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July 9, 2021

Act, Learn, Iterate

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One of the foremost philosophies of entrepreneurship is called iterative design. The intent is to slowly make progress and optimize a process through fast trial and error. There are three key phases to iterative design: First is to act. You cannot know how something will actually behave or perform in practice without doing it. In entrepreneurship speed of action is just as important as quality. Then the second phase is learn. Once you’ve seen the results of your action it’s time to get feedback, analyze metrics, and understand the factors that created the result. Then last is iterate. Hypothesize what might be a primary area for improvement, design that into whatever you’re creating, and give it another go.

This cycle of act-learn-iterate isn’t as foreign as you might think. It’s designed into nature as the mechanism of evolution, called survival of the fittest. It’s part of our childhood development when we learn our boundaries and capabilities as a kid. And note that there’s no failure in the process, there are only opportunities to learn. If you keep that in mind as you pursue your own growth, you’ll see the value in your decisions and be more inclined to take action.

You can’t improve until you’ve learned how to make things better. And you can’t learn until you’ve taken the actions to do so. Act, learn, iterate. And do it all over again and again until you’re where you want to be.

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