Thinking about Thinking, Big Picture Questions, Solving Problems, Problem Solving, July 24, 2018
Overall * I need to spend more time thinking about thinking * Treat every problem I encounter, even in life as general, as an engineering problem.
Big Questions that I ask myself when I have a problem * How can I know this? * How do I know? * What is the right thing to do? * What experiment can I do? (Feynman) * This must not register at an emotional level - Sherlock Holmes * The teachable moment - Jim Cleland * Find and fix the things you know about and then evaluate what is left. * Get rid of the problems you know about and see what is left. * What problems in life or engineering do I keep running into? * What can I automate so I don't have to spend time on repetitive tasks? * Elon Musk - First Principles Analysis * Complicated problems, solve one piece, then solve the next, then solve the next, take it one piece at a time * Break tasks down into doable pieces. * If you let problems fester, they will keep haunting you. Look at the EU problems. You need to solve the ones you know about and then move on. * Can I solve this problem by throwing something away - Joel Spolsky, aka Joel on Software * Correlation is not Causation - Statistics fool me all the time, I make a change see my desired result and think I’ve solved somethings. * How can I know what I don’t know? Often I don’t realize my assumptions. * Why am I doing, what I am doing? * Why did it happen? * Why didn’t we think of it earlier?
Big Picture Questions • How can I find more time to do things in life? • How do I know X? Where X is some supposed fact. • What experiment can I do? • How do I know … ? • Need to think about my personal weaknesses or lack of knowledge and how to compensate for them.
Thoughts * I need to think about how I can replicate my post-it note type notes on a computer. Maybe using different desktop backgrounds. Maybe rotating backgrounds. * “How do physicists think? Mostly we just look out the window with lots of equations floating around in our head, then we get a piece of paper and scribble them down." - Michio Kaku. I think this has a lot of parallels to how I think about programming or other problems. * It seems like I do my best abstract thinking when I am on a walk, or in the shower, or pacing. Why does this work? Is it because my blood is flowing? Sometimes, when I am getting to the end of the day and sitting in a chair, it does seem like I can think about anything productive. * What experiments can I do? -- Richard Feynman * You can't know something unless you can measure it. * Get rid of the problems you know about and see what is left. * Always have a backup plan * Attention to detail
• Creativity is the residue of wasted time. -- Albert Einstein
• Walking in the forest helps my brain switch off and start dreaming -- Blind guy on Apple WWDC 2012 Keynote
• There are two ways to learn complicated tasks, repeative involvement or rote memorization.
The 6 Leadership Principles at Tesla and SpaceX
* Move Fast * Do the Impossible * Constantly Innovate * Reason from “First Principles” * Think Like Owners * We are all in