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Advantageous Ignorance

In Malcom Gladwell’s book Blink he explained how a well educated professional can sometimes make better choices with less information. This willful or conscious ignorance can actually benefit us because over analyzing can sometimes have catastrophic results. However, there is one benefit that he doesn’t really go into detail about and that is the benefit of courage.

When I was building¬†Scribble Maps¬†I was completely unaware at that time I had some direct competition; competition we are now surpassing. When we started the project, although we did some preliminary research, we didn’t do thorough research. This project would lead us on to some other very exciting projects in the geo space but had we known what we now no then there is high probability we may have no proceeded with the project at all. There is often this belief you should not do something if others are doing it but the reality is you should do things if you can do them better.

There is a fine line between intelligent conscious ignorance and actual ignorance. Actual ignorance can cost lives if you are a general of an army. There is no solid rules about when you should choose to be ignorant. In my opinion it is valuable if it is preventing you from doing something instead of nothing. I have met many people who become stagnant they escape action by pummeling themselves with excuses like, “it’s already being done”. Apple, now one of the most successful tech companies in the world, came up with very few of their own ideas what they excelled at was improving on what everyone else was already doing. The first Apple computer was an improvement on every other boxy standard computer of the time.

All of this said, you can still make bad decisions. Focus is also important and if you have a lot of ideas in front of you, you should definitely focus on the ones that you think have the greatest chance of success.

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