How will this Play Out?

I grew up in Michigan where the card game of choice was euchre. My high school friends and I would play whenever we could, especially during lunch.

As we got better, the games got shorter. We learned the patterns and could often see how a hand would play out based on what cards had already been played. Instead of finishing the hand, someone would point out the inevitable outcome and we’d stop where we were, count the points, and start a new hand.

The ability to see how something plays out is enormously valuable. In technology, though, it's often assumed that the past doesn't have much to offer. The old rules don’t apply.

So the difficult questions about how a new feature, business model, or strategic decision is going to play out are avoided.

It many cases, it's clear how it's going to play out, though, because hundreds of companies have gone down the same path. The technology industry doesn’t lack prior art about what has worked and what hasn’t.

The temptation is to care more about momentum than progress. Just keep moving forward instead of pausing to think through where a decision will lead. Optimize for speed.

Make decisions informed by what’s come before. Seek out advice from people who’ve been in similar situations. Take a moment to look at the cards that have been played, think about which ones remain, and play out the rest of the hand in your head.