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Wisdom of Death

Death provides a contrast to life, and it is in that contrast that we can find the meaning in life. Without death, life itself would have little relative meaning. The same can be applied to your idea; without a reference for what would constitute the death of your idea, any achievement or sense of your idea being alive will be shallow and without any sense of what it means to be "alive". 

Death shows us what we are afraid of, what we should be afraid of, what we are dependent on, and what wants to kill us. In humanities progress towards survival, they have developed organs and sensors to predict imminent challenges to death like eye sight to see an incoming predator, or hearing to hear the snow crack beneath your feet prior to an avalanche. These capacities which evolved from a necessity to better navigate death, also allowed us to sense things not related to death, i.e. with sight we can also appreciate in more detail aesthetics or trigger our stomach to prepare itself for food. The adaptations we make in the face of death have enabled for a far more appreciation of life. 

We can apply the same logic to ideas, by applying a death like scenario to the idea itself. The first question to ask is, what would kill your idea? 

In the example of flying death would come in the form of anything that disables flight. e.g. something hits the flying trajectory and ends the flying experience. We can then define scenarios which might end the flying, e.g. trajectory of other flying objects. We need to also think of what might want to end the flying; competing ideas or entities? Other flying predators? 

This evaluation isn't just limited to the literal; in a commercial concept of flight, death could come in the form of a lack of access to consumers, or a problem in the supply chain. That's where we need to evaluate the dependencies of the idea. Just like humans depend on oxygen and a certain range of heat to not die, ideas have their analogous criteria as well. Defining these analogous criteria is progress towards defining it's will to live. 

Then there is the growth element; what does an idea eat or consume to avoid death? What are the inputs, and necessary processes in order for the idea to survive? An artificial intelligence platform wouldn't survive without input data, or processes of labelling the data; so we can form one part of the will to live for an AI platform is data inputs and labelling data; it desires data. Then as custodians of the idea it is up to you to provide the idea with access to it's food, or in this case data. 

A good way to reveal the death drives of your idea is to create a minimum viable requirement list; and explore why these are the minimum viable requirements for the existence of your idea. Have a numerical requirement to assess whether the idea is getting a sufficient volume of the requirement, but then try to apply first principle thinking to that requirement to reveal the essence of what is driving the idea to grow.

If you would like feedback on what fuels your idea, or what threats there are to your idea, then please reach out! We thrive on your engagement and appreciate all forms of discussing these ideas. 


“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” - Mark Twain

Probably the most ominous sounding archetype, the executioner represents the role of death. This is a point of departure and transitions. In our case it serves as a reminder to prepare for death, and leverage the fear of death into something that can propel us forward into action. 








Grim Reaper 


In life

Past failures

Measurable Targets

Examples of ideas that went through a pivot 

Can help you

Force you to act

Find the will to live

Define failure 

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