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Introduction to problem decomplication
3 min read

Introduction to problem decomplication

Introduction to problem decomplication

Hi, all!

In this newsletter, you will find a decomposition of the problems we experience in our daily lives and a take on finding simple solutions to them.

But before diving deeper into the idea, let me introduce myself

I am Dmitry and I’ve decided to start this newsletter to structure my own thoughts and ideas. The concept of this substack came to me when I read an amazing article by Nat Eliason Decomplication: How to Find Simple Solutions to “Hard” Problems.

During the day, I work as Head of Software Engineering, building scalable and distributed software solutions. However, during the night I work on my side projects, building tech products. There is only one problem (ES: change to challenge or something, too many words “problem”) - it’s very hard to identify the problems worth solving and finding a disruptive solution.

How the problems become complex and who is behind it

Most of the problems have simple solutions. How to lose weight, how to save money, how to build muscles  — all of them have an extremely simple answer.

So how we can sleep well?

The answer is extremely simple - you need to sleep 8 hours in a quiet and dark environment without any disturbances. However, there are too many distractions. Ray Dalio summarised it as 1st and 2nd level outcomes of every action. If you go out till late the 1st level outcome is meeting your friends and socializing, but 2nd level outcome is cutting in your sleep time. It’s hard to make decisions based on 2nd level outcomes of each action - avoid binge watching Netflix or partying with friends till 2 am.

The simple solution becomes hard to do.

Once, we start believing the simple solution doesn’t work anymore, we try to find a more complex solution.

Nat calls this force Cognitive dissonance.

Once you start searching for complex hard to maintain solutions, the new industry of sleeping supplements arises (smart mattresses and pillows, pills) and reaches a multi-billion dollar valuation.

How to undo the complexity and decomplicate the problem

Artificial complexity is bad. It makes you spend time researching the complex solutions and money to buy them.

Sadly, decomplicating the problems is not easy and requires thinking in two directions:

  1. Realistically assessing the complexity of the problem (Was it made artificially complex)
  2. Realistically assessing the difficulty of the problem (Was it made artificially difficult)

Assessing the complexity

When artificial complexity is created, there are precursors that you can find out:

  • Someone is benefitting from the complex solutions;
  • People believe that complex solutions have more value;
  • Secretly we know the simple solutions.
  • People are failing using simple solutions and shift to complex solutions;

Assessing the difficulty

  • Do we control the variables that make it difficult?
  • Is treating it as difficult an excuse for our inability of thinking in 2nd level outcomes?
  • People are failing to use simple solutions and start thinking it’s hard to do;

Finding the simple solution

We will try to go back to axioms or A Priori knowledge

Sleep - just sleep 8 hours in a quiet environment, with lights off

Weight loss - eat less, eat healthily

Networking - just be someone who others would like to know and become friends with

Productivity - you want to do more. You do less because you are distracted. Focus and remove distractions to become more productive.

Personal finance - spend less than earnings.

Business - build something people love and keep spendings less than earning

In the next posts, I will try to go through the some of the artificially overcomplicated problems.

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