Episode 141 | The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking (and How to Apply Them to Your Startup)

Show Notes


[00:01] Mike: This is Startups for the Rest of Us: Episode 141.

[00:03] Music

[00:11] Welcome to Startups for the Rest of Us, the podcast that helps developers, designers and entrepreneurs be awesome at launching software products, whether you’ve built your first product or you’re just thinking about it. I’m Mike.

[00:20] Rob: And I’m Rob.

[00:20] Mike: And we’re here to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. What’s the word this week, Rob?

[00:25] Rob: I’m pretty fired up. After having kind of a rough month in June with some ads not working and just feeling not like I was making progress with Drip. I’ve made a lot of progress in the last couple of weeks. A lot of good things are going on. So first is the VA course that I’d mentioned. Its startupvacourse.com. I just past the 100 student mark.

[00:44] It’s just a nice milestone and it feels good and I’m getting a lot of positive feedback. People are putting five star ratings into the Udemy. It feels good to launch something that’s fairly small and contained. Unlike these projects you and I are working on that take months and/or years to complete. It’s like getting the VA course out there. It just feels good to publish and to ship.

[01:04] So if you haven’t checked it out, it’s startupvacourse.com. And my other update is that Drip now has five active early access customers who are using it. Have it installed. And then I’m adding two more. I have 2 more log-ins I’m shipping out tomorrow. So my hope is to be between 7 and 10 by next week.

[01:24] And we also nailed down the final features for our prelaunch, which it looks like it’s going to be between three and five weeks from today. I will know almost to the day by the time we record next week. And so it feels good. Every piece of development is laid out and prep for the launch. I got to be honest. Drip feels like a real app now, like I’m using it daily.

[01:43] I’m in there looking at stats. I’m starting to migrate more and more of my lists into it. I think I have four mail Drip accounts across all the stuff that I do including the micropreneur stuff. I think I’m going to start moving some of them into Drip.

[01:58] Mike: That’s cool. It’s always nice to get to the point where you’re actually using your own product, especially if it applies to you in any way shape or form. You’re right. I mean it does give you that feeling that it is a real product. I mean I got AuditShark up and running on one of the servers. Actually, I have several servers but the one that I’m primarily looking at is the server that I use and host over at Rackspace.

[02:18] So I have it up and running there. And I’m looking at the stats and stuff that are coming in the reports. It’s nice seeing that information. But I wish that I’ve gotten a lot more accomplished this past week. Some other things have been moving on. My developers have been kind of plotting forward at the meantime. And I’d talked to one of them and they came back and said “Hey, is there anyway to do this, this and this.” I was like, “No. But I can add it in if you really need it.”

[02:38] We started talking through it and it looks like I got more work to do there. But the things that he proposed are a lot more extra work that other people and customers are not going to want to do. So I’m going to have to do some more backend code. But I’m not going to kind of delay anything. It’s just I’ve been sick so I haven’t made any real progress on my side.

[02:55] Rob: Right. That’s the balance too, right. It’s like if you’re a single founder with no contractors or employees then when you get sick and you’re down, nothing happens. You can’t response to email. It’s a real bummer. So that’s where having at least some help can help really keep your business going. And you know like you and I have actual developers who are helping so that your business can actually move forward in your development process even though you were probably laid up in bed for a few days.

[03:19] Music

[03:22] Rob: This week we have the five elements of effective thinking and how to apply them to your startup. So this is based on a book that I listened to last week. It’s called The Five Elements of Effective Thinking. I will link you to it in Amazon on the show notes. But it’s two mathematicians who got together and looked at how people think, how they analyze, how they learn. And they put all their thoughts into this book.

[03:46] And what’s nice about the book is it’s not that long. They kind of boiled it down. They kept it short. So it’s about 3–3.5 hours of audio, which is less than half of a normal book length. And so today, we’re going to be looking at these five elements. And so let’s dive into this. The first element of effective thinking is to understand deeply. The idea here is not to face complex issues head on but to break them into component parts and to understand those more simple underlying ideas deeply.

[04:17] So the examples that were given in the book are you have to understand basic math before you can start working with Algebra. You have to understand Algebra before calculus. If you try to teach someone calculus and they didn’t have an understanding of basic addition and subtraction and those underlying simple concepts, they’re probably not going to be able to grasp it.

[04:36] What the authors talked about is about breaking things down that no major scientists look at complex problems and try to attack them head on. They actually look for simpler versions of the problem. Well this can help us think more effectively. We also want to relate this back to startups and to launching a product and software and that kind of stuff.

[04:54] And so the idea here and how I see it, how it relates to building an app is breaking your app down into the minimum features you need. So you don’t try to attack the whole app at once. But you launch one piece. You let people in. you build that minimum viable thing that people can use to get value out of it and you expand based on what you learn from them.

[05:11] So you don’t attack the whole complicated at once, you start small. The other thing I thought of is like with the marketing plan. A lot of people I see get overwhelmed. They say how do I mark up my app and how do I drive traffic. Well that’s a huge question. It’s very complex and it’s very big. But if you break that down and you instead just put together a bulleted list like a Google doc spreadsheet and you attack these things. You prioritize them. You attack them one at a time. You’ve broken them down in their components ideas and it’s a lot easier to get started and not be overwhelmed by the complexity of the issues you’re facing.

[05:42] Mike: I think one of the other side of this that, I don’t know if the authors went into this or not, but when you start breaking down a complex problem into much smaller chunks then it makes it easier for you to tackle those in terms of your motivation. Cause if you start looking at this blank slate that you got some problems and there’s this blank slate that says there’s all this different things that you can do. You really don’t have any good place to start.

[06:06] So it can be very very overwhelming and you just back off from it and you procrastinate or you don’t do it or you do all the things that are associated, or related to your business that don’t necessarily move you forward with solving those problems. You know in some ways it’s a morale issue but in some ways its productivity as well.

[06:23] But if you understand the complexity of the problem and you are able to break it down and simplify it into much smaller chunks, then that helps you to bypass those I call them mental issues and actually move forward on it.

[06:34] Rob: Yeah. And that’s actually a good led into the second part of understanding deeply and that’s to choose small wins. So this relates to taking a complex problem and breaking it down into simple underlying ideas, but more specifically choosing small wins. What does that look like? The example the authors gave was the moon landing. That John F. Kennedy said we’re going to land on the moon in this decade.

[06:56] They didn’t put two guys in a spaceship and shoot them into space and try to get them to land in the moon. The first thing they did was shoot a rocket, first they just try to get out of the orbit. And they shoot further up and then they actually shoot something right on the moon surface. It was like going super fast like 5,000 miles an hour or something when it hit. It might even have been faster. And it’s just boom. Hit the moon really hard.

[07:16] But they knew that each of those was an incremental step. They choose those small wins. Very incremental. And it took like 12 or 15 flights before they actually got up there. You know got someone safely landed on the moon. It’s a very complex problem that these brilliant scientists who were doing something no one had ever done in history that they broke down into small wins.

[07:38] To put this in context of launching an app, building software, doing a startup, think about instead of tackling something large and wanting to build long term recurring revenue with the big SAS app, think of building a small win. Like an add-on or WordPress plug-in or a Drupal plug-in. A single feature app, mobile app. Something small that you can launch and learn how to market.

[08:02] You know you and I have even talked way back about being an affiliate marketer to learn the ropes before you build your own products. Because being an affiliate marketer, you can learn. you’ll have a small wins doing that. You can learn the marketing side before you have to dive in head first and attack what is a really complex problem. Which is trying to build something people want, launch that, market it, support it. Just handle all those elements at once.

[08:25] If you break it down and you get some small wins along the way, you’ll just have so much more confidence in your ability to execute as you move forward. So the second element of effective thinking is to make mistakes. We’ve talked a lot about how failure is a stop along your road to success. And the authors basically say the same thing in the book.

[08:43] They say the mistakes are critical part of learning. That effective failure is a critical part. You must learn from your failures. So when you fail, you look back. You asked how you can improve the next outcome. I think what we’ve said on this podcast a lot is that there’s no replacement for real world experience. You can listen to us. You can listen to Mike and I talk. You can read all the blogs that you want.

[09:04] But until you actually launch an app and you start to fail, that’s the only time that you’re going to know a tiny percentage of what it takes to actually do it. And so I like something the authors pointed out in this book. They said think that for any large task you’re going to accomplish, that you’re going to have nine failures and then one success. So that when you do fail that first time when you’re trying to do it that you’re 10% of the way there.

[09:26] And that’s a really good way to manage your expectations so that you don’t crash and burn. We talked a lot about motivation and how you need to maintain that motivation and not get disappointed when you launch your first app and it doesn’t work or when you blow $1500 on ad words and it doesn’t work and all the other stuff. We’ve talked about what you and I have done. And thinking long term, playing long ball and thinking “wow, it’s going to takes me nine failures.” I actually think it’s a pretty good rule of thumb.

[09:54] Mike: I think though an important piece of thinking that if you fail the first time, you’re 10% of the way there. The thing to keep in mind is that when you get to that success it takes you exponentially further forward than those failures do. Those failures do move you forward but they don’t necessarily give you that step function increase that the success will. But once you hit that success, it’s going to count for a lot more than those failures. And it will move you forward and it’s very motivational to be able to do that.

[10:21] Rob: Yeah. That’s a good point. I agree with you. That failures are more likely incremental whereas a big success can be a step function that gets you up there. So the second part of making mistakes is to think about iterating on failure to fill in your gaps. So basically fix what’s broken and then move on and fail again. The examples they gave were things like Hemmingway. He rewrote the last page of Farewell to Arms 39 times.

[10:49] I was thinking about this and how this relates to things I’d been doing for the past decade. I started looking back to the features and tweaks and bugs that we’ve been working on with Drip over the past several months. And I think we’ve closed like 80 different features, tweaks or bugs even in the past couple of months. And that’s total iteration.

[11:07] A bunch of these were things that we came up. A bunch of these were things that early access customers have come up with. And that’s it. I mean as good as the product was when we launch it or when we start letting people use it, there’s just so much iteration that’s required.

[11:22] Mike: Yeah. I totally agree. I mean even with AuditShark I’ve had to back paddle in a bunch different cases, where like I went down this path and things were working fine. But then you start adding, try to scale it up a little bit and try to use it beyond what it was initially envisioned for and then things just fall apart. And then there’s been cases where we just have to go back and just completely rewrite giant sections of code because it wasn’t going to work.

[11:46] And of course that puts you behind, but at the same time you’ve made those missteps. And you know figuring out what those missteps are allows you to go in the right direction that will take you monumentally further.

[11:59] Rob: Yeah. As I was listening to this book I thought of what you should ask yourself is what’s the minimum thing I could build to get you out there, and then ask yourself the question, why does this suck and how can I improve it. So I’ve coined this thing “Rob’s, why does this suck test”. And I’ve started actually asking myself that as I’ve been using a couple of apps that I’m working on.

[12:16] And it’s really helpful to put it in terms of it’s just a very blunt questions to ask. And it’s helpful to put in terms of like “what’s the biggest thing that we can improve now to make this more useful to the people who need it, to make it provide more value to them?” The third element of effective thinking is to raise questions. The authors say never act like you know more than you do.

[12:39] If you’re in doubt say that you’re in doubt and asked someone who knows. Doubt is actually a sign of strength rather than weakness contrary to what society says. When we watched election debates, anyone who has any doubt or anyone who shows any signs of changing their mind or anything like that, it seemed to be some big flaw. What they’re actually saying is being able to doubt your beliefs and being able to take other people’s thoughts and opinions truly to take them into account and allow them to change you is actually a sign of someone who is active learner and someone who is going to move things forward instead of keeping things stagnant like they have been for so long.

[13:19] Mike: One of the things that this reminds me of is the fact that there’s a lot of entrepreneurs out there who have sort of a control freak aspects to everything about their product. They have to know everything that’s going on. They have to either write the code or do all the marketing and everything else. And it just makes me sit there and think you don’t necessarily need to know all that stuff.

[13:38] And having doubt about different things and not fully understanding all the inner workings of everything is not necessarily a bad thing. It also reminds me of the story that Joel Spolsky has on his blog about him pitching VBA for excel to Bill Gates. And he had this giant specs that he’d written over the course of weeks or months or whatever. And he went in there and Bill Gates basically shredded it.

[14:01] I mean he just ripped apart from beginning to end, walked through it and then at the end of it he’s like how do we know all this stuff is going to work with all the dates. And because Joel had put so much time and effort into the spec and understood it thoroughly, he was able to answer that question and say “well, there is one case where there is going to be a problem but I think we can work around that.”

[14:20] And he had a pretty good answer for that. In that case, he knew all the itty-bitty details about what he was doing. But he didn’t necessarily need to know for example how VBA was going to fit into Word or any other applications that Microsoft was shipping. And he didn’t need to. But when Bill Gates was looking at it from his perspective, he is the person in charge. He’s the one who’s trying to figure out whether Joel knows enough about what he’s doing to be able to trust him to make the right decision.

[14:49] And in that particular case, Joel showed yes I know exactly what I’m talking about because I’ve spent the time and effort into this. I’m neck deep in it. And even though Bill Gates didn’t know it, he was able to see that Joel did and was able to look at that and say, “Ah, I can trust him to make the right decisions. I can back off from this. I can focus my attention on other people cause I can trust him to make the right decisions.”

[15:08] Rob: The second part of raising question is to be aware of the source of your beliefs. And the authors talked a lot about our built-in biases. And how by looking at what you belief and why you belief that, you have such a better method for identifying those biases and figuring out, it’s kind of know yourself type thing. Cause once you know yourself you’re able to much better manage what you do and how you do it.

[15:35] I started thinking of a few questions, different beliefs that people in our industry probably have. So think about these questions for yourself. Like who told you that happiness depends on working for 40 years and then retiring. Who taught us is raising funding or starting a multi-million dollar company. Can you be successful if you’re a single founder with no employees making several hundred thousands dollars a year?

[15:56] If your answer is yes or no, ask yourself who told you that. Why do you believe that? What are the underlying assumptions that you’re making to answer all those questions. Here’s another actually I thought of cause it seems to be, it’s a strangely polarizing thing. But does SEO always work? Is it a big scam? Why do you believe that? Why do you belief what you belief about SEO?

[16:16] Cause I’ve mentioned it to some people. And it’s funny cause there’s like a visceral reaction thinking that SEO only cause of black hat stuff. And I’m just curious where you heard that. Being aware of that and raising these questions in yourself when you have such a positive or such a negative reaction to something is just one more way to manage your direction and to wind up in a place where you aren’t sitting there unhappy because you follow these beliefs that someone else taught you that you never questioned.

[16:45] And I think this actually relates back to building apps as well and building software. Because if you’re following this path, and whether its the lean startup methodology or whether you’re listening to Mike and I or whether you’re following any type of methodology, always think about why you believe that and who told it to you. And if their goals and the way they do things are in line with you. Or if it’s a venture capitalist are saying something but you want to be a single founder who’s bootstrapping, you’re goals are not in line. And so you probably don’t want to listen to their advice.

[17:15] Mike: You know Jason Cohen had a great section on one of his talks from the business software a couple of years ago that kind of segmented different, I’ll say leaders in the entrepreneur community against one another. Basically saying that 37 Signals has their view. Fog Creek Software has a different view. If you talked to like Angels or VC they have a slightly different view as well. And they can give you advice that’s just diametrically opposed from each other. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that any of them are wrong.

[17:43] What’s happening is the advice that they’re giving you is correct for their situation and the way that they view the world. And as long as you understand that where that advice comes from is in some ways bias by the people who are giving that advice in figuring out whether or not your views lined up with theirs. It will help you figure out how much stock you should put in that person’s advice or whether it’s just not applicable to your situation at all.

[18:09] Rob: The fourth element of effective thinking is to follow the flow of ideas. The authors talked about looking backwards to see where ideas come from and looking forward to see where they’re headed. What I really loved about this is they talk about how ideas are almost always evolutionary rather than some big leap. They talked about Edison and how he invented the light bulb. And he just didn’t come up with that out of thin air.

[18:32] There were a bunch of other people working on it. There were people who tried other experiments. And then he tried how many hundreds or thousands of different experiment until he got it. If you think about the iPhone, you think about how that evolved from the Newton in what the late 80s and early 90s. Then they tried to build iPad internally. They built iPad prototypes in like 2003 that didn’t work. Then they come out with an iPod touch and then they add the phone to it and then they built an iPad. And then it’s just like on and on. These things are evolutionary.

[19:00] And so the thought was don’t try to go out there and build something that’s completely new. But think about building things that are extensions, variations, or applications of existing ideas. I think this is a really good exercise if you’re trying to come up with ideas for startup is to follow this flow of ideas. So let me give you a few examples. I mentioned three things: extensions, variations and applications.

[19:25] An extension of an idea in the startup space could be a really small like an add-on to Freshbooks or SalesForce or Basecamp or QuickBooks, a WordPress plug-in, something that extends an existing piece. So it’s not some brand new fancy idea but it’s just something that adds value to an existing user base. A variation could be let’s say there’s QuickBooks out there that serves all small business. Well what about QuickBooks online for freelancers, for dog walkers, for plumbers and so on.

[19:54] And then in terms of taking something and applying it to a new niche or a new application take a random technology. You could take QR codes. You could take Near Field Communication or NFC. You could take mobile apps and you say how could this be applied to the problems that any niche has like freelancers, dog walkers or plumbers, etc.? And so, using this as a thought experiment and a brainstorming experiment, you can sit down with a pen and paper. And just think of all kinds of extensions, variations and applications, new applications of existing software, of existing technologies, and think of how they can be mixed and remixed to help just get your mind flowing in terms of thinking of new ideas.

[20:38] Obviously, you need to focus on how these solve a problem. Don’t just come up with random ideas and think that that’s going to be something that you can market. We have to come back to the problem that they solve and you need to validate that and stuff. But a lot of folks that we talked to have problems they get stuck in the idea phase. And this is one way to kind of break that loose is to follow that flow of ideas.

[20:58] Mike: One other thing that you can do to apply this to your own business is to take a look at your product, and try and figure out where it’s going and the different milestones that you need to hit to basically take it in that direction. Because as you are building up, if you’re building up a product portfolio or if you’re building up a single product to start competing with larger product, there’s certain milestones and things that are going to be necessary to have in place in order to make your product able to compete with those other products.

[21:26] So if you look at, as you just mentioned, if you’re going to take QuickBooks online and you’re going to create it for freelancers. Well what are you going to need to be able to do that? And you can kind of sketch that out. But if you have this long term vision of being able to compete with QuickBooks for small businesses, then you’re going to want to be able to tackle that freelancer niche, tackle the plumber’s niche, dog walker.

[21:49] And try and figure out how many of those different things that you can kind of hop to and what sorts of features are going to overlap with all of those. Because chances are, really good that there’s a lot of those things where the functions of the software are very very similar for all those different niches. But then you take those and you just simply morph the marketing collateral a little bit in order to reach those people.

[22:14] You do the SEO that needs to be done. And eventually you get to a point where you’ve done enough work on the product itself, such that it solves all of those problems. But you just need to be able to present them to the different groups of people in ways that make sense to them.

[22:26] Rob: And the fifth element of effective thinking is to master change. The authors say that you basically need to master the first four elements that we’ve already discussed, and actually implement them in your life in order to change how you think and learn. And so, they go into a long discussion about not being afraid to change. Again coming back to the politician example, they talked about how if a politician changes their vote over the course of 20 years or changes their stance on something; it’s view as this big negative thing.

[22:57] But they’re saying in order to be an effective thinker that you have to be open to that. That you should follow changing opinions and passions. That you need to let old ideas crumble fast especially in technology in our space. And you need to be willing to change in the phase of compelling evidence. They give an example of Einstein spending months of work on a single theory. And he received like a letter from another professor somewhere who had said I just proved why your approach can’t possibly prove this theory. There’s no way to do it.

[23:31] And Einstein basically just took all the months of work and he tossed them and he took a whole new approach to it. He actually solved it in a manner of days. But he was wiling to not sit there and question and say that guy is wrong or all this months of work is kind of the sunk cost fallacy, right. All of this is leading toward something. He was able to be wiling to change in the face of that compelling evidence that a professor had sent him.

[23:55] Relating it back to software and startups. There’s always going to be stuff that’s changing. It changes really fast. The technology changes fast, the approaches, how much we’re learning about things like even four or five years ago no one was talking about split testing in the startup space. No one was talking about email marketing. It’s just something that’s come up over the past couple of years.

[24:13] So if you still hold the old mindset of “Well, I don’t do split testing. Only info marketers do that. I don’t do email. Only spammers do that.” then you’re going to miss out. You need to let these ideas crumble fast, roll with the punches and basically keep up with the space or else you’re going to get left behind.

[24:29] Mike: I don’t think it’s necessarily all about letting some of the old ideas crumble quickly. It’s more about being able to do things that are uncomfortable to you, because as you said there is a certain amount of fondness that we have for the old way of doing things. So there’s certain comfortability that we have with doing things the way that we’re currently doing. And it’s a lot easier to point to somebody else’s work. And say well I spent 3, 4, 8 months of my life working out these theories. And I’m fairly confident that they’re correct.

[24:59] So I’m not going to put any stock in your proof that you just sent or this little note that says that the way that I’m doing it is incorrect. I’m going to keep going down this path because I’m so ingrained in it. I know what I’m talking about. And if you’re willing to back off from that and be able to look at different points of view and pursue them down their logical course, then you will be a better thinker for it.

[25:20] As long as you’re not afraid to take those turns or back up a little bit and maybe give credibility to other people and say, “Hey, maybe I am doing the wrong thing or maybe I should be doing this other things.” Even though they’re uncomfortable, it will make you a better thinker.

[25:34] Rob: And the last element of this, your point no. 5, which is to master change. They talked a lot about how experts in any field are often performing a different task than the rest of us. So the example they gave was a pro tennis player. They said if you put someone on the court, who’s never played tennis. When the ball is hit to them, they’re basically looking at the ball and trying to watch it into the racket. That they can’t estimate where that ball is going to be.

[26:00] But that a professional tennis player that as soon as they go the ball go over the net, they can tell based on the spin, based on the velocity, based on the angle they actually know where it’s going to hit. And so they’re running to it right as it heads over the net. And I’ve actually talked to professional baseball players and college football players my brother used to play with.

[26:20] And they talked about the same thing about seeing as soon as the quarterback would release the ball, they know exactly in their head if they had to slow down or speed up. The best receivers and the best outfielders can see that. It’s not about actually watching it into your hands. It’s about knowing right away when its release based on the spin and everything where it’s going to be.

[26:38] And so they’re basically through expertise and repetition, they’re performing an entirely different task than the rest of us would be if we were doing that same task.  And so taking that and extending it in our world of startups and software. Like instead of memorizing facts, you need to understand something very deeply. You have to become a master in things.

[26:57] The more experience you have in any particular field or doing any particular task, then the more frameworks you can apply to it and the faster you can learn new concepts in that space. And so that’s where, you know, if you’re consuming on a superficial level a lot of educational stuff and you’re not actually doing anything then you’re not going to be able to become a master.

[27:16] And you’re never going to hit that level where as soon as the ball gets hit off you can see what your paid acquisition is going to do, or how your contact marketing is going to go, or the little tweaks you need to make to your SEO to make things work, or the costumer development you need to do in order to get people using your app. And so it’s all a learning process.

[27:35] But the idea here is to go deep and to actually understand things deeply so that you can become a master of at least a small element to it and then expand out from there. Because the superficial understanding will always leave you essentially watching the ball into your racket.

[27:49] Mike: This reminds me about a lot of the previous discussion that we had about whether you should become a generalist and learn a lot of things at kind of a shallow level, or whether you should learn several things at a very very deep level and essentially try to outperform all the other people who are kind of dabbling in that.

[28:08] And obviously, at the end of the discussion, we kind of came to the conclusion and talk about the fact that you are much better of going really far down and deep into certain topics. As oppose to trying to round out the things that you don’t necessarily a lot of experience at. So you invest the time and effort to become mediocre at it just like everyone else which really doesn’t buy you a lot.

[28:30] You’re much better off become an extreme expert in certain facets of your career as oppose to trying to shore up your weaknesses and deficiencies.

[28:42] Rob: Right. It’s like following your strength rather than shoring up your weaknesses.

[28:44] Mike: Yup. That’s exactly right.

[28:46] Rob: And this all comes back around. It comes back to simplifying and going for early wins, because if you have a huge problem to attack, you can’t possibly become a master in that. It will take you years to do it. But if you pick a single tiny thing like I’m just going to learn online marketing, or I’m just going to learn customer development, or I’m just going to learn how to code right now. You’ve broken it down into a small enough thing that you can choose some small wins.

[29:09] You can actually become kind of an expert at that. And you can go deep so you can then move on to that next thing and add it to your tool belt. So there’s this balance here, right. You don’t want to become the jack of all trades. You don’t want to have 20 things you’re trying to do. But you may need as a founder you may need four or five really deep core skills that you have to be an expert at, and then you can outsource the rest.

[29:32] So to recap. The five elements of effective thinking are: 1. To understand deeply; 2. To make mistakes; 3. To raise questions; 4. To follow the flow of ideas; and 5. To master change.

[29:47] Music

[29:49] Rob: If you have question for us, call our voice mail number at 888-801-9690 or you email us at question questions@startupsfortherestofus.com. Our theme music is an excerpt from “We’re Outta Control” by MoOt used under Creative Commons. Subscribe to us in iTunes by searching for startups or by RSS at startupsfortherestofus.com where you’ll also find a full transcript of each episode. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time.

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