What are you optimizing for?

Recently this is becoming one of my most favorite questions. Whether it is product or life, knowing what someone is optimizing for is key to making the right decision.

I start to feel wary when people give me multiple contradicting answers. Optimizing for multiple things in the opposite direction ends up with nothing, or at best with something mediocre.

Everything carries a risk, and our brains try to protect us by telling us not to let go of what we already have, which leads to “try to do everything” syndrome, or loss aversion at all costs.

Breakthroughs only happen by exploring new territories, and failures are data points for next steps.