In the second episode of the Mentor From Afar podcast, one of the topics I discussed with Robert Scoble was First Principles Thinking.  First Principles Thinking is really about breaking a problem down and re-thinking it.  Robert lives in the heart of “first principles” thinking in Silicon Valley.  He said, “this is just what we do”.  He was referring to the desire to think of problems differently.  One of my favorite stories from this episode was when Robert mentioned he was “walking in a Paris snowstorm with a bunch of nerds and two of the nerds were talking to each other about trying to get a car.  Travis said to Garrett, “why can’t we see this on our phone”.  Of course Robert was talking about the birth of Uber.  Robert has so many stories in this podcast that are both tremendously interested and filled with lessons.  

Main Components

As Robert said in the podcast in regards to all the people he has talked with over his career, “they will all teach you something if you listen”.  You can apply that thinking to your everyday life.  Take the great parts of what someone has taught you or apply a lesson learned.  Sometimes what you hear is even a lesson on what not to do.  First principles thinking was taught at Stanford, but now it is discussed at universities and design thinking shops all around the world.  The main three components are:

  1. Identify your assumptions
  2. Break down those assumptions into their fundamental parts
  3. Create a completely new solution

You don’t have to create the next Uber to use first principles thinking, you can apply it to a process at your job right now.   Another great way to learn skills and ways to tackle problems is by finding a coach on Gunschu!   I encourage you to check it out today!