The Power of Inversion 🔃
And how to use it successfully in Product and Engineering work
Charlie Munger, business partner of Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, once famously said: "All I want to know is where I’m going to die, so I’ll never go there".
That quote was probably inspired by the German mathematician Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi, who often solved hard problems by looking at them backwards. In his own words: "man muss immer umkehren" — that is: "Invert, always invert".
The origin of this approach, though, goes way back in history. Ancient stoic philosophers, like Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, often conducted an exercise called premeditatio malorum, which translates to "premeditation of evils".
Stoics believed that by visualizing negative things that could happen in their lives, they could make better plans to prevent them.
This mental model is known today as Inversion. It was made popular (again) by Munger itself, as a framework that could be applied equally in life and business.
I have been a fan of Inversion for a while, but only recently I realized how many useful practices in Product and Engineering work actually stem from it.
In this article I am going to review some of my favorite ones:
💩 The Worst Possible Solution
✂️ Subtracting over Adding
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