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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

The Right Equations

There's an app called "Math" on my smartphone right now; it's made by Microsoft.


Math is a remarkable app.


(I'd say I wish I had it while I was in high school, but smartphones didn't exist when I was in high school... so it wouldn't have done me any good.)


Math allows you to scan, type, or draw an equation with your finger.


And then as long as the equation doesn't have any errors, the app solves it for you.


So I can take my finger and scribble out this:


x + y = 8

y = 2


And then hit the "Send" button... and the app will give me the correct answer: x = 6.


Big deal, that's easy... right?


Sure... but it can also instantly solve for x (and y, and z) if you scribble out this:


3x^3 (4y - 8) / 24x = z    x = 8z    y = z+2

(I don't know what's more impressive, the fact that Math can solve my equation or the fact that it can accurately interpret my finger scribbles.)


When we were in school, we spent a lot of time learning how to solve algebraic equations.


But solving the equations is only part of the challenge.


And as it turns out, it's the least important part...


... because it's the part that can be outsourced to computers that can arrive at the correct solution much, much faster than you.


The real skill is knowing how to set up the right equations.


Because if you don't understand what you're trying to solve well enough to set up the right equations, then all the execution in the world isn't going to help you accomplish your goal.


Remember that whenever somebody tries to dismiss the value of strategic planning.



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