Where Would You Be The Most Use?

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Saturday, 9.00pm

Sheffield, U.K.

Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful. – Margaret J. Wheatley

It’s no surprise that affluent people use more of everything – your income is a good predictor of the emissions you create and the contribution you make to climate change.

We’re seeing more extreme weather patterns in the news and that’s what the climate models and systems dynamics models tell us to expect. A few years ago I sat through a presentation by Dennis Sherwood that showed me how this logic worked – and I started to see what the problem was, perhaps for the first time.

In a nutshell, as the world warms we get more storms, more flooding and more extreme temperatures. All of which have been in the news recently.

The people who have the least responsibility for what is happening might also be the ones that are worst affected. Then again, disaster isn’t democratic or fair. I found this article on climate migration by Jamie Beck Alexander eye opening, because people are moving now to where they think they might be safe, but Jamie also asks you to think where you might be of use.

For those who can’t move, how will they adapt? Do they need technology and money or do they need something else – perhaps draw on their history and lived experience to find solutions that will work for them?

In this TED talk Bunker Roy talks about the barefoot college, a sustainable development project centered around the capability of women to change their situations, creating and engineering their own solutions.

We have to find ways to make a difference where we are, identify points of leverage on which we can act and make change happen. This isn’t easy – in fact it may be harder in developed countries where there is infrastructure in place that locks in unsustainable practice.

I remember growing up in a place where we had a bucket of water and a jug to use for a shower. When it was done, you were done. Now, water keeps coming out of the shower, as if by magic, heated to an unimaginably wonderful temperature, and you never need to leave the cubicle unless you want to. Saving water becomes a choice rather than the default – and that’s the biggest problem for the affluent. They don’t need to turn off anything – so they have to choose to do so. They have to choose to have less, to use less, to do less – and that’s not easy.

There are ways to deal with these problems – ways to help some people live better lives and ways to help others live with less impact and we have to engineer these solutions and create the principles that will help us exert the leverage that’s needed for us to change. It’s not easy but it has to be done. And we have to work out where we can help.

Cheers,

Karthik Suresh

What Is The Best Price For Your Product?

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Friday, 7.58pm

Sheffield, U.K.

We basically built a pricing model that surgically identified what people wanted to pay us for and what they didn’t want to pay us for. One of the things we figured out early on was that we could create value for people by creating a product that allowed them to design something that they couldn’t design without us. – Alexa Hirschfeld

I’ve been thinking about products and valuations and business models and thought I’d write about that. So I started searching for business archetypes – something that told me about businesses and categorised them into types, here’s a triceratops, there’s a pteranodon – that sort of thing.

But then I remembered something from my economics lessons – and I think it has something to do with price elasticity of demand but don’t hold me to that. I was just trying to see if I could remember a rule of thumb that might help me figure out what sort of business you should be in.

Here’s a made up example.

Let’s say you want to start a business and have a product. Ask yourself two questions. What’s the size of your market if you give it away for free? Let’s say that’s 10,000 units. And what’s the price at which no one will buy what you’re selling? Let’s say that’s $150,000.

Now you can draw a straight line between these two points and it shows you a price versus quantity graph. It’s sloping down so you can express that using a standard equation for a line.

Now, the sales you make at each point of the line is price times quantity, so if you work that out (y’) you end up with a parabolic shape, making no money if you charge too much and making no money if you give it away for free. Somewhere in between is a sweet spot where you can make the most money.

And you can work that out by taking the differential of the sales curve and finding the point at which that is zero – the tangent – and then using that to work back to the price. In this example, you’ll make the most money if you price your product at $75,000 and you’ll make 5,000 in sales.

Now, I haven’t used calculus in anger for two decades and I don’t really know why it’s useful to do it this way. So I checked my calculations with a spreadsheet and it comes out to the same number. That’s probably faster really, but I just wanted to have a go at the calculation…

Anyway, the point is that this equation tells you all you really need to know about your business model, if you use it sensibly. At what price will you have no business. And if you charge nothing, what’s the size of the market that will immediately contract with you? You’ve got to think about this carefully because even if your price is zero not everyone will do business with you. You’ll only get the people who really really want to be there. A good, modern way to test this is to see how many people turn up to free webinars. Our of a population of billions, it’s probably less than a hundred for the vast majority of webinars while a few rake in very large numbers.

The question for you is whether your product is something that has a large market or a small one and the price ranges that it will support. That will tell you what your optimal pricing strategy is going to be and the sort of revenue you can expect to make. And that is going to lead directly to a valuation of your business – what’s it’s worth when you exit.

This bit of maths is one of the few times I’ve come across something that seems genuinely useful, up there along with compounding. Just need to try and use it a bit more and see if it actually is.

Cheers,

Karthik Suresh

What Do We Need To Do To Improve A Situation?

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Thursday, 9.11pm

Sheffield, U.K.

Winning teams have the least amount of distractions. They have a really tight group of people working towards the same common goal. – Larry Dixon

What kind of approach should we take when we’re trying to make things better – at home, at work, in society? Is there some way of figuring out what sort of intervention would work?

I don’t really know, but I’ve been seeing a lot of people recently using 2×2 matrixes – that old consulting favourite – and thought I’d have a go at thinking through this.

Let’s start with putting situations on one axis and labelling them as unique or common. Common problems are ones that many of us face a lot of the time – like booking a hotel room, paying for parking buying something from a shop. Unique problems are ones that are specific to a situation. Your budget is going to be different from someone else’s budget – even if you both do exactly the same thing. McDonald’s, the poster example of standardisation, probably has different cost structures for each unit depending on where it is and what the local environment happens to be.

I wondered what to put on the other axis and I’m not sure I’ve got this right, but I went with resolution. The idea that what you do sorts out the situation – when you’re finished things are better – they’re resolved. And sometimes the resolution is about making things easier – and sometimes it’s about getting involved in sorting out hard things. This distinction is not obvious, is it? It’s not that there are easy solutions – but that you can do something to make it easy. But it is the case that it’s hard to sort out some things.

Let’s see if some examples help.

A common situation is booking a hotel and that’s what a whole part of the economy does and that’s what AirBnb set out to disrupt – they made it easier for you to find places to stay and they did that by building a platform that you could use. They essentially created a marketplace, where suppliers and buyers could discover each other and enter into a transaction – my money for your space for a while.

You can solve your budget problem by using a spreadsheet to create a model or by hiring someone to work for you if you don’t know how to. But it’s not hard – not really – although it’s easy to make it hard. But, in essence, it’s something you can sort out and you don’t need a big toolkit to do it. Pen and pencil and a calculator will do, really.

Moving onto the hard to resolve situations, you’ve got things like reducing your impact on the environment. If you’re well off you’re doing more damage to the planet – the link between affluence and consumption is rather strong. So are you willing to give up your lifestyle to save the planet? Do you object when less well off countries pump carbon into the atmosphere as they try and match your level of affluence? Even in a company, you’ll have different views on what needs doing and what doesn’t. The only way to deal with this is to work together, get people on the same page and work as a team. And this is hard when you don’t know what you need to do to make things better.

Then the last example is about poverty – which is fairly common and can persist across generations. What poor people have in common is the lack of money – but it’s much more than that – they also lack opportunity, knowledge – perhaps even belief and hope. Although hope is hard to extinguish – it’s almost a prerequisite for survival. If you want to change these situations you can’t do it easily, you have to immerse yourself in the context and put in place the many kinds of support that are needed to help people stop generational patterns from carrying on.

I’m wondering if this matrix is useful or not – and it’s seems to lead to four types of actions. Depending on the situation in which you find yourself and how hard it is to resolve you might find yourself pointing to a website, opening up a spreadsheet, pulling together a team or supporting someone.

And perhaps it is useful as a diagnostic tool – as something that helps you see what sort of situation you’re in and so suggests what you should do next.

Cheers,

Karthik

Why Should Someone Decide To Work With You?

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Wednesday, 9.59pm

Sheffield, U.K

The best work is not what is most difficult for you; it is what you do best. – Jean-Paul Sartre

A few years ago now I was part of a weekend intensive business experience and one of the coaches there was an architect. We were talking about looking at different capabilities and where we might be and he took out his notebook and draw an image a little like the one above – some horizontal lines and a slash to show where you are.

As images go, it seems simple, but it’s a really powerful diagnostic. You don’t need a survey or questionnaire or spreadsheet – just some lines to figure out where you are right now.

This method popped into my mind when I read a comment on LinkedIn that talked about something Peter Drucker had apparently said. You can look at the things you do and measure yourself against the competition but what is it that’s going to make someone decide to work with you?

For example, let’s say you run a software development company. You’ve got experience in tools and frameworks and have enough people to do the work that needs to be done. You’ve got case studies of successful projects and can show how you add value. You can do all these things and so can many other companies in the same business. So, what makes the difference?

The argument you might make is that people don’t really do a line by line comparison and score you against others and then choose the company with the highest score. Well, they do actually, but I think that process usually ends up with the wrong choice. The selections that work – the ones where the client is happy and you deliver something – is when you do a particular thing way better than anyone else. When you stand out in some way that makes it very easy for the client to decide to go with you.

People don’t hire organisations that are average on everything – those ones are column fodder for tenders. You can get away with being a little better than average if you are a huge company and there is very little choice other than to go with someone like you. But for the vast majority of companies, the small ones that need to stand out to have a chance to be selected, you have a better chance if you do something that no one else can do as well as you.

This has a sound basis in strategy – if you do something no one else does as well then you have a competitive advantage – a moat. This barrier to entry to others gives you an edge, a chance that wouldn’t exist otherwise. So you really have to ask yourself, take the time to figure out, what this thing is, why it makes you better and how you can make the most of it.

What’s your one thing?

Cheers,

Karthik Suresh

How To Decide Which Product Idea You Should Work On

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Tuesday, 7.46pm

Sheffield, U.K.

Profit is not the legitimate purpose of business. The legitimate purpose of business is to provide a product or service that people need and do it so well that it’s profitable. – James Rouse

In my last blog post I was wondering how to decide what projects were worth working on – how could I tell whether an idea had a chance of succeeding or was heading for failure?

A study by CB Insights lists the top 20 reasons startups run into trouble. The problems range across business functions, from getting the product wrong, to running out of money. For me, however, three things stand out and these are the ones that I will use as a first rough and ready check as to whether an idea is worth investing time in or not.

Is there a market for your product?

An idea for a new product or business begins with a flash of insight – wouldn’t it be cool if this thing existed in the world? But just because something can exist that doesn’t mean it should or that it will be able to. The realities of the natural world, red in tooth and claw, apply to the world of business as well.

One good reason to create a product is because you want to have something that doesn’t exist right now. It something you would use and so you make it for yourself and, if there are many people like you, there is a good chance other people will want it as well.

Another good reason is to do something is if you can do it better than it’s being done right now. But unlike something you make for yourself you have to convince others that there will be benefits for them. And this is harder than you might think, for good reason. Let’s say you invent a new machine that can do things for half the cost of the current machine – does that mean the manufacturer will make a bigger profit? In many cases, the answer is no. The savings will flow through to the customer in the form of lower prices. But if you’re going to make it easier for the manufacturer to do their work then you’ll at least get a hearing and they might be skeptical at first but give you a chance to show what you’ve got.

A bad reason to do something is because you think you can change people’s minds and get them to do something differently. That’s a long, hard road and all too often, after you’ve spent all your money educating the market, someone else will come along and take the prize.

The copywriter Gary Halbert had a story about this. Let’s say you and I set up competing food stalls. You get to choose whatever you want to sell, the best quality product, the freshest produce, the most expensive ingredients. I’ll sell something cheap and quick, with no redeeming nutritional value and I’ll beat the pants off you as long as I have one thing that you don’t. A hungry crowd.

Do you have the right team in place?

This is obvious and so very important. You can do the work, of course you can (or at least you should be able to), but do you have the right team in place to work with you? If you don’t, you’re going to fail. You need to build or develop your team and give them the knowledge, tools and resources they need to do what needs to be done.

Do you really really want to do this?

The third and, for me, the most important reason to do something is because you’re passionate about it, because this is something you want to do. This is not a blind belief in yourself or your product – the kind of stubborn mentality that expects reality to change to give you what you want – but instead a real interest, curiosity, and informed judgment about the value of what you are doing. As Benjamin Graham wrote, the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent. You need to know your business and know yourself and know you can do this.

Does your project tick all three?

It’s quite hard to say yes to all these questions. If you’re a single person business, perhaps the team issue doesn’t come up. But what you’re interested in as an individual may not be shared by many others out there. And doing something because you think others will be interested rather than because it’s something you would buy yourself is a recipe for disaster.

Write the book you want to read, build the product you want to buy, and work with people you like, admire and trust – and you can’t go far wrong.

Cheers,

Karthik Suresh

What To Do Before You Start A New Project

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Monday, 9.48pm

Sheffield, U.K.

You just keep moving forward and doing what you do and hope that it resonates with people. And if it doesn’t, you just keep moving on until you find a project that does. – Octavia Spencer

Last year I had a go at working on book-length projects. The plan was to write a first draft in blog posts and then stitch the lot together, going through as many edits as needed. I created enough material for four books and learned a few things along the way. Here are some of them.

Write in paragraphs

My early blog posts were written a sentence at a time. I think I’d read somewhere that this made for pacier material that was easier to read. The problem is that it’s much harder to edit. A 40,000 word manuscript may have 4,000 sentences, over a thousand paragraphs. It’s not fun having to get rid of all the extra carriage returns.

Have a plan

I worked out a structure for each book on slips of paper, a concept on each one, and then followed the trail of slips, writing up each chapter. Having that thread made it much easier to get on and write the words – instead of wondering what I was going to write about I simply had to elaborate on the ideas on the slip.

Do your research

You have to read if you want to have ideas. But you can also get stuck in the ideas that you’ve read – thinking that there are no other ways to do them. Some people are fond of saying, “We know this.” Others are less certain of themselves, asking instead, “What about this?” Who should you trust – the ones that are certain or the ones that are not?

What you need to work out is what you think before you find out what others think. There’s a lot of material that talks about stuff that’s already been talked about before. But you need to have your own point of view so that you can critically think about and consider what else is out there. But there is a lot of good stuff and much of the value you will bring is in making it accessible to others.

Work on what interests you

Spending a few months working on a particular topic is no fun unless you’re actually interested in the topic. It’s much easier to put in the time when you like what you’re studying and are curious, maybe even desperate, to learn more.

Create the best quality product you can

If you’re going to work on something take the time to make it good. With writing, that means editing and rewriting. The posts on this blog are first drafts – they’re not meant to be perfect. But if I want to put them in a book I’ll want every sentence to work – delivering something useful to the reader.

There’s still much to learn

I’m working up the energy to start a new project. I’m starting to get a feel for the way in which I like to work but I need to look at my list of potential projects and figure out which one is worth putting time and effort into. What criteria should I use to make a decision?

Something to consider in the next post.

Cheers,

Karthik Suresh

Can You Recognize Things That Have Value?

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Wednesday, 9.14pm

Sheffield, U.K.

Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value. It is a process; it’s not random. – Ken Robinson

It’s always a challenge to figure out how you should spend your time – where you’re going to add the most value. And while you’re doing that you need to remember that value is of greatest importance to the person who gets it from you, not to you yourself.

Imagine you have a business. Should you be laser focused on the things that make you money today? Or should you be patient, building and investing for the long term? Short-term rewards can seem the most attractive because they bring in resources now. But how do you know you aren’t throwing away something that could be much more valuable, if only you gave it some time?

I was talking to a friend today about this and how hard it is to decide whether to do a little or a lot. We’re advised to focus, to make it really clear exactly what we do and how we help. But we also try and serve everyone, try and do more than we can. And if you speak with people who know what they’re talking about they’ll be blunt about it. “Figure out where you add value,” they’ll probably say, “And do only that.”

But a focus on just one thing is not good either. I often read about entrepreneurs who have a good idea, raise money to plough ahead with that and then wind up a few years later, finding that there is no market for that thing they’re creating. But you don’t know whether they’ve given up too quickly.

The unhelpful answer, I suspect, is that you have to do both. You have to have a portfolio of investments, some that are mature and produce now and others that are nascent and that need to be tended until it’s clearer whether they have value or not. It’s like being a gardener, and making sure all the plants that you want to keep are fed and watered and the weeds are pulled out.

I think what’s important, however, is making it very clear what you do in each element of your portfolio. You may have a technology portfolio and carry out work in certain areas. Each of those packages of work needs to be clear – a minimum viable package in itself – that does not overlap with other elements but is able to communicate and cooperate with them.

This is not easy to do and there is a question of “how” that should be done. There are answers, of course, but this is not the place to talk about them. The point is that there are many ways to make things worse, but only a few that make things better.

And one very big idea is that the less you do the less you can do wrong.

Cheers,

Karthik Suresh

What Does A Facilitator Do?

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Tuesday, 9.47pm

Sheffield, U.K.

If there aren’t roles you want to play, then you’ve kind of got to create them. – Margot Robbie

I’ve had a few days of listening to academic presentations at a conference and am reflecting on how easy it is to fool ourselves and how much effort it takes to avoid doing that.

Take work, for instance. We like to think that things are clear cut, that what you need is a mission and vision and goals and the right person in charge and everything will be well. We like to think of stars and individual performance as things that make a difference. But how do we know that these things work? How can we be sure that success came from doing certain things unless we’re sure that there aren’t organisations and people that have done exactly the same things and failed?

You can get away with such assertions if you’re a salesperson or motivational speaker but if you’re going to be peer-reviewed then you need to put some more effort into being honest. And once you start to penetrate the jargon that suffuses a typical paper you start to see that there is some useful stuff there, even though you have to dig for it.

Take, for example, this paper on facilitators by Lessard et al (2016). I’m interested in this because we’re often in situations where things aren’t working out ok and we want to change things. That means working with others and that’s a challenge. Good change often doesn’t happen by itself, it needs to be facilitated.

So what does facilitation look like and who does it? Facilitation can be a role a person takes on, it can be a process or it can be about helping a group work through something.

The paper argues that if we look at facilitation as a role you end up doing two types of activities: you change how things are done or you help people to work better together. In the first case you’re involved in processes for change or for project management. In the second you’re looking at faciliting meetings between people and supporting them as they do the work of making change happen.

But that’s not really enough to tell you what’s done and that’s where you come across lists in papers. For example, what do external facilitators do in their day to day work. Here’s a list from this one.

  • Train you in skills
  • Help you think critically and ask better questions
  • Know what needs to be done next
  • Evaluating meetings
  • Tailor sessions to meet local needs
  • Plan and generally sort things out
  • Listen, clarify and summarise material
  • Watch how people act
  • Share what others are doing

Internal facilitators, on the other hand:

  • Use stories to make their point
  • Talk about examples and cases
  • Link actions with outcomes

If you’re trying to change things around wherever you are, then these papers give you useful checklists. Do you do some of these things, all of these things? Are there things you should do more of?

I spend a lot of time being unsure about things. That’s probably a good thing because it means you’ll check things out before you decide to believe in them. But when you’re sure you need to make that clear – and that’s a skill I need to develop for myself.

And it’s worth doing because there is no shortage of situations that could do with someone who knows how to change them for the better.

Cheers,

Karthik Suresh

Lessard, S., Bareil, C., Lalonde, L. et al. External facilitators and interprofessional facilitation teams: a qualitative study of their roles in supporting practice change. Implementation Sci 11, 97 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13012-016-0458-7

What Is The Real Value Of Having A Target

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Monday, 6.39pm

Sheffield, U.K.

Fairness is not an attitude. It’s a professional skill that must be developed and exercised. – Brit Hume

My first real understanding of the differences in opportunity people across the world face only came when we were expecting children. We took classes, a free one and one we paid for. And I realized, looking around me, that all the children who were going to be born to parents that had the relatively small amount of money needed to pay for their class would have books and attention and resources. The free session had a different set of parents, ones with more challenges and the children born to them would have less – and that difference, cemented at birth – would only increase until they went to school and then the gap would get increasingly harder to close all their lives, not considering other factors like gender and race.

I have never been a big fan of targets. Maybe it’s a cultural thing – I was brought up to think that the work was what mattered, not the results. If you do what you need to do every day the long-term will look after itself. And if it doesn’t it won’t matter anyway.

But even that ability to “get on with the work” is a privilege. It presupposes that you have the time, knowledge and money to do work. And not everyone has that.

I’m learning, quite late really, about the power of targets to change behaviour. But there’s something else about what’s going on that seems to suggest that targets are a good thing. And it’s the availability of information.

Take investing, for example. Once upon a time you could have an information advantage. If you read the papers and looked for opportunities you might find a bargain. Those days are gone because information is widely available and the ability to profit from an information advantage no longer exist. Now, you’re best off buying the market or buying a great company at a fair price – not looking for an edge.

This “transparency” is what’s making the difference in sector after sector, workplace after workplace. Your reputation is on the Internet, with metric after metric telling the world how you’re doing on financial and non-financial metrics – how you treat your people, what you’re doing to the environment, who you’re paying.

Setting a target does two things: it sets up an evaluation framework and creates an incentive mechanism. For example, if you run a conference these days you’ll be evaluated on how diverse your panels are. If you have a male only panel – a “manel” – people will ask questions that you will find hard to answer. You have an incentive to create a diverse panel if only to avoid the embarrassment of being seen as a unrepresentative and behind the times.

The incentive mechanism spurs you to take action and you can do one of two things. You can create real change and start to transform your operations so that you develop a diverse workforce or you can game the system and make sure that you meet the numbers. But it’s going to be hard to do that over the long term because of the availability of information – it’s certainly harder to do this than it was in the past. Some people perhaps look longingly over at the more authoritarian regimes in the world remembering when they could do the same thing but still claim to be democratic.

Diversity and representation is one very important space where targets seem to be making a difference. Another area where you can see action is when it comes to climate change. Clear targets like the UK’s Net Zero target and the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degrees science based one are causing companies to make public statements about their commitments – ones that they increasingly feel compelled to do to protect their position in the economy. And that’s a good thing.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of this approach is that it’s a fundamentally fair way of looking at what the economy is meant to do. If the economy is made up of many people but the benefits of their work goes to a few it used to be ok to argue that those few were entitled to more because they worked harder, because they were “better”. And that’s not a bad argument really because you do want people to be the best they can be. But what you also want to do is dismantle the barriers that are in the way of people being the “best” they can be.

Cheers,

Karthik Suresh

What Is The True Value Of Knowledge

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Friday, 7.47pm

Sheffield, U.K.

Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing. – Warren Buffett

I sometimes wonder what the value is in what I do in this blog – how reading and writing and thinking help in any way with the practical issues we face day to day. As Robert Kiyosaki trenchantly pointed out, “A students work for C students, and B students work for the government.” It’s easy to wonder whether getting an education is worth it or whether you’d have been better off setting up in business a long time ago.

And then I learned how much of a privilege it is to have the choice to have an education. I was editing my grandfather’s memoirs and reading about his struggles to get an education in the harshest of circumstances. If he hadn’t pushed himself to study, kept trying to better himself, things might have been very different for those of us that came later.

The thing with knowledge is that it’s a weird sort of thing. When you give it away you still have it. If I tell you something I know I don’t lose anything, I still know it too. But whether or not you know it depends on the way in which you get it.

Most education is about information transfer. In an engineering class, for example, you might learn about relays. You’ll learn about different types of relays and the way in which they’re operated and how they can break circuits when overloaded. But it will mean very little to you if you’ve never seen a relay before or a substation or any of the infrastructure that powers everything around us. I nearly failed electrical engineering because I really didn’t know anything about electrical systems.

Later, when I knew what a generator was and how it was connected a network I understood why such knowledge might be useful. I had a real-world example of a situation that I didn’t understand and the knowledge needed to fill that hole in my understanding had value all of a sudden.

Or in a more general example you only know the value of learning to swim when you find yourself unexpectedly in the deep end.

There are some things you can learn “just in time” and there are other things you should learn “just in case” but the biggest thing about learning is that when you know what you’re doing the risks of doing it wrong go down dramatically. As Santayana said, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It’s best to learn from other people’s mistakes.

But we don’t always value knowledge, not unless we understand that we really need it. No one wants unsolicited advice. But when they’re in trouble they’re desperate for anything that can help.

And I’ve found that the exercise of writing has helped in unexpected ways. I’ve written about models and approaches that seemed interesting and, all too often, the next day someone will mention a problem where one of these ideas happens to help. In the writing phase it can sometimes seem a waste of time. But then it’s unexpectedly valuable when a problematic situation comes along.

Perhaps the best way to end is with another quote by Warren Buffett.

“If you are investing in your education and you are learning, you should do that as early as you possibly can, because then it will have time to compound over the longest period.

And that the things you do learn and invest in should be knowledge that is cumulative, so that the knowledge builds on itself.

So instead of learning something that might become obsolete tomorrow, like some particular type of software [that no one even uses two years later], choose things that will make you smarter in 10 or 20 years.”

Cheers,

Karthik Suresh