Everything is a design decision

They say that constraints can be helpful when designing a product. Knowing that it has to under $10 and non-perishable gives you a basis on which to start coming up with ideas. On the contrary, no constraints often leads to lack of focus. If you’re designing for everyone, you’re designing for no one.

If constraints help us design products, why not use them in designing our lives? Some say that in order to be an entrepreneur, you need to be a 20-something with no family or bills to pay because you’re going to be working 90 hours per week for no money. Instead of a given, let’s think about that as a design decision. That’s what happens when there are no constraints. No constraints on pay, or hours worked. Obviously, if you have a family, this isn’t a great route.

But that doesn’t mean that someone with a family can’t start companies! That would be ridiculous. All that needs to happen is for you to set a few constraints on the venture. For example, you’re not going to work more than 50 hours per week and you need to be making at least $10,000 per month after your third month.

If that sounds absolutely unfeasible, good. Nothing about starting a new company should sounds amazingly rational or sure. But now you can’t go pursuing any old idea and dumping in 100 hours a week on something going nowhere. You have to design the right business model to fit your life.

You need to choose what you’re optimizing for and what you’re willing to sacrifice to get there. It’s a design decision and you’re in control.

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