Saw this list of unconventional philosophical razors on Facebook, and immediately thought of applying some of them to indie hacking:
"In philosophy, a razor is a principle or rule of thumb that allows one to eliminate (“shave off”) unlikely explanations for a phenomenon, or avoid unnecessary actions." – Wikipedia
Bragging Razor - If someone brags about their success or happiness, assume it’s half what they claim. If someone downplays their success or happiness, assume it’s double what they claim.
Great principle to use when reading tweets. It’s almost always overplayed or downplayed, and assuming 2x more or less is helpful.
High Agency Razor - If unsure who to work with, pick the person that has the best chances of breaking you out of a 3rd world prison.
I like this one, especially when collaborating. Even better for co-founders. If you get a low agency person, chances are, you’ll have to high carry the team through. In a startup, you can’t have deadweight.
The Early-Late Razor - If it’s a talking point on Reddit, you might be early. If it’s a talking point on LinkedIn, you’re definitely late.
I think Twitter is somewhere in the middle between Reddit and LinkedIn. Sometimes you don’t know if something on Reddit is too fringe to take off. But once it takes off on Twitter, you can be pretty sure it’ll take off soon elsewhere. E.g. AI, ChatGPT. It was months after the Twitter threadbois had done “ChatGPT is the next big thing” to death before I started seeing them on LinkedIn.
Luck Razor - If stuck with 2 equal options, pick the one that feels like it will produce the most luck later down the line. I used this razor to go for drinks with a stranger rather than watch Netflix. In hindsight, it was the highest ROI decision I’ve ever made.
So true. My favourite razor out of the whole list. This applies to products too. And marketing approaches. Between 2 equal options, choose to make a product that gives more luck surface area. Or make a feature that produces potentially more luck surface area. Like how Mailchimp had referral badges at the bottom of every email sent out by their users.
Taleb’s Surgeon - If presented with two equal candidates for a role, pick the one with the least amount of charisma. The uncharismatic one has got there despite their lack of charisma. The charismatic one has got there with the aid of their charisma.
As a manager, I once hired an extroverted, smooth-talking junior executive over a more reserved one. But they both made it to the final round. We chose the former, and the latter’s resume got picked up by another team. We had the benefit of observing how both worked even though we didn’t hire one of them, and ended up regretting.
What other unconventional razors do you use?