I'm not exactly sure why this blog is turning into a self-help blog. Sorry about that. Feel free to respond in the comments here or tweet at me (@taylorcaby) if you want to discuss.
People like to complain about difficult problems. We all do, it's natural and I guess healthy. I spent some time thinking about some problems I am trying to solve and it dawned on me that difficult problems are a great thing. Of course there are some difficult problems like sickness, poverty, and death that are pretty hard to put a positive spin on, but even those problems motivate people to find improvements which makes the world a better place for many other people.
I've dealt with a lot of difficult problems and the range of emotions is almost always the same. It starts out being being extremely frustrating. I hate not being able to "win" and it drives me crazy when I can't figure something out. Sometimes things get overwhelming and I always think to myself "I need to stop doing this to myself, I could take it easy and just live a simple life without too much stress or hassle." Inevitably, I either solve the problem or it resolves itself in some relatively satisfactory way. At some point in the future I look back and think "that wasn't so bad, I feel like I'm a stronger person for having made it through that."
The reason difficult problems are so great is that they come with huge rewards. If something in life is easy, it's generally pretty boring. I know of few exceptions. You don't get any sort of reward out just coasting through something without difficulty. Whether the reward is financial or emotional or some combination of the two, attaining it is an awesome feeling that keeps any competitive person coming back for more. I think we all need to focus more on embracing and accepting challenges rather than looking at them as a roadblock or as a reason to not challenge themselves.
This really started to hit me as I have been thinking about some problems we have been trying to solve at DraftDay. I think the big ones are among the hardest I have ever faced in my life. How do you get people to look at an entire industry a different way? How do you get people to look at fantasy games as short term contests as opposed to season-long games? It took me a few years to really believe that this change will happen. I'm generally a very early adopter, so I know it's going to be a fight to bring the masses in.
We are working on some improvements that will hopefully help speed up this process. During some meetings yesterday we kept saying "wow, this is really hard." It is hard, it's really fucking hard to figure out the best way to solve this stuff. That is a beautiful thing though, I want some of these problems to be as difficult as possible because the reward will be that much greater. This makes it harder for other people to compete with us and makes it more likely that the shift in people's tastes hasn't happened yet because the right formula hasn't been found to shift the tastes -- not because I'm wrong and this fantasy sports format isn't superior.
As an entrepreneur, if the problems you are facing aren't difficult (and I mean really difficult) then you might as well do something else. If it's easy, the reward won't be large enough or someone more sophisticated will come in and crush you. You have to be looking where other people aren't at problems that are really difficult to solve. You might not succeed, but when you do the rewards will be massive and you don't have to be right every time, you just have to be right once.
Cliffs: If a problem is difficult, embrace it, you're on the right path. If you fail, try again.