How we learn

I used to go to a lot of startup events. You know the ones that have speakers who talk about their startups and share some of their best practices and things that they’ve learned along the way. I even took a lot of notes, hoping to use some of them later. I thought that if I listened to people who had substantial experience at what I was doing, I could learn a lot about how to build a business. I thought that by looking at their mistakes I could avoid some of my own.

But then I started to notice one interesting trend. A great percentage of people who come to these events are actually ‘wantrepreneurs‘. They come to these events, listen, discuss their ideas with others and… go back to their 9-to-5 jobs next day. Top entrepreneurs, who have some substantial experience building their companies come to these events for one reason – give a talk. Of course, they also like to hang out with fellow entrepreneurs, but to me it seems like they don’t necessary learn that much from each other.

The reason for that is that people usually learn by doing something. That’s just the way we are. If you listen to somebody’s advice but then don’t do anything about that – you haven’t learned anything. If you read a book on programming without writing several hundred lines of code – you wasted your time. People can’t learn how to ride a bicycle by watching how other people do it. You can’t learn how to swim by studying the videos of famous athletes swimming. Building business is no different.

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