Thinking versus Tinkering

May 4th, 2010   •   1 comment   

Don’t suffer from analysis paralysis like Buridan’s ass (courtesy of

There are two schools of thought when it comes to entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship.

The first believes that one should look at best practices and benchmarks. Check the files, dig up the archives, and examine the case history of a new idea. Interview people who have tried something similar and understand why they have failed or succeeded.
The mantra for this group is to study, analyse, measure, calculate, research, verify, ponder, philosophise and then study some more. Only when the coast is absolutely clear and the battleship is totally bulletproof do they venture out into the deep blue sea. Even then, it is taken with tiny tentative steps.

The second thrives on experimentation and testing. To this group, the proof of the pudding is in the tasting. Trusting their gut, they would rather talk less and do more, letting the trial outcomes from the marketplace be their guide.

Unlike the first, the second probably believes a lot more in the importance of tinkering and toying. To get anything done, you need to get your hands dirty and “Just Do It”. If you never rolled out anything to your customers, you will never know what their true blue, honest-to-goodness feedback will be.

While I do not claim to know the perfect model answer, I can only hazard that the best way forward probably lies somewhere in between.

Only fools would rush into something merely trusting in their own blind faith. At the same time, one should know when to plunge ahead with a new venture despite not knowing where all the blind spots are. Spending all your time debating the pros and cons will certainly result in opportunities flying out of your window.

Which group do you belong to?

Do you believe in studying the successes and failures of others, embracing purportedly positive practices, and insuring your enterprise from any hint of failure?

Or do you believe in learning by doing, taking the attitude of “Ready, Fire, Aim”, and adopting an empirical approach where the only real and important result is that of the actual market?

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One comment

  1. Real Vision
    posted on May 04, 2010 at 6:30 PM

    I would think of myself as (being guilty of?) belonging to that second group.

    My argument is that blind faith = passion.
    While passion may be someones undoing and has a history of showing latent recognition (e.g the art masters)… there are times when passion pays, and when it does, the joy of experiencing that success is second to none!

    I live for those moments. They have been few and far in-between admittedly, but on the other hand even in failure I look for underlying gratification, knowing that I “pioneered” something that was later brought to fruition by the other school of calculated entrepreneurship.. the ones that play catch-up 🙂

    Granted that the passionate ones can’t publicly claim credit so may thus not be successful (fail?) as entrepreneurs… but they get beyond that and “rush into something” … for the sheer pleasure of trying to make a difference or starve trying to do it! 🙂

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