Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Incremental vs Extreme Change

rc3.org quotes from a conversation between Malcolm Gladwel and Bill Simmons (which I haven’t read). This portion of Gladwell’s quote really intrigued me:

The [full court basketball] press doesn’t guarantee victory. It simply represents the underdog’s best chance of victory. It raises their odds from zero to maybe 50-50. I think, in fact, that you can argue that a pressing team is always going to have real difficulty against a truly elite team. But so what? Everyone, regardless of how they play, is going to have real difficulty against truly elite teams. It’s not a strategy for being the best. It’s a strategy for being better.

I have this conversation often with my friend Justin: Business strategy is not a zero-sum game. I think a lot of companies go out of business trying to find their silver bullet instead of just diversifying their revenue streams and ultimately building something stronger. As a culture we tend to value extreme change over incremental change, regardless of the costs associated.

June 2, 2009