Define the problem

Why is it so hard to put into words what the problem is? And when done, why do few people agree on it? And when agreed, even fewer agree on the solution for it?

It is incredibly hard to separate opinion from fact when describing what we see as humans. The stories we tell ourselves (and maybe even believe) are just that – stories. Someone else with a different story (based on another agenda?) might convince us to believe in it. As a friend said to me yesterday, there’s a fine line between influence and manipulation, and often we have no idea what it is.

Some people appear adept at defining problems. Some others are adept at persuading others that their definition of the problem  is the only one, and investing time, money, and effort to solve that is the right thing to do.


Something related from an article by Venkatesh Rao:

The wholes are too big to fit in a single human mind, and the physical embodiments are too vast to capture even on a single map, let alone in a single photograph.


Note to self: I struggle with problem definition all the time. I tend to sleep on it. Often, that helps clarify fact from fiction. More often, the problem isn’t even there. Why don’t you do that sleep thing  more often?


It’s been a dreary day and no walk possible in this weather




The answers to my problems were always simpler than I wanted them to be. [Article]

David of Raptitude discovers a profound truth to a vexing but common problem that I can certainly relate to:

it’s almost always obvious what others should do, and less obvious what we should do ourselves. I’ve become increasingly aware of this phenomenon, both on the giving end and receiving end of advice.

Disruptions: The Echo Chamber of Silicon Valley [Article]

The NY Times Nick Bilton walks into the echo chamber called Silicon Valley, & discovers that lots of startups are solving fake problems that don’t actually create any value (or in other words, a solution is search of a problem).  Read more from Evgeny Morozov here