Ceilings and floors

The metaphor of ceilings and floors has really helped me visualize the risk of different choices.

  • Hire 7 interns instead of 2: ceiling = 7 people really producing well, floor = 5 people distracting me. What’s my plan to push for the ceiling and avoid the floor?
  • In minimum-viable product, tradeoff one feature for another: what’s the worst that could happen, what’s the best that’s possible?

The awful mistake we often make is to compare ceilings to floors. When weighing options, compare floor to floor, and ceiling to ceiling.

When people argue with each other, yell, scream, call names, protest, counter-protest, and counter-counter-counter protest, they’re usually doing this: recognizing all ceiling on their side, all floor on the other. And vice versa.

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