The Wrong Questions

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Venkatesh Rao on questions that seem important but aren't, like "Who is our customer?" or "How can I lose weight?":

They are terrible because they are useless. Asking them doesn’t help you answer them. They won’t help you create a successful business. If anyone tells you they won by asking such questions they are either lying, got lucky, paid too high a cost for their victory, or simply lack self-awareness about how they really won. They are great 20/20 hindsight questions, and may help you answer survey questions and do basic sanity checks, but those are bureaucratic, paperwork uses. The fact that you can understand and ask them without knowing anything about the situation tells you why they are useless: they are absolutely devoid of any information.

He calls these "formulaic questions," and they tend to reveal more about the asker than could ever be gained by asking them.

/via bobulate