Aim for 0.1x Growth

Post by Pete Wailes

In development circles, there's the concept of the "10x engineer". That is to say, the best of the best, who by virtue of their excellence are 10x more productive than average.

The problem is, productiveness doesn't scale. Complexity adds inertia, and inertia is logarithmic in scale, not linear. A company can start with one person, but add in a few more and you start needing someone to look after ops. Then finances. HR. Managers. People whose function is in keeping the business running, so the people who deliver the final product can do so. As the company scales, the number of people who are tangential to actual output increases.

Hence the exponentiality.

Combating Complexity

Similar to how a great programmer is better because they write better code, which is more maintainable and simpler, not 10x more, the only way to reduce this overhead is to aim for 0.1x growth, rather than 10x. Getting the most possible out of everything you currently have, rather than adding overhead.

Using existing software or systems instead of building custom functionality, where the value of the end result is the same.

Testing the efficacy of concepts with prototypes before investing too much time in production.

Adjusting current processes before adding new ones.

Pruning unused systems/features to maximise the value of what remains.

Or, as others have put it...

The best code is no code at all. Every new line of code you willingly bring into the world is code that has to be debugged, code that has to be read and understood, code that has to be supported. Every time you write new code, you should do so reluctantly, under duress, because you completely exhausted all your other options.

Jeff Atwood

The fastest code is the code which does not run. The code easiest to maintain is the code that was never written.

Robert Galanakis

Good Enough Is Often Good Enough

Sam and Sarah both see a beautiful bird in their garden. Sam runs upstairs, grabs his DSLR, changes the lens to his lovely telephoto, gets his tripod, runs back downstairs, sets everything up, and finally takes a beautifully composed, wonderfully shot photo of the bird.

Sarah took out her phone and shot the photo before Sam left the room.

A 10x solution might be technically more perfect, but most of the time, "works" is all your need.

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