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GOLD! A physicist's guide to learning hard things

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lowtek

lowtek

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Very good thread! Thanks @lowtek .

I don't know if it's just me but putting things on a blank paper the old fashioned way with a pencil seems to trigger some sort of better problem solving neurons in my brain?
It's fast. Cheap. Easy to edit. No rules, just texts, arrows and symbols.
I've noticed the same thing. When dealing with complex problems, it often helps to map out the relationships inputs and outputs.
 

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BaraQueenbee

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1) This delays the feedback loop between taking action and receiving results, thus obscuring the relationship between action and results.
2) It’s often event focused rather than process focused. Consuming prepackaged information often obscures the why of the solution.
This this this, so much of this!

Great post!
 

ned.ryerson

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Nov 14, 2018
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Lots of people have mentioned it specifically or anecdotally - study LEAN for business and AGILE for product / service development.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
 
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lowtek

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Lots of people have mentioned it specifically or anecdotally - study LEAN for business and AGILE for product / service development.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
haha, you're foreshadowing my next post. Part of my training at Intel involved LEAN methodology (which they didn't follow, but whatever) and it's quite useful for business in general. If it worked for Toyota, chances are it can work for all of us.
 

UnrealCreative

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Great post @lowtek!

Traction by Gino Wickman was a great book that introduced me to this kind of rigorous cause-effect testing. Each month I go through what the author called the "Issues Solving Track" to do exactly what you mentioned. This involves asking...

1: What is your desired outcome?
2: What is standing in the way of achieving that outcome?
3: List the issues that are blocking your progress
4: List the solutions to each of your issues
5: Execute

I hadn't considered a hierarchy of potential solutions to choose from in order of importance; that's a good tip I'll begin implementing. Sounds much more efficient.

I've even started implementing this sort of thinking in every area, although I'll admit it's not easy. The biggest pitfalls I've run into is default mental laziness that I think we all get at some point. Some examples...

1: Managing bad results, instead of solving problems ("It doesn't hurt bad enough").
2: Blindly testing solutions without explicitly examining their effectiveness.
3: FORGETTING the solution to the problem you formulated when it comes up again.
4: FORGETTING the process of problem solving, or only applying it to one domain.

...Any more you can think of? I'd be interested in learning how to catch myself in a "dumb problem duck-taping" loop. Rep+
 

AlexCornila

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Aug 12, 2018
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So I was responding to a thread, and realized that one problem I see with some folks, newbies in particular, is that they lack a systematic methodology for teaching oneself. This isn’t surprising, as it’s not really a skill that we’re taught early in life. Realizing this, I figured I would share what I have learned about learning difficult things, over the years.

Of course, the scripted dogma is that we must go to school for 4 years, rack up a mountain of debt, and hope that we'll have marketable skills at the end. For STEM fields, this actually isn't a bad bet, but since most people don't major in useful things, it turns out disastrously for the majority.

I actually see some parallels between that scripted dogma and some of the posts here. Some folks will do extended learning challenges, work through dozens of tutorials, or seek out mentors to hold their hand... Perhaps it's the case that some people really need these constructs and arrangements, but I believe that there exists a better way to teach oneself.

Full disclosure: I guzzled the scripted dogma for the first thirty years of my life. I loved undergrad so much that I did a 5th year as a victory lap. Not willing to enter the real world, I then went on to a masters program and ultimately a PhD. However, from the ashes of these potentially ruinous decisions came an invaluable skillset that benefits me to this day: the ability to learn new things with minimal guidance.

Much like we have the CENTS framework for evaluating business opportunities, I believe there exists a mental framework for teaching oneself new skills.

What does it mean to learn something, really? I argue that learning means internalizing information in a way that allows you to apply it to new problems that are only marginally similar to previously encountered problems. After all, if you only know how to solve one problem, you’re not really a problem solver, you’re a robot.

Central to learning is having a solid mental model of cause and effect relationships. This is necessary because the world we live in is causal. To illustrate, let’s consider a simple example.

Let’s suppose you’re selling a widget on your website. For the sake of argument, we’ll assume that the widget is something people actually want. You’ve got some traffic, but only 1% of it is converting. You want to increase the conversion rate, because you have big baller dreams of lambos and lavish nights out in the big city. Problem is that with that 1% conversion rate you’re barely making burger flipper money, so hyper cars are out of the question, let alone hiring someone to fix the landing page. It’s on you to solve this problem. How to do it?

Most people will approach this problem by reading blog posts, books, or listening to podcasts on conversion rates. They will think they’re taking action, and assimilating knowledge, but in reality they’re wasting time. There are two reasons for this:

1) This delays the feedback loop between taking action and receiving results, thus obscuring the relationship between action and results.
2) It’s often event focused rather than process focused. Consuming prepackaged information often obscures the why of the solution.

The correct approach to learning how to increase conversion rates is this.

Clearly state the problem; the more precise and detailed the better.
Make a guess about what things you can control contribute to the problem
Formulate a plan for iteratively testing each of these possible root causes. Test most likely cause first, if possible.
If necessary, seek out information that tells you how to address each possible root cause.
Execute the plan.
Repeat until solved.

So if your conversion rate is only 1%, you could guess that the following things contribute to that low rate:
1) the page loads so slowly that people leave before it finishes
2) The color scheme makes peoples’ eyes bleed, so they can’t find the buy button
3) The copy reads like it’s written by an overseas scammer
4) The perceived risk is too high

These are just a subset of the possible reasons, and indeed a combination of them could be the problem.

We’ve already stated the problem, so that’s good.

Our analytics indicate loading speed could be an issue, and indeed any of the other 3 could be the problem so we have no choice but to test them all.

Brute force it is.

We therefore start at the top, load speed could be an issue. We then specifically seek out information regarding improving load speed issues on our site. Execute on that information immediately and observe the results. If the loading speed improves but not the conversion rate, then it’s on to the next thing.

We know nothing about color schemes, so we spend some time reading some information about it. After some careful consideration, we settle on a pre selected palette of colors and revamp the site. Observe the results, and move on if necessary.

We don’t know much about copy, so we pick up a copy of Cashvertising and skim the book looking for content that would be helpful. When we’ve found it, we implement it immediately. Observe the results and move on if necessary.

To fix the perceived risk, we can reach out to the 1% that have bought our product and ask for testimonials. So we look up some information on how to craft such an email, and boom send it out. We can also implement a money back guarantee, if we haven’t already.

After implementing all these things, we’re left with a vastly improved site. If the conversion rate doesn’t budge, we merely repeat the process. Come up with additional root causes and systematically test them, looking up information you need along the way.

So to summarize, this is how you rapidly learn new things:
Isolate a problem
Guess the root cause of the problem
Address each root cause in turn
Acquire any new skills to solve that specific problems
Repeat until you’ve got your lambo

This is in contrast to the approach of “oh gee, I have a poorly converting site. Guess I need to read a bunch of stuff on how to improve conversion rates… oh gee, guess I need to know web design, and copy writing, and … oh I’ll just give up”.

This is not to say that reading general business books doesn’t have its place, but I think this is primarily useful for those who are already in motion and can take the 1 or 2 nuggets from a book and apply it to their business straight away. I don’t believe there is large utility in reading for those that are not in motion.

In subsequent posts I’ll talk more about finding underlying principles, and expand on how I’m learning difficult things in my own journey.
well I agree with this observation but this is not necessarily true for all situations; at least in my opinion. Yes it works for situation like your example presented here but this doesn’t always work as nicely for technical subjects in particular. The reason for that is the limited working memory in our brain; it all comes down to the difference between the level of expertise required to tackle a particular problem and the individual’s skill level . When the difference between these two is large enough itis easy to overload ones working memory mental gymnastic becomes impossible therefore blocking actual learning. Here is some info in that http://www.cogtech.usc.edu/publications/kirschner_Sweller_Clark.pdf
 
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lowtek

lowtek

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well I agree with this observation but this is not necessarily true for all situations; at least in my opinion. Yes it works for situation like your example presented here but this doesn’t always work as nicely for technical subjects in particular. The reason for that is the limited working memory in our brain; it all comes down to the difference between the level of expertise required to tackle a particular problem and the individual’s skill level . When the difference between these two is large enough itis easy to overload ones working memory mental gymnastic becomes impossible therefore blocking actual learning. Here is some info in that http://www.cogtech.usc.edu/publications/kirschner_Sweller_Clark.pdf
Of course, we're all working within our physical limitations.

If LeBron James told you the way to master basketball was to play every day, it would still be true that you'll always be working within your physical limitations (i.e. you're probably not 6'8"). Nevertheless, the process to achieve success is the same regardless of your limitations and one should always strive to max out their potential.

Beyond that, working memory can be expanded with N-back training... but that's a topic for another post :)
 

Hijena1

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I can't believe, this is right on time! Just yesterday I was searching for new learning and execution methods and now this happens.
Sometimes its hard for me to comprehend that this forum and helpful community exists.
Thank you for shearing this technique.

I hope you are doing well.
 

Carrenoda

New Contributor
Nov 18, 2018
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Wow! That's....a crazy observation. So crazy that most people (including myself) were OBLIVIOUS ENTIRELY to their own inability to learn. That's something I've struggled with insanely in alot of things. Except music.
MUSIC is where I found my ability to learn on my own with little research to play instruments. I can play guitar,drums,bass guitar, and such completely by myself. Self taught. Yes I had to research to find the solution and did it but I was unaware of myself being able to self teach myself (or at least unaware of the concept). Thank you!

Now I know where to direct MYSELF into the darkest tunnels with help when needed on certain manners. Thank you SO MUCH for updating me about this post.
What would you recommend to start learning how to play the guitar?
 

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Roli

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So I was responding to a thread, and realized that one problem I see with some folks, newbies in particular, is that they lack a systematic methodology for teaching oneself. This isn’t surprising, as it’s not really a skill that we’re taught early in life. Realizing this, I figured I would share what I have learned about learning difficult things, over the years.

Of course, the scripted dogma is that we must go to school for 4 years, rack up a mountain of debt, and hope that we'll have marketable skills at the end. For STEM fields, this actually isn't a bad bet, but since most people don't major in useful things, it turns out disastrously for the majority.

I actually see some parallels between that scripted dogma and some of the posts here. Some folks will do extended learning challenges, work through dozens of tutorials, or seek out mentors to hold their hand... Perhaps it's the case that some people really need these constructs and arrangements, but I believe that there exists a better way to teach oneself.

Full disclosure: I guzzled the scripted dogma for the first thirty years of my life. I loved undergrad so much that I did a 5th year as a victory lap. Not willing to enter the real world, I then went on to a masters program and ultimately a PhD. However, from the ashes of these potentially ruinous decisions came an invaluable skillset that benefits me to this day: the ability to learn new things with minimal guidance.

Much like we have the CENTS framework for evaluating business opportunities, I believe there exists a mental framework for teaching oneself new skills.

What does it mean to learn something, really? I argue that learning means internalizing information in a way that allows you to apply it to new problems that are only marginally similar to previously encountered problems. After all, if you only know how to solve one problem, you’re not really a problem solver, you’re a robot.

Central to learning is having a solid mental model of cause and effect relationships. This is necessary because the world we live in is causal. To illustrate, let’s consider a simple example.

Let’s suppose you’re selling a widget on your website. For the sake of argument, we’ll assume that the widget is something people actually want. You’ve got some traffic, but only 1% of it is converting. You want to increase the conversion rate, because you have big baller dreams of lambos and lavish nights out in the big city. Problem is that with that 1% conversion rate you’re barely making burger flipper money, so hyper cars are out of the question, let alone hiring someone to fix the landing page. It’s on you to solve this problem. How to do it?

Most people will approach this problem by reading blog posts, books, or listening to podcasts on conversion rates. They will think they’re taking action, and assimilating knowledge, but in reality they’re wasting time. There are two reasons for this:

1) This delays the feedback loop between taking action and receiving results, thus obscuring the relationship between action and results.
2) It’s often event focused rather than process focused. Consuming prepackaged information often obscures the why of the solution.

The correct approach to learning how to increase conversion rates is this.

Clearly state the problem; the more precise and detailed the better.
Make a guess about what things you can control contribute to the problem
Formulate a plan for iteratively testing each of these possible root causes. Test most likely cause first, if possible.
If necessary, seek out information that tells you how to address each possible root cause.
Execute the plan.
Repeat until solved.

So if your conversion rate is only 1%, you could guess that the following things contribute to that low rate:
1) the page loads so slowly that people leave before it finishes
2) The color scheme makes peoples’ eyes bleed, so they can’t find the buy button
3) The copy reads like it’s written by an overseas scammer
4) The perceived risk is too high

These are just a subset of the possible reasons, and indeed a combination of them could be the problem.

We’ve already stated the problem, so that’s good.

Our analytics indicate loading speed could be an issue, and indeed any of the other 3 could be the problem so we have no choice but to test them all.

Brute force it is.

We therefore start at the top, load speed could be an issue. We then specifically seek out information regarding improving load speed issues on our site. Execute on that information immediately and observe the results. If the loading speed improves but not the conversion rate, then it’s on to the next thing.

We know nothing about color schemes, so we spend some time reading some information about it. After some careful consideration, we settle on a pre selected palette of colors and revamp the site. Observe the results, and move on if necessary.

We don’t know much about copy, so we pick up a copy of Cashvertising and skim the book looking for content that would be helpful. When we’ve found it, we implement it immediately. Observe the results and move on if necessary.

To fix the perceived risk, we can reach out to the 1% that have bought our product and ask for testimonials. So we look up some information on how to craft such an email, and boom send it out. We can also implement a money back guarantee, if we haven’t already.

After implementing all these things, we’re left with a vastly improved site. If the conversion rate doesn’t budge, we merely repeat the process. Come up with additional root causes and systematically test them, looking up information you need along the way.

So to summarize, this is how you rapidly learn new things:
Isolate a problem
Guess the root cause of the problem
Address each root cause in turn
Acquire any new skills to solve that specific problems
Repeat until you’ve got your lambo

This is in contrast to the approach of “oh gee, I have a poorly converting site. Guess I need to read a bunch of stuff on how to improve conversion rates… oh gee, guess I need to know web design, and copy writing, and … oh I’ll just give up”.

This is not to say that reading general business books doesn’t have its place, but I think this is primarily useful for those who are already in motion and can take the 1 or 2 nuggets from a book and apply it to their business straight away. I don’t believe there is large utility in reading for those that are not in motion.

In subsequent posts I’ll talk more about finding underlying principles, and expand on how I’m learning difficult things in my own journey.

Thank you for this Gold @lowtek. It's funny because my answer to people when they ask what the point of going to college is. Is that you need to learn how to learn, however I have received such short shrift on this site, as I tend to go against the idea that Uni is a waste of time (it isn't), that I've almost given up giving that advice.

Can I ask, what would your approach be to learning to code in general, and also if you have an app idea?
 
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lowtek

lowtek

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Thank you for this Gold @lowtek. It's funny because my answer to people when they ask what the point of going to college is. Is that you need to learn how to learn, however I have received such short shrift on this site, as I tend to go against the idea that Uni is a waste of time (it isn't), that I've almost given up giving that advice.

Can I ask, what would your approach be to learning to code in general, and also if you have an app idea?
I can dedicate a separate post to learning to code in particular, but the basic idea is the same. Pick a project, break it into smaller parts, try to attack each part and look up relevant documentation or tutorials to solve very specific problems related to each of those smaller parts. You can build up a surprising amount of knowledge very quickly that way, without getting bogged down in action fakery.

As far as an app idea, if you check my insider thread you'll see what I've got going on ;) I'll post about it on the outside when I'm ready for a reveal, as I think what I'm developing would be beneficial to many of the folks here.
 

DustinH

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Great post @lowtek!

Traction by Gino Wickman was a great book that introduced me to this kind of rigorous cause-effect testing. Each month I go through what the author called the "Issues Solving Track" to do exactly what you mentioned. This involves asking...

1: What is your desired outcome?
2: What is standing in the way of achieving that outcome?
3: List the issues that are blocking your progress
4: List the solutions to each of your issues
5: Execute

I hadn't considered a hierarchy of potential solutions to choose from in order of importance; that's a good tip I'll begin implementing. Sounds much more efficient.

I've even started implementing this sort of thinking in every area, although I'll admit it's not easy. The biggest pitfalls I've run into is default mental laziness that I think we all get at some point. Some examples...

1: Managing bad results, instead of solving problems ("It doesn't hurt bad enough").
2: Blindly testing solutions without explicitly examining their effectiveness.
3: FORGETTING the solution to the problem you formulated when it comes up again.
4: FORGETTING the process of problem solving, or only applying it to one domain.

...Any more you can think of? I'd be interested in learning how to catch myself in a "dumb problem duck-taping" loop. Rep+
Reading this thread made me think of the Entrepreneur Operating System, too. I wondered if anyone would mention Traction. Highly recommended read for everyone out there. Sounds like the decision-making or problem-solving process for the Visionary in the company.
 

LivingToLearn32

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What would you recommend to start learning how to play the guitar?
Well I started when I was 13 ish. I decided to pick up a guitar and play one and knew that it was my calling.
For 2 years I played mostly on my own teaching myself how to play it. But without a teacher, it would of been even harder. So roughly when I was 16 or 17, my great uncle taught me some written music and also how to play certain chords for at least 6 months and that was the spark for my self teaching. Eventually I stopped going to the lessons because I have high school to focus on at the time and other hardships family wise were preventing me from being taught by him like studying, reading, and etc. So anyways, Around the age of 18 is when I met this guy who was the brother to one my good friends in high school. Then me and him jammed for about 4 years together till I was 22. Then I stopped hanging with him because I was in college and other things were going on in my life that required my attention like college and looking for a better job instead of working at a grocery store I started at when I was 19. Stayed there till I was 23 last year.
I taught myself in these steps through my experience for the best results:

1: Find a song you want to play and focus on that song till you 100% know how to play it flawlessly
2: Listen to the same song, over and over again till even after it drives you insane.
3: Look up people on Youtube and WATCH THEIR FINGERS. Focus and observe their motions till you learn yourself without any instructions how to play them.
4: I didn't look up tabs, I watched people use their hands and fingers and wouldn't stop watching till I could do the same motions theirs were doing.
5: Once you have completely learned the song, move on to the next.
6: I primarily play metal and rock and hard rock. Once you play the songs and albums and learn them over and over again to perfection, you will eventually not need tabs, instructions, videos, or even lessons anymore because then you'll be able to play the next song immediately the 1st time you listen to it.

That is how I learned.
 

Roli

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I can dedicate a separate post to learning to code in particular
If you have the time, please do...

Though I'm messing about with Steem Python later (bot programming) and I'm going to apply the principles you set out.
 

igor ganapolsky

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Jan 14, 2018
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I like everything you've said. I would add, though, that having a mentor/coach and a badass network of skillful people who you can call at any time, might save years worth of wasted effort and self-learning.
 

igor ganapolsky

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Jan 14, 2018
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Hey, I'm a software engineer. Looking for advice and networking with like-minded professionals. I'm working on becoming an entrepreneur. What learning advice would you give me to become a successful entrepreneur and inventor?
 
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lowtek

lowtek

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Hey, I'm a software engineer. Looking for advice and networking with like-minded professionals. I'm working on becoming an entrepreneur. What learning advice would you give me to become a successful entrepreneur and inventor?
Best advice is to just enter the arena and see what happens. The "what" to do is less important than simply getting into motion.

For instance, you can freelance, or create digital assets (i.e. wordpress plugins, apps) to sell.
 
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Guest61362

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On and off with going over web (HTML, JS and related) tutorials and videos- nothing really sticks. But as soon as there is a real problem, troubleshooting and learning happens.
Used to to blame it on my (supposed to be) personality type - ISTP, like the one who only learns by action and gets bored from books or any theory.
I learn more doing some really cheap freelance when someone has a real (or urgent) problem than signing up to a course or networking.

Looking for a way to make it not so cheap. Overpromise over ability seems like lying.

I guess creating that real problem would be to quit my day job but that seems too far over at the moment.
 
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lowtek

lowtek

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On and off with going over web (HTML, JS and related) tutorials and videos- nothing really sticks. But as soon as there is a real problem, troubleshooting and learning happens.
Used to to blame it on my (supposed to be) personality type - ISTP, like the one who only learns by action and gets bored from books or any theory.
I learn more doing some really cheap freelance when someone has a real (or urgent) problem than signing up to a course or networking.

Looking for a way to make it not so cheap. Overpromise over ability seems like lying.

I guess creating that real problem would be to quit my day job but that seems too far over at the moment.

Sorry I it does not make any sense, English not the first one.
Your English is fine, I read you loud and clear.

I wouldn't recommend quitting your day job until you've got a solid flow of freelance work.

Getting paid more just means solving bigger problems, and getting better at communicating the value of what you do.
 

ColbyG

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Absolutely brilliant post mate. If there's one useful thing my engineering degree has taught me, it's how to learn things very freakin fast. At uni you have no choice but to pick up and apply concepts quickly, and this gets drilled into you for years.

I found the best way to learn is by 'doing'. Read a little bit of background info, a few example, then have a go. You're probably gonna get it wrong, but that's fine. Figure out where you went wrong and try another problem. This process can be applied to anything, as long as there isn't any real negative consequences to getting stuff wrong.
 

RayAndré

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So I was responding to a thread, and realized that one problem I see with some folks, newbies in particular, is that they lack a systematic methodology for teaching oneself. This isn’t surprising, as it’s not really a skill that we’re taught early in life. Realizing this, I figured I would share what I have learned about learning difficult things, over the years.

Of course, the scripted dogma is that we must go to school for 4 years, rack up a mountain of debt, and hope that we'll have marketable skills at the end. For STEM fields, this actually isn't a bad bet, but since most people don't major in useful things, it turns out disastrously for the majority.

I actually see some parallels between that scripted dogma and some of the posts here. Some folks will do extended learning challenges, work through dozens of tutorials, or seek out mentors to hold their hand... Perhaps it's the case that some people really need these constructs and arrangements, but I believe that there exists a better way to teach oneself.

Full disclosure: I guzzled the scripted dogma for the first thirty years of my life. I loved undergrad so much that I did a 5th year as a victory lap. Not willing to enter the real world, I then went on to a masters program and ultimately a PhD. However, from the ashes of these potentially ruinous decisions came an invaluable skillset that benefits me to this day: the ability to learn new things with minimal guidance.

Much like we have the CENTS framework for evaluating business opportunities, I believe there exists a mental framework for teaching oneself new skills.

What does it mean to learn something, really? I argue that learning means internalizing information in a way that allows you to apply it to new problems that are only marginally similar to previously encountered problems. After all, if you only know how to solve one problem, you’re not really a problem solver, you’re a robot.

Central to learning is having a solid mental model of cause and effect relationships. This is necessary because the world we live in is causal. To illustrate, let’s consider a simple example.

Let’s suppose you’re selling a widget on your website. For the sake of argument, we’ll assume that the widget is something people actually want. You’ve got some traffic, but only 1% of it is converting. You want to increase the conversion rate, because you have big baller dreams of lambos and lavish nights out in the big city. Problem is that with that 1% conversion rate you’re barely making burger flipper money, so hyper cars are out of the question, let alone hiring someone to fix the landing page. It’s on you to solve this problem. How to do it?

Most people will approach this problem by reading blog posts, books, or listening to podcasts on conversion rates. They will think they’re taking action, and assimilating knowledge, but in reality they’re wasting time. There are two reasons for this:

1) This delays the feedback loop between taking action and receiving results, thus obscuring the relationship between action and results.
2) It’s often event focused rather than process focused. Consuming prepackaged information often obscures the why of the solution.

The correct approach to learning how to increase conversion rates is this.

Clearly state the problem; the more precise and detailed the better.
Make a guess about what things you can control contribute to the problem
Formulate a plan for iteratively testing each of these possible root causes. Test most likely cause first, if possible.
If necessary, seek out information that tells you how to address each possible root cause.
Execute the plan.
Repeat until solved.

So if your conversion rate is only 1%, you could guess that the following things contribute to that low rate:
1) the page loads so slowly that people leave before it finishes
2) The color scheme makes peoples’ eyes bleed, so they can’t find the buy button
3) The copy reads like it’s written by an overseas scammer
4) The perceived risk is too high

These are just a subset of the possible reasons, and indeed a combination of them could be the problem.

We’ve already stated the problem, so that’s good.

Our analytics indicate loading speed could be an issue, and indeed any of the other 3 could be the problem so we have no choice but to test them all.

Brute force it is.

We therefore start at the top, load speed could be an issue. We then specifically seek out information regarding improving load speed issues on our site. Execute on that information immediately and observe the results. If the loading speed improves but not the conversion rate, then it’s on to the next thing.

We know nothing about color schemes, so we spend some time reading some information about it. After some careful consideration, we settle on a pre selected palette of colors and revamp the site. Observe the results, and move on if necessary.

We don’t know much about copy, so we pick up a copy of Cashvertising and skim the book looking for content that would be helpful. When we’ve found it, we implement it immediately. Observe the results and move on if necessary.

To fix the perceived risk, we can reach out to the 1% that have bought our product and ask for testimonials. So we look up some information on how to craft such an email, and boom send it out. We can also implement a money back guarantee, if we haven’t already.

After implementing all these things, we’re left with a vastly improved site. If the conversion rate doesn’t budge, we merely repeat the process. Come up with additional root causes and systematically test them, looking up information you need along the way.

So to summarize, this is how you rapidly learn new things:
Isolate a problem
Guess the root cause of the problem
Address each root cause in turn
Acquire any new skills to solve that specific problems
Repeat until you’ve got your lambo

This is in contrast to the approach of “oh gee, I have a poorly converting site. Guess I need to read a bunch of stuff on how to improve conversion rates… oh gee, guess I need to know web design, and copy writing, and … oh I’ll just give up”.

This is not to say that reading general business books doesn’t have its place, but I think this is primarily useful for those who are already in motion and can take the 1 or 2 nuggets from a book and apply it to their business straight away. I don’t believe there is large utility in reading for those that are not in motion.

In subsequent posts I’ll talk more about finding underlying principles, and expand on how I’m learning difficult things in my own journey.
Sounds like debugging a bug of people-arent-buying. (I'm a programmer so most of my job is debugging.)

Sitting around the dinner table these last few days with my family, my sister and brother in law have told many surgery stories as they're both surgeons.

These same ideas apply to fixing a human body as a software program:
- there is a specific way the system works when it works
- if the system isn't working then there's (usually) a specific thing wrong
- find/search for the specific thing wrong
- fix it (or do what you think will fix it) [the more domain knowledge you have here the better you are at fixing things the first time]
- if the attempted fix works, move on
- else repeat

(aren't you glad I'm not a surgeon?)
 

igor ganapolsky

New Contributor
Jan 14, 2018
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Sounds like debugging a bug of people-arent-buying. (I'm a programmer so most of my job is debugging.)
(aren't you glad I'm not a surgeon?)
Can I ask what kind of programming you do? You're right, most of what we perform is debugging (although Test-Driven-Development should solve that anomaly).
 

lucasb

New Contributor
Jun 5, 2018
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Excellent publication, to expand from the theoretical, all these concepts arise in the book managment icon LA META, by Eliyahu Goldratt.
The fascinating thing is that by looking for root causes, if we are able to delve into the causes of causes, the more root causes, or in their own words if we reach a nuclear cause ... all the negative effects are eliminated ( the first causes that we propose)

That is, if we look for causes of a problem, we must continue asking each cause because, because, because and the deeper we get, the better the result will be. (a thousand hits on the branches, equal one in the roots)

Another book that was written for Japanese students, is RESOLVE FROM Ken Watanabe. With simple concepts, easy to understand, talk about the same thing, find the causes of the problems, develop solutions with their pros and cons, the solutions that have cons that we can not face are discarded and we work with the solutions looking to make rain of ideas to achieve the best plan of action. Finally, progress is executed and monitored, restarting the cycle as many times as necessary.

Two incredible books!
 

TheGuy

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Nov 5, 2018
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This is brilliant and has lead me down a new path of learning. Thank you!
 

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