How Long Can You Work Without Validation?

One of the problems with Social Media is that we get instant, usually pleasant results.  We can direct message, someone.  We can call ’em. We can post a picture of our kid or a platitude about life.  And people will generally give us results.

Low-value, low-meaning results that don’t require effort.

It’s not difficult to get a high volume of low-value validation. This is why memes exist.

Visible Validation  

So we cheapen the real value of actual work (which mostly happens behind the scenes).

We get tricked into breathing in Carbon Monoxide when we seek the easy and stimulating stuff.For the promise of distribution (which our social networks have pretty much delivered very well) we Frizzle-Fry our brains.  We get addicted to validation.

We lose the ability to focus.

We require something as cool as the most distracting website in the history of man as a baseline for stimulation.  Figuring out an intricate problem wears us down.

But look – look at what our Ex Girlfriend-from-High-School is up to these days!   Holy shit, you dodged a bullet, she’s now selling Essential Oils and living out of a trailer in Fresno!  Woah!

When we’re embarking on something, it comes in phases. There are steps we need to take before we should get feedback.

Creating: We have to create ideas at some point. Creation takes mental energy and sometimes requires a push.

Refining/Packaging: You have to develop ideas in a way that will work.

Editing: You have to cut the fat.  You have to iterate.

Processing: Sometimes we have to learn what went right, what went wrong.

None of those phases are likely to deliver the quick hit of validation that you will get from posting a well-crafted dick joke on your social network or posting a New York Times article that covers our position precisely.

There’s a time gap between our efforts and the results we get.  It’s the famous marshmallow test. And we lose when we settle for immediate, but lesser returns.

The question we have to answer, then, is: How much effort can you apply to a problem before you get validation?  Because the ability to do that is going to make a big difference in your ability to win going forward.

Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson is writing this blog. He's a startup veteran, having built a company called Simplifilm. This blog is about things that he's starting to - but may not actually - think yet. It publishes irregularly.
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