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Implementing Ideas

with startups people say the idea is worthless. there's only value in executing on an idea. making an actual business is the hard part. ideas are a dime a dozen.

in philosophy i think ideas have large value.

one difference is i mean fleshed out ideas. the worthless startup ideas are super vague and lacking detail. one of the reasons they lack value is when you try to build the company you have to figure out the 99% of the idea you left out initially.

what is the implementation of philosophy ideas, anyway? what do you do with them to add value?

you can work out the conclusions a principle leads to. but people won't be persuaded without understanding it themselves. and a list of conclusions is too inflexible and too hard to use if you don't understand the reasoning for them.

you can't do someone else's learning for them. they have to learn it. you can make some material to help an idea be easier to learn. you can organize it, add examples, answer common questions and criticisms, etc. i already do some of that.

if someone learns an idea well enough it's easy to use it in their life. the people who "know" or "agree with" an idea, but struggle to implement it, only know and agree with it by some low, inadequate standards. with a startup, implementing the business is a huge part of it. but with an idea, knowing it properly is 99% of the work.

if someone half-knows an idea, you could help them implement it early, or help them learn the rest. i think learning the rest is the way to go. it's the same principle as powering up until stuff is easy, then acting. implementing ideas when they are hard to implement is early action when you'd be better off powering up more. only doing powering up and easy things is way more efficient. doing hard things is hard and consumes tons of resources (time, attention, energy, effort, sometimes help from helpful people, sometimes money, etc). this connects to the powering up from squirrel morality.

backing up, let's list some meanings of implementing philosophy ideas:

  • learn them yourself
  • learn them for someone else
  • use them in your life
  • get them to be used in someone else's life
  • teach someone to use them in their life
  • work out the details of the ideas
  • be a politician or something and apply them to decisions for a country
  • figure out how to persuade yourself of the ideas, not just know what the ideas are, and do it
  • figure out how to persuade others of the ideas and do it
  • figure out how to persuade others to learn the ideas and do it
  • change your culture
  • change all cultures

i think a good idea, including the details of how it works, why all known rival ideas are mistaken, answers to known criticisms, etc, is a great value. that includes information about why it matters and what problems it solves, so people can see the importance and value.

that's enough.

if someone learned it, they'd be able to use it and benefit a ton. and it already says why they should learn it, why alternatives are worse, etc.

lots of people still won't learn ideas in that scenario. why? because they are irrational. they hate learning and change. they don't respond well to logical reasoning about what's best. they get emotional and defensive. all kinds of crap.

does an idea have to also deal with someone's irrationalities in order to have value? i don't think so, though it'd sure be valuable if it did.

another issue is people have to apply ideas to their lives. this is easy if you know enough and aren't irrationally sabotaging things, but it's not zero. so it's a sense in which the idea is incomplete. a good idea will basically have instructions for how to adjust your actions to a different details, but you still have to think some to do it. it's like "some assembly required" furniture. which certainly does have value even though you have to screw in a few screws yourself.


Elliot Temple on September 2, 2016

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