Jake Worth

Do the Hard Things First

January 25, 20211 min read

“First thing in the morning, eat a live frog, and you can go through the rest of your day knowing the worst is behind you.” — Mark Twain

An entrepreneurial inspiration for me is ‘Do the Hard Thing First’, via Ben Orenstein. Ben described on the Art of Product Podcast Episode 50. Here’s my summary of the idea:

Choose the hard part of the problem, the part you’re unsure about, that success rests upon. Solve that first.

The hard part of the problem will be the most valuable and differentiating. If it was easy, there would be no opportunity. It might not even be possible, at least the way you’re thinking about it. Try to solve that first before sinking any more time into the idea.

A contrived example would be an application that simulates human intelligence. Can we build that? What resources will it take? If such a goal is your goal, focus on it. Pass the Turing test, then work on that Slack notifier.

If you fail, that’s okay. At least your didn’t waste your time! Regroup and move forward.


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