In a recent interview by Kevin Rose for Foundation 20, entrepreneur Elon Musk who is the founder of SpaceX and a cofounder of PayPal, Tesla Motors, and Zip2 discussed the advantages of approaching problems differently. According to Elon, “The normal way we conduct our lives is we reason by analogy,” he said. “[With analogy] we are doing this because it’s like something else that was done, or it is like what other people are doing. [With first principles] you boil things down to the most fundamental truths … and then reason up from there.”
Aristotle was a proponent of first principle thinking over 2300 years ago and stated that it is the key to doing any sort of systemic inquiry.
What if professional service professionals approached client problems this way instead of always building their deliverables on past projects?
No one is saying throw away all that accumulated knowledge and experience but, think about the value you could bring to your clients if you took the time to look at problems differently. Musk admits while first principles “takes a lot more mental energy,” you can end up with novel or even groundbreaking results.
When Musk and his team were trying to estimate how much the first SpaceX rockets would cost, they decided not to just look at the products on the market. Instead, they figured out what the necessary parts of a rocket were, and then found out how much the raw materials of those parts would cost. The result was startling: SpaceX could build a rocket for about 2% of the typical price.
Do you think this process could help you add more value with your service clients and result in more business?
Technology doesn’t replace your brain but it can be a great tool for organizing and communicating your work. Selecting an easy to use application that is designed for professional services can reduce administrative overhead and free up that time you need to deliver better results to your clients. Make sure you check-out PSA by Upland and ask about how to make user adoption easier and how to catch that lost revenue. With decades of experience delivering software solutions for service organizations, we literally wrote the book on this market “Professional Services Automation: Optimizing Project & Service Oriented Organizations”.
About the Author: Blake Bisson has decades of experience as a senior executive in start-up and large publicly traded companies in product management, product marketing, marketing and sales. At Upland Software he has run product marketing for both PowerSteering and most recently PSA/Timesheet.