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lincolnquirk comments on SotW: Be Specific - Less Wrong

39 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 03 April 2012 06:11AM

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Comment author: lincolnquirk 03 April 2012 09:08:29AM 6 points [-]

Exercise: Stay in the entrepreneurship domain and channel PG. Pretty much everyone has startup ideas, right? Actually apply PG's algorithm to the participants' real startup ideas. 

(I think his algorithm is something like: do I understand the core idea? Is it something people want? How do you know? Is it something people will pay for? How do you know? What are the obvious flaws? Why are you the team to do this? Why is now a good time for this? Is it working? How do you know? What insights/surprises?)

Example: I love Magic the Gathering and I want to have a place for people to talk about how awesome the decks are--

T: be specific!

A site to talk Magic strategy. (+1 conciseness)

T: how do you know people want this?

Well, people love magic and talk about it all the time.

T: I'm not convinced.

Well, I talked to a famous magic player (+1 specificity) and he told me this story about how he invented this deck back in the day on the starcity forums, and he couldn't have done it without the community [lincoln note: this is totally made up], so we want to enable that to happen more. (too general, but the teacher doesn't press yet, instead noting the obvious flaws for later discussion)

T: and people will pay for this?

Yes, magic is an xxx million dollar industry

T: (look of disapproval)

Tournament players care deeply about having & knowing about the best "tech", and the scene changes rapidly every 3 months as new cards are printed (+0.5 specificity)

For example, if I am trying to decide whether to play a mostly red deck, I want badly to know the field - if lots of people are packing pro-red hate, I might not want to play red. (+1)

T: (returning to obvious flaw) why will people post their secret tech? Isn't it advantageous to keep it hidden?

Ah, we will solve this with culture. It's very open environment. (-1)

T: huh?

We found that people are willing to post their decks.

T: how?

Well, we put the forums up and people posted decks! (+1 for specificity. But minus for this actually being a good idea.)

Cutting off my example now because it is getting long.