"The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes." — Sherlock Holmes
Do you know there's a mental model that Elon Musk uses before he makes any major decision?
He uses a secret mental model less known to the public, which gives him a creative edge to produce groundbreaking ideas. He used First Principles Thinking mental model before starting companies like Tesla and SpaceX.
Let's think like an Elon Musk. Shall we?
#1. Understand the 'first principles thinking' model
Q) What is First Principles Thinking?
First principles thinking strips everything about a problem and breaks assumptions down until only fundamental factors remain. It leaves you with only a set of facts and the desired outcome. From there, you can build your own solution.
First principles thinking in layman's terms: Breaking down complicated problems into basic elements and then reassemble them from the ground up.
|Tradition Thinking||First Principle Thinking|
|Start with what ||Start with |
|Try to |
|Build on ||Focus on |
|Wondering ||Asking |
We will dissect a real-life example, i.e.
Baking a cake.
I love cakes 😋 Who's not?
You need 4 essential ingredients to make a delicious cake.
For decades humans thought cake means we have to use Eggs. No one challenged this assumption and asked questions like
1. Why do we need eggs to make a cake?
2. How can I make a cake without using eggs?
Once you started questioning the status quo, then you have to start somewhere. i.e. define the problem.
#2. Define your problem
A cake would crumble without using eggs. Doh 🤦♂️
In cake making (or baking), the egg acts as a binder. Without using the egg, the cake would fell apart, and we have to eat the crumbles from the floor. Just imagine a cake served without a structure that crumbles on a plate and there onto your favourite outfit.
It's a problem. There's another big problem.
Can you guess?
Many vegetarians consider egg is not a vegetarian food. Because the egg is the main ingredient in baking a cake, many vegetarians avoid eating cakes and missing the sugar rush.
Obviously, some people got upset, not the vegetarians but the people behind Metformin (a medication that controls the blood glucose levels when you have diabetes).
Metformin is a $200 trillion scam. We have to discuss this greatest marketing ploy and how they managed to flog the Metformin by lowering the standard blood glucose readings and categorised half of the earth's population as diabetic in a single night.
Overnight diabetes becomes a pandemic.
I degrees. Apologies. Back to the main subject of our problem statement.
Without the eggs, the cake would crumble and won't bind.
Your job is to ask fundamental questions like
1. What is the problem if we don't use egg?
2. What other ingredients could I use to replace the egg?
#3. Build a solution from the ground up
Brainstorm the problems that you have identified in the previous step.
Go against the grind. Think out of the box.
Once you define all the answers to your questions, then you can build your new solution from the ground up.
In our example, someone came with an idea and started baking without using an egg.
Over time, different bakers (moms, pops, grannies) worked hard and managed to find not just one but many ingredients that we can use to replace egg in a cake.
- Mashed Banana
- Sweetened Condensed Milk
- Yoghurt (dairy-free or regular)
- Silken Tofu
- Ground Flax Seed mixed with water
Nice Narendra (that's me), but how is it related to the marketing, mate?
Good question 👏👏
When moms and pops are happily busy baking cakes without eggs, someone from the business world started a cake making factory that solely sells cakes without eggs. They started to make 1000's a day.
The company is called Cake Box. Currently, they have 164 branches throughout the U.K with profits of around £18.56 million. Not bad for an eggless cake company.
Cake Box solved a problem on a scale and created a niche for themselves.
The question is how you can use the First Principles Thinking in your industry to grow your product line or think out of the box to come up with new marketing ideas.
Instead of writing blog post after blog post, you pause your marketing efforts and sit down to see the problem you are trying to solve in your space.
Then go to the root cause of the problem and see anything you can
eliminate or substitute for creating a monopolistic presence in your industry.
After all, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. You steer the direction a bit by asking a few fundamental questions not challenged in your industry for decades.
What do you think?
I can help. If you are struggling to facelift your digital marketing, let me help your business using the First Principles Thinking mental model.
Then come and get me here for a free 30 minutes session. I can find a strategy + tactics to create a hockey stick growth curve in your profits.
No matter what you do to make the dough in your business, you should always
solve a problemin your niche but with a twist.
Use the First Principles Thinking mental model and
strip everything about a problemby breaking all the rules and assumptions until only fundamental factors remain. It strips away assumptions and leaves you with only a set of facts and the desired outcome.
brainstorm a solution. Ask a few fundamental questions not challenged in your industry for decades. Don't forget to add your own twist.
Test test test.
Iterate and finally implement.