Unknown Unknowns #7 - The Fragility of New Ideas
2 min read

Unknown Unknowns #7 - The Fragility of New Ideas

Sorry for the late release!  Today's note has a theme of "new ideas".  Why you should nourish new ideas and how to cultivate and document them.

This Week:

Something Interesting: Crazy New Ideas

Paul Graham's essays are always interesting and well-written.  In Crazy New Ideas, he writes about how fragile new ideas are and how criticism of new ideas can make them whither on the vine.

Almost every great idea will change a paradigm and reject the status quo.  Because of this, these new ideas sound terrible because most people like the status quo.  It's also very easy to hate on a new idea.

Paul Graham wants you to be more open to crazy ideas and to be curious and encourage them.

Experiment - ODie

Last week, I started an experiment with ODie - recording my state of mind five times a day.  I was successful and managed to note my mood fairly regularly over the past week.  I noticed there's a difference between recording the feeling at the time and being late and recording it retrospectively.  Recording it at the time makes it easier to put myself back in the moment and context of when I recorded it.  Recording it retrospectively, you lose that context.

Reddy suggested that this was only the beginning and the real work would be to record things as they happen, not just at specified moment during the day.  So I can see that this technique would help you "go back" to moments in time.  But it's very cumbersome.  Even pulling out your phone to record an emoji is a lot of friction.

The point of this exercise was to explore techniques in documenting how to build in public.  When you're building something, there's a lot of monotony that's broken up by moments of insight.  How do you curate the interesting and educational moments?  It's like writing an autobiography as you live.  It's hard to see the important bits when you're in the middle of it.

Which leads me to my Idea of the week...

Idea of the Week: Documenting "Building in Public"

The idea of building in public is great.  You've all seen tweet threads of retrospectives of how people built their company or a product.  The lessons, the hard work, the breakthroughs.

But how did they come up with the lessons they learned?  

While you're in the middle of building, everything feels simultaneously important and mundane.  You don't know what's important and what's tedious.  

Can we build a tool to lower the friction of documenting building in public while also making it easier to pull out the lessons and interesting stories?

1. Lower the friction of documentation
2. Daily prompts for reflections
3. Make it easier to recognize important moments
4. Make it easier to recognize learning moments
5. Make it easier to recognize narratives

Questions, suggestions, complaints?  Email me me at [email protected].  Feedback welcome.

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please share it with a friend or two.  And feel free to send anything you find interesting to me!

Have a great week,


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