
      3. Practice
      4. Working in teams
      5. Open mindedness
      6. Training in past probabilities
      7. Taking time
      8. Revising predictions

Dealing with conflict

  1. Influence models
  2. Perspective is everything
    1. Social norms vs market norms
    2. Distributive justice vs procedural justice
  3. Where's the line
    1. Dark patterns
      1. Trojan horse
      2. Bait and switch
      3. Potemkin village
  4. The only winning move is not to play
    1. MAD
    2. Deterrence
      1. Carrot and stick model
    3. Containment
      1. Stop the bleeding
      2. Flypaper theory - attract enemies to a specific area where they are vulnerable
    4. Appeasement
  5. Changing the game
    1. Red line
    2. War of attrition
    3. Generals always fight the last war
  6. End game

Unlocking people's potential

  1. Most people producing 10x output have many things working in their favour
  2. This means there's an opportunity to see where everyone can be the most productive and construct a team of ordinary people that is punching above it's weight
  3. Types of people
    1. Introvert vs extravert
    2. 5 personality model
    3. Commando, infantry, police
    4. Foxes and hedgehogs
  4. Roles
    1. Clear responsibility
    2. Intrinsically motivation
    3. Suited to task
  5. Practice makes perfect
    1. Consequence-conviction matrix
      1. Delegate low consequence low conviction
      2. Low consequence high conviction are great for deliberate practice
  6. Unlocking potential
  7. Types of cultures
    1. High context vs low context
    2. Tight vs loose
    3. Hierarchical vs egalitarian
    4. Collectevist vs individual
    5. Objective vs subjective
  8. How to shape culture
    1. Establishing a strong vision (north star)
    2. Clear set of values
  9. Winning hearts and minds
    1. Loyalists vs mercenaries
  10. Vision without execution is just hallucination

Flex your market power

  1. Sustainable competitive advantage
  2. Secret sauce
    1. Consensus-contrarian matrix
      1. Wrong < - > Right
      2. Consensus: No Return <- > Regular Return
      3. Contrarian: No return <- > Outsized return
    2. Find groups discussing the future and you will find discussions of secrets that can be used to make contrarian bets
    3. Ask yourself why now?
  3. ​How to change behavior?
    1. Test your startups assumptions to desrisk


1. Link to book

2. Above is my takeaways and summary of Super Thinking by Gabriel Weinberg and Lauren Mccann