Pedestrian Explanations

I had to sit through a lot of meetings where we discussed how a business problem could be solved with a new model. Often the meeting was called at the bequest of a business person who was genuinely curious, but completely unversed in the technical nature of the solutions. A few asks were good and we would pick the interesting ones as actual projects, but the vast majority were either completely irrelevant or relatively easy to accomplish. Irrelevant ones were universally discarded, but it was the easy ones that elicited interesting responses.

One type of person would make the solution sound incredibly complex and sophisticated. The business person would audibly mouth ‘wow’ and you could see a halo of genius practically forming around the speaker. It was all very impressive.

The other type of person would break the solution down into tiny pieces and explain them so simply you felt like you were being taught how to stack legos. The business person would go ‘oh that makes sense’. The solution sounded almost pedestrian.

Over time, I noticed a change in the business person with the most exposure to the simple, pedestrian sounding logic. His asks got better. They become more relevant and he even started to nix some of his own ideas because he knew they wouldn’t work. In short, he had begun to understand.