A Pilgrimage through Stagnation and Acceleration

by Venkat on November 2, 2011

Gregory Rader at onthespiral.com just posted an interesting synthesis of the some of the ideas we’ve been discussing here lately. He’s taken elements of a couple of my recent posts, thrown in other ideas, and come up with a deeper explanation of why mindful learning curves, thrust, drag and 10x effects behave the way they do.  He zeroes in on the idea of latent drag/lurking drag (drag that’s waiting to kick in) as the central meta-problem, and gets to several interesting insights.

But, suppose you have perfected the art of schedule management…have you permanently defeated the scourge that is drag?

Of course not.  Ultimately drag is anything that distracts you from thrust work.  Biological needs are sources of drag.  You surely know at least a few people who periodically engage in near-manic bouts of creative effort, largely by ignoring their needs to eat, sleep, or maintain decent hygiene.

Venkat focuses on schedule management because it is an obvious limiting factor.  Schedule management, for many people is the low hanging fruit.  However, alleviating one source of drag will only enable a temporary period of productive acceleration before another, previously latent source of drag emerges as a limiting factor.

For some relevant context, Greg is big on CrossFit training, and I suspect a lot of his thinking is informed by analogies to that transformation process. Read the whole post: A Pilgrimage through Stagnation and Acceleration (and the comment I’ve posted on stuff like moving bottlenecks and weakest-link dynamics).


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