The N+1 Theory

I lived with a guy named John Doyle in college. Like many people at MIT, John was brilliant. He instantly understood math and physics that sounded like foriegn languages to me. But he had his issues with drugs and alcohol that ultimately killed him before he reached 40. I’m saddended just thinking of John.

John had a theory he called ‘the N+1 theory’ and while he applied it destructively in his own life, I have often found great inspiration from it in mine.

The N+1 Theory states that there is always one more of anything.

Yesterday morning I was sitting at a cafe staring at my screen thinking ‘what more can I write about on this MBA Monday theme?’. And then I thought about off balance sheet liabilities and I was off. N+1

I sometimes think that we’ve already seen every briiliant idea for a web service and then someone walks into my office and explains something fresh and new to me and I get that excited kid in a candy store look in my eye. N+1

I’ll be in yoga class thinking that I can’t possibly do another Vinyasa and then I do it perfectly. N+1

I have found that most of the time, there is always more where you think there is nothing left. You may have to look a little harder/deeper but it is there.

That does not mean that there is an infinite supply of everything. Math would say that when you extrapolate N+1 all the way out you get to infinity. But we are talking about life, not math, here.

I find the N+1 theory very inspiring. It is pure optimism sprinkled with tenacity and we need that in our work and our lives.

#Random Posts

Comments (Archived):

  1. iamronen

    Great post to find in my RSS readed in the morning 🙂 Thank you.There’s a great book about John Coltrane – in it there is a story: at a concert near the end of his career (and life), he at one point stopped playing and started beating his chest. When asked after the concert what had happened he said he had used up the instrument – he had nothing left to play!Book link:

    1. fredwilson

      I guess his chest was the ‘plus 1’

      1. iamronen

        indeed 🙂

  2. Fernando Gutierrez

    I have a friend who is quite serious about running. He’s not a pro but he’s won several races with a few thousand runners. He says that when you think your body is about to burst and your sight is blurred, you still can get a few extra seconds from your legs (kids, don’t try this at home, you may suffer a heart attack).

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Reminds me of that bit about the “third wind” in the story Rocket Man by Thom Jones (in his great short story collection The Pugilist at Rest). Pull up “The Pugilist at Rest” on Amazon and type in “the third wind” in the “search inside this book” feature and you’ll pull it up. P. 215 of the paperback.

      1. Fernando Gutierrez

        Just read it and you are right. Same effort to ignore what your body screams and then push for victory… although he does it with much more drama and style!

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Worth reading that whole book, actually. But if you’re not sure, read the title story and see what you think.

          1. Fernando Gutierrez

            I was going to order it right after reading that piece… but then I remembered that I have a +1 problem with books and because of that my pile of books waiting to be read is huge… but then you made +1 comment and you just pushed me to order +1 book… thanks, I guess!

          2. Dave Pinsen

            I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. It’s one of the best collections of short stories I’ve read.________________________________

      2. fredwilson

        Will do

    2. Tereza

      As a mother, I can’t help but think of the “in case of emergency, break seal” strategy against childhood hunger and tantruming.Surreptitiously sprinkle granola bars, dried fruit and water bottles in secret spots (glove compartment, deep in your purse, computer bag). Maybe this is -1 rather than +1, but it’s saved my ass a number of times.I’ve seen it work for adults, too.

      1. panterosa,

        This reminds me of Edna in The Incredibles designing the super suit for the baby. “I didn’t know what he could do so I covered the basics. Luck favors the prepared.”

      2. JLM

        Both of my children were and are spawns of the Devil when hungry. Even now in their 20s, you need to feed them to get them to behave.When they were little I used to keep a box of some kind of power bar in almost every room of the house (got them from Sams by the case). I used to just hand them a power bar and leave the room until they reverted to a child of God.

        1. Tereza

          The day before my wedding my mother pulled my husband aside and said, “Here is what you need to know about Terezka. Make sure she sleeps and never gets hungry. If you do, I promise you will be happy for the rest of your life.” LOL. I never knew she did that until after she died.And like clockwork if I get agitated my hub sticks a piece if food in front of me and it immediately diffuse a radioactive situation. He is a very good man.Every parent should give their future son/daughter in-law the passcode to their child. Critical info!

  3. RichardF

    I like the simplicity of N+1 hadn’t thought about it at all and yet apply it all the time. One place I have learned not to apply that strategy is the ski slope, when I’m skied out, I always catch the lift downMaybe you should think about moving off the financial topics for MBA Mondays and move onto Marketing, Organisational Behaviour or Strategy.

    1. fredwilson

      I’m with you on skiing. I often go in early. But when I was younger I applied the N+1 theory to skiing all the timeI was a finance major at Wharton so I’m going to struggle with all of that stuff

      1. maxniederhofer

        Some basic economics as applied to corporate strategy might be interesting. I’m thinking “theory of the firm”, transaction costs/Coase, principal-agent theory, Williamson, resource-based view… Maybe some specific marketing topics, such as of sales force incentivization, pricing, distribution channels. Perhaps a light delve into operations research (queuing theory?) or supply chain management. Maybe something on production (job shop versus factory line, as applies to tech companies).A lot of this stuff gets taught in MBA courses, but few of it is ever properly applied to startups. Maybe some of it doesn’t apply at all.As an aside, the entrepreneurship chairs at most universities seem more interested in researching “why people become entrepreneurs”, “why so many startups fail” and “how VCs decide”… that’s a pity. All those seem like “soft options” as compared to understanding startups.Max

        1. fredwilson

          I can tackle most of them

        2. ShanaC

          Why do they do that, totally wrong questions it seems….

        3. Tereza

          Funny I just came up with a totally different list. I’m sure that’s a good thing. Lots to talk about.

      2. RichardF

        …might be an opportunity for someone like Tereza or Arnold to do a guest post on marketing.

        1. ShanaC


        2. Tereza

          Awwww. That means a lot coming from you, Richard.

          1. RichardF


        3. Tereza

          Marketing’s a helluva lot bigger than one post!!!

          1. RichardF

            ……it’s a whole series!I’d suggest doing a post on sales funnel and devt on your blog. For anyone who doesn’t have a sales and marketing background it is an essential process to understand when starting a business and it’s something that MBA Mondays would benefit from 😉

          2. Tereza

            I’m so with you.There are essential properties to a funnel which must be understood. One must be very clear on what you can control and what you cannot.It’s about open vs. closed at the right points in the process.If you are closed when you should be open you will have no opportunity. If you are open when you should be closed you will drown.I am of the belief that a strong funnel process can be the lifeblood of a business and a culture-builder.

      3. Tereza

        Fred don’t forget the importance of case studies in the ‘soft subjects’, to mine best practices.Some random topics off the top of my head:Market sizing — how toMarket research — quant and qualitativeHow to define a pilotProcess modeling (eg IDEFs)Project planning (milestones, critical path planning, interdependencies)Org structure — startup, post-rev, matureManaging remote teams — what works, what doesn’tCustomer-driven vs. product-drivenManagement style Job specs — how to write oneOutsourced development — how to write an RFP, how to manage RFP process, how to select and manage an outsourced providerHow to find a co-founder — what to look forMarketing/PR — how to get a lot of bang on the cheapAdvanced marketing techniques (velvet rope; marketing to women; to kids)

        1. Tereza

          Also:Sales targetingB2B sellingSales funnel devt and managementInnovation funnelIntrapreunership — what corporations are and aren’t good at vis-a-vis innovation, and what implications it has for startup businesses to fill gaps….. and how to be attractive to a strategic buyer

        2. JLM

          Managing remote tems — managing multi-unit, multi-state operating units

          1. Tereza

            Strategic sourcing: how to get vendors to compete

        3. Tereza

          but wait, there’s more:risk mitigation frameworks, strategies and monitoring

    1. Dan T

      3 spinal tap references in one post . .wow. If you like Spinal Tap and have not seen the film “Anvil, the Story of Anvil” – you must.

  4. David

    N+1 is dangerous. It turns out that this is the precise number of bikes that any cyclist wants at any given moment in time, where N is the number of bikes that they have already and +1 is the one they currently want.

    1. fredwilson

      Yes, when it comes to materialistic things, N+1 is dangerous. It is also dangerous when it comes to vices, as John unfortunately proved

    2. Dave Pinsen

      That’s a very SWPL example.

    3. Alex Murphy

      It does make for a great business model. Thinking ShoeDazzle or

    4. Tereza

      My daughter’s first word was, “MORE!”To really get the point across she’d yell it and sign it at the same time. And repeat and repeat.A primal instinct.Now, she is seven. She negotiates. “Mom, I’ll make you a deal if…”Hmm. Can’t imagine where she learned that.

      1. JLM

        Hmmm, indeed! Children are like sponges and they miss nothing.I hate to tell folks “no” and I often say —- Hmmm, that’s very interesting. Let me think about that and get back to you.”Who says that to me these days?My 24-year old commercial banker son.Kids miss nothing.

        1. Tereza

          I have learned more about management as a parent than any other experience in my work life.It’s 24/7. And since you can’t fire your kid, you have to try and try and try to find ways to make it work.In work, your annoying or destructive personal habits permeate the organization slowly and you may or may not ever hear about them.Not that I have any, mind you!With kids, they elicit in-your-face eye rolls, collapses on the floor, or tears (or, as a teen, them shutting you out). The feedback is fierce and real-time.Parenting is a great place to become a much better manager.

          1. Peter Beddows

            Just one more reason that many women over 40 with kids make for great strategic partners in the endeavors of building business.

          2. Donna Brewington White

            I perceive that you are brilliant. 😉

          3. Peter Beddows

            Huh! lol. Thank you. I owe any brilliance I may demonstrate to having had brilliant wives (not both at the same time): First one who gave me two brilliant children – daughter and son – and who successfully handled transitioning from much sought-after ICU and Surgery Nurse in the UK to the same in the US and now currently a well established artist; the second and current one not only had 3 equally brilliant children – daughter and 2 sons – but also turned around the Orthopaedic Section of a hospital in Atlanta, later built commercial buildings, developed a litigation support business and was on TV back east on various womens issues amongst a host of other accomplishments. My Grandmother … Ok, there is more but that will give you a picture. I am an ardent supporter of Women in Business and proud of the women in my life.

  5. kagilandam

    I will put “if there is a will there is a way” on top of this N+1 … there is always a N+1 but the will to search for it is the key.Mathematicians are funny guys…they will say “if it is true for N then it is true for N+1 and in brackets they will say (as long as N is a large number)”. You search the entire mathematics you will never find the definition of “large number” 🙂 .

    1. Peter Beddows

      That reminds me of a double Ph.D. business founder I once knew who, whenever asking any question of the Sales and/or Marketing people, often repeated his question in varying styles to a succession of answers received and then would invariably end up shrugging his shoulders and saying “Well, I guess the questions just don’t fit the answers!” This was his version of N+1 up to a point where there clearly was no value in continuing further.

  6. Alex Stillwell

    I really like this. It has a certain power that can help fight against, as Seth Godin puts it, the resistance. I particularly needed this right now.Heres a link to the blog post talking about it:

  7. Hello

    This won’t work on the cookie jar though…

    1. Koen

      There’s always one more cookie jar with cookies in it, you just have to find it 😉

    2. fredwilson

      There are always crumbs

  8. Dan Ramsden

    I wonder if this N+1 theory should also incorporate a measurement of time, so that it becomes N+1 per X. I wonder if there actually is no +1 unless a certain period of time has elapsed, and this time-period could vary with the subject – a personal activity, a technological innovation, etc. Am thinking about this mainly as it applies to tech innovation, which has been happening at a very high rate, and I wonder if the N+1 can keep up the pace or if, from an acceleration perspective, there is a limit. Regardless, I don’t think the time factor is outside of this discussion.

    1. ShanaC

      I think there is a limit, people need to sleep and there is only 24 hours to a day.

      1. Dan Ramsden

        Yes, this is one example, although I wonder if that is the only limit.

        1. Alex Murphy

          There are many places where you wouldn’t want to add a +1 … one that came to mind is spouses 🙂

    2. kagilandam

      I agree with you completely on time-factor on technical innovation. I hope i get the N + T space you are talking about …Science is struck for the last 2-3-decades and engineering took over and engineering is getting close to N and the social media N starts. At one point in time that N will also get struck until we find the next scientific break-through… does my comment make any sense?

      1. Dan Ramsden

        Yes, I think you are saying that we are approaching the limit of technical progress until the next scientific breakthrough opens things up again. Which is also saying that technology and science are progressing on different clocks.

        1. kagilandam

          Precisely. Science leads the war front ( many a times war fuels science ) … Technology follows science … and then MBAs follow Technology with their Ns :-).

  9. ShanaC

    I like that piece of advice, I really do.The only thing I would add is make sure your N is approachable and real* If you can’t do your N, why push for an N+1. Then your N is already your N+1, and well you know how numbers and life work…..AKA break down your tasks, don’t be afraid to surprise yourself.*You can if you wish take it as a bad math joke. I do mean it literally as well.

  10. Orrin Xu

    Being still in college the N+1 usually makes me procrastinate more. But when i’m in the zone, N+1 makes me do more work.Really comes down to the mindset of the user. With the right mindset, anything is possible

    1. ShanaC

      I get that. This sounds so weird, I just met someone this morning, and you’ll find some of the oddball anxiety of college dissipating with the right project. College is strangely unfocused, even though it has this thing known as a curriculum. It’s hard to know what you want out of the experience.I promise, you’ll get there. Find the zen +1, the in the moment +1. It’s there.

  11. nathan

    I like the way this theory lends to confirmation bias, in that everybody will draw a different meaning from it and use their prior thinking to agree with it – meanings of N+1, N+1

    1. fredwilson


  12. William Mougayar

    We used to call this “Stretch goal”, or going over quota. Reminds of- the difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a while longer.It’s true that we are an achievement-driven society.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Similar to the “Big hairy audacious goals” Jim Collins talked about in “Built to last”.

      1. Alex Murphy

        I agree. It is saying that simply meeting your goals is simply not good enough. Set the bar higher than is possible and measure yourself by how far above you are able to achieve.

      2. Tereza

        I’d classify BHAGs as +10 or +100, if they’re defined right.And on the other hand, you can have a business that effectively has everyone, everyday doing +.1, +.1, +.1 and the net result is greatly superior execution and even possibly breakthrough.

  13. Jason

    appears this theory is how Apple is winning the game, they’re the only ones without fear to apply it.(timing is everything, keep the shareholders happy, innovative hardware is a risky bet.)

  14. F_bass

    where n is infinity, n + 1 is infinity also. Moral being, there’s always n+1 because life is too short.

    1. fredwilson

      Nicely done

  15. johndodds

    Call me pedantic but I didn’t think perfection could be achieved in yoga.

    1. fredwilson

      Perfection is in the mind of the beholder 😉

  16. Anon

    My uncle was a proud man. The oldest of eight growing up on a cattle property in western Queensland. When granddad died he was head of the family and managed the property through flood and drought. He was never famous or rich or smart. But he was honest, hard working and tough and that meant more than money in the bush.All his life he worked to send his brothers and sisters to school though he never went himself. He looked after grandma and the cattle and never said much.After grandma died, he started to forget things. As he got older his brain went bad. Got to the point he couldn’t dress himself or wipe his own bum. For years his little sister looked after him. We figured he didn’t care much anymore as his brain was gone. But every now and then you could see a pain in his eyes like someone was still there.One morning, after years in a daze, while everyone was still asleep, he got up, dressed himself, walked to the dam, waded in and drowned himself. My dad found him floating near when the cattle drank.He was proud man. He was waiting for just one more chance.

  17. guest

    This theory is the source of many a gambling addiction.

    1. fredwilson

      For sure

    2. Tereza

      Yes and no. It’s a combination of the “one more time”, *plus* the endorphin rush of the ‘chance’ element. That rush is addictive. The +1 is the manifestation.

    3. Gerald Buckley

      N+1 is also why we have Goulash. I can live with that.

      1. Tereza

        Do you make goulash? I make a grrrreat goulash, if I may say so myself…

  18. Guest

    Fringe is a show but I can’t help my self:'s_More_Than_O…The idea is the same though. Eventhough this is purely fiction, I like the idea that is suggest that they is more to things than one can see at a glance. And there there is more to things than what we conventionally understand them as.The cool thin about finding the N+1 of anything is that if it is the right N+1, it leads to amazing things. Simplified concepts. More useful tools or services and the greatest part is that it takes people very little to learn the +1 since they are familiar with the N already…. (Generally speaking)

  19. Venkat

    OMG. I swear I came up with the exact same idea, except that I call it my “+1” heuristic and I apply it to a very different end, as psychological insurance.Any time I come up with an idea for a significant project and start executing, sometime about halfway through, when I have significant sunk cost in (well into the ‘dip’ as Godin would say, and too late to quit), I get a a sort of anxiety attack about failure. If the project is big enough, thoughts of failure can feel like the end of the world. “My life will be over,” you think.I made up a trick to deal with the anxiety years ago. I take an afternoon off to come up with a “+1” idea — the “next level” idea I will hold in reserve to use if I fail. I brainstorm it in depth, thinking through both the high concept and a fairly fleshed out vision, and the first steps in execution. I then file it away. It becomes my psychological insurance policy. After that, if I get anxious, and especially if I am tempted to cut back on risk for the wrong reasons, I think about my “+1” idea and feel reassured. Even if everything goes to hell, I’ll have a new challenge to work on 2 days after abject failure (Day 1 after abject failure is reserved for getting drunk).It seriously works. I first used it when I got anxious about getting “scooped” when I was doing my PhD. I’d seen it happen to friends — they’d work for a year on a problem, and a month before they were ready to publish, somebody else would. It is a devastating feeling, since it is a failure mode you can do nothing about. Someone you didn’t know about beat you to the punch. The +1 in that case is the definition of the NEXT follow on problem. Then you can tell yourself, “even if someone scoops me, I am better prepared to go for the NEXT one. I’ll just throw my work away, use his, and be the first with the next paper”I’ve only had to cash in my +1 insurance policy once, but in that case, I am glad I had it. It may have saved me from weeks of depression.One caution if anyone wants to use +1 insurance policy this trick though: don’t buy too much insurance. Beyond a reasonable anxiety-alleviating level, it can lower do-or-die commitment to your current project. And make sure your +1 idea isn’t in a completely unrelated area, but a somewhat meaningful follow on that will keep you in the bigger race. Otherwise it could be a rationalized aversion reaction to give you an excuse to quit an entire field after one failure. Insurance should NOT be the same as hedging.

    1. kagilandam

      I am not sure whether i completely got your +1 theory … but like this +1″(Day 1 after abject failure is reserved for getting drunk)”.

      1. catarino

        Add n+1 to injury 🙂

    2. fredwilson

      That is a great mental exercise. I am going to try it

  20. andyswan

    I wrote a while back about how n+1 saves restaurant chains and other businesses tons of money…..on free rolls:

    1. Guest

      Great for the bottom line and the waist line… brilliant.

      1. andyswan


  21. Bruce Barber

    “These go to eleven. It’s one more.” Nigel Tufnel

    1. Dan T

      you beat me by 2 minutes . .

    2. Bruce Barber

      Just realized we BOTH got beat… Check out Krassen’s YouTube link, posted at 4:27 this morning.Mad props are in order.

      1. fredwilson

        I’ve been on my phone all day and have yet to view krassen’s YouTube video.Clearly a mind meld on that one

      2. Guest

        Thanks, guys… [sobs]… I found my soul-mates :))

  22. Dan T

    My favorite example of N+1:”You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You’re on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you’re on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where? “Nigel Tufnel

    1. fredwilson

      Two people simultaneously left the same comment!

  23. Tom Krieglstein

    We’ve used a similar concept in building out a better educational system through our Red Rover software. We call it x+1.X = a student’s current aptitude in any given subject +1 = the next step for them on their educational journeyThe challenge comes in when trying toa) determine, in a resource effective way, what x is for every student, and b) what would be their +1We believe with enough data over time and curation of 1000s, 10,000s, 100,000 of student’s individual educational paths, we’ll be able to predict/suggest a proper +1 to any student automatically like a “choose your own adventure” for education.P.S. Video games already do X+1 really well.

    1. Senith @ Finance tutor

      Video games are a great example of X+1! Always leaving you wanting more 🙂

      1. Tom Krieglstein

        @Senith – Soon enough we’ll have an educational system that operates like video game where failures are celebrated with a determination to keep trying because success is programmed to be just a little bit out in front of you. Soon enough…

  24. Antonio Tedesco

    “If better is possible, good is not enough.” Unknown

  25. Omer Perchik

    The N+1 Theory = The Magic of Evolution

  26. Tim Inman

    I like it.

  27. andrewparker

    I like this frame of thought a lot, thanks for sharing.FYI, if you’re looking for another MBA post, I’d recommend covering Enterprise Value. I know you’ve touched on it briefly in past posts, but I think it deserves a dedicated post of it’s own. Stuff like how it’s assessed financially, what it means, and how companies create or lose it.Most people, newscasters, etc.. talk about companies’ size in terms of market cap alone, and it’s very misleading.

    1. fredwilson

      Excellent suggestion Andrew. N+1

  28. kirklove

    Love this concept. Goes way back to my high school wrestling days. Our coach used to always add 1 to everything. 11 sprints. 11 minutes of jumping rope. 21 push-ups. Would always say, “Congrats, you just did one more than your competitor.” Loved it then, love it now. Need to apply it to more of my life. Good stuff.(Sorry about your friend. Sucks.)

  29. Alex Murphy

    N+1 is the core difference between extremely good athletes and those that play sports. I remember in school running miles and miles for both wrestling and soccer. The guys that could basically sprint and push their bodies mile after mile, they became the state champs and the rest of us did not. Applying that same logic to business, there are people that pack in a full day with 8 meetings, 4 memos, 2 interviews, one offer, read 20 blogs, comment on 10, etc etc … and then there are those that don’t. In sales, you can always make one more call. In marketing you can always reach out to one more reporter. In programming you can add one more line of code. In every part of the organization, everyone doing one more task gets you closer to your goals faster. It is powerful, and I love having a title for it. You should trade mark it and write a book etc and give the proceeds to some charity in honor of John.As noted in your post and in the comments, there are many examples of N+1 being applied in very good and very bad ways. That shows the power that the theory has, it is important to apply it properly.

    1. fredwilson

      That’s a nice thought about doing something for john. But I mostly givestuff away as jarid and I did with freemium

    2. Mark Essel

      Just want to add the N+1 is programming is usually removing one line of code and getting the same effect.

      1. fredwilson

        So true

    3. Tereza

      Want something done? Give it to a busy person.

  30. awaldstein

    Thanks much for this Fred…I look at it philosophically.Sisyphus and existentialism would then be +0 and you just keep trudging on…in a strange sort of happiness.Doyle’s law works better for me. I like it cause it’s about the inevitability of something new and different. Kinda like if you Just Do It, you’ll find it. Salespeople are prime example of an N +1 point of view, with a core believe that effort in, brings results out…with luck and intelligence.N + 1 would make a great t-shirt…clever but true,

    1. Mark Essel

      Nice Arnold, great spin.

      1. awaldstein

        Thnx…must be my liberal arts education that lets me connect Albert Camus with 😉

  31. Gerald Buckley

    One of my favorite movie moments is when in “We Were Soldiers” Hal Moore (played by Mel Gibson) is telling his troops, “There is always one more thing you can do.” That is SO true in life (relationships, faith, education, government, startups, management…). There’s a lot of slack in the more ‘human’ spaces. Maybe we label it optimism, tenacity, imagination, determination… It seems to be where the driven or inspired people perform.∞+1…? Could that be the ‘human potential’ :)Billie Holiday may have put it even better than Hal Moore, “The difficult I can do now. Impossible will take a little time.” :)Looking at it the other way around… N-1=Editor. You know the old saying… “I’d have written a shorter letter but I ran out of time.”

    1. JLM

      “There is always one more thing you can do to increase your odds of success.”LTG Moore is always identified w/ the airmobile concept as a result of his command of the 1st Bn, 7th Cav Reg, 1st Cav Div at Ia Drang. Funny thing is he was really a long time paratrooper having attained the Master Blaster designation and having served in the test unit of the 82nd. I think the guy had about 300 parachute jumps.Paratroopers had a tendency to look down their noses at airmobile types. The saddest thing in the world was when the 101st Airborne became airmobile though they do retain quite a few airborne units.Ia Drang is a funny battle because Moore’s bn did OK but an adjoining bn got wiped out. It is tempting to blame it on the quality of the leadership but that may, in fact, be true. After gaining control of the Ia Drang Valley from the NVA at great cost, the US pulled out ceding the ground to the NVA.Moore was a very well educated guy — C & GS, War College, masters from GWU. He was also a very well experienced combat officer — Korea, VN — and won the DSC. They are not handing out DSCs in Cracker Jack boxes.I met him several times and he is the real deal.

      1. Gerald Buckley

        Fan damn tastic! LTG Moore would be on my short list of meet & greets (with Yeager, Armstrong and several other get ‘er done types.) Love it!

  32. Matt A. Myers

    “‘ll be in yoga class thinking that I can’t possibly do another Vinyasa and then I do it perfectly. N+1″GO FRED!! Woot woot

  33. panterosa,

    I equate N+1 as N is who you are and N+1 is who you want to be. Reaching ever in +1 mode with adrenaline for the body, passion for the soul and unquenched curiosity for the mind, you can eliminate the space time question and really be who you desire. Once you reach that +1 there will be another, and another, ad infinitum and that is the joy of becoming and being at once.

  34. Curt Viebranz

    Fred, this post made me think of the rule of N-1 as it relates to headcount in a start-up or a big company. It is Bill Gate’s theory (but can’t say if it’s Ballmer’s) that if full employment in a company is N (that is everything is firing on all cylinders and nothing is falling through the cracks), then you should always have N-1. At N, folks begin to worry about turf and title and they are looking around rather than keeping their head down. This and the “No Asshole” rule are good ones to remember.

  35. andyswan

    Dollars*, women*, bourbon*, miles, wakeboard tricks, push-ups, gadgets, wins….”1 more” is always motivating. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be “satisfied”….sounds so…deathbed. * When the +1 is easy, it’s probably not worth it.

    1. ShanaC

      Depends, sometimes there are new challenges along the way, and sometimes you are in the dip.

    2. Tereza

      Nothing motivates like scarcity.

  36. baba12

    N+1 works if the mind is willing to accept that, for many doing the minimum is good enough. How do you get someone to think there is a +1 in their tank? That seems more of a challenge, getting people to believe they have +1 left on a constant basis. Is that something you have to train the mind for or is that something innately engraved in ones mind?

    1. JLM

      This is the difference between being a player and being a coach. Every good player needs a good coach. When you are the entrepreneur or CEO, one of your most important roles is coaching.Mediocre talent and great coaching will always beat great talent and mediocre coaching.

  37. Guest

    N+1= a great way to conquer (or defeat) yourself. I use it in yoga too, you can always hold an asana one more breath. That is also an awesome time to observe the mind.

    1. andyswan

      Your “(or defeat)” is very important. I’ve inadvertently applied n+1 to my vices on occasion, and the results were not (usually) full of win. Great stories though.I’ve got an n+1 personality… tends to bleed into EVERYTHING I do lol.

  38. Rob Hennigar

    Great post Fred -thanks. As a young designer we were always taught to never go with our first concept as it was never the best. What we learned over time was that there is great value in continuing to explore and come up with additional new ideas (+1). This is a great exercise that I continue to use in my professional life. Also, having spent some time in the Entertainment Industry, I learned about Walt Disney’s process of “Plusing”. In short, it’s exactly what you are writing about here. He would continually ask what more could be done to this scene, character, story line,.., that can make it just that much better?

  39. Mark Essel

    the pessimist:You’re story about John made me think about my day job. I struggle for just one more day at my job. The pay is good for part time work, and I can expend more time on my true interests on days off. I know I can stand one more day here. The problem is, before I know it ten years will have passed and I’ll still be thinking, I’ve got one more day left in me. Gotta be careful not to become a prisoner of my own stubbornness.The Optimist!There’s one more job that will take me closer to where I want to be, I just need to find or build it

    1. Tereza

      The optimist, v.2:In a room filled with shit, the optimist says, “There’s a pony in here somewhere. I’m gonna find it!”

      1. Mark Essel

        Thanks Tereza, I needed that.I heard you got great feedback on XX combinator, what happens next? If there’s a real need someone will fill it, why not an entrepreneur like yourself :D.

        1. Tereza

          I’m talking to lots of people ‘in my spare time’ that are part of that ecosystem to come up with specs of what really need to be there.But I’m doing so in the course of my ongoing convos and work on my own startup, which is my top priority.I want to be a strong voice vis-a-vis the XX opportunity but there are multiple ways to skin that cat in terms of structure, leadership. Stay tuned.Most of all, I am blown away by the fabulously talented people I’ve met in recent weeks as a result. There’s an electricity there and we need to harness it for the benefit of the NY ecosystem.

  40. Rob K

    Like Brad Feld’s “add a zero to that”, but perhaps a bit more attainable in the short term

  41. thewalrus

    great post and comments. i push myself this way also. agree that the hardest part is knowing when to turn off the n+1, as lots of things turn out better with an n-1 approach. its about self-awareness and focusing your energy/intensity on the things that you deem important. i’m trying to get better at this….but if you’re a stubborn n+1 personality, trial and error is often the only path to enlightenment 🙂

    1. JLM

      Most of the money in the world gets made by people who are 80% right but done on time.The real geniuses are those who having been 80% right and done on time and having somethign that works never stop improving the product or process until it is 95% right.Closing the gap between 95% and 100% is where the truly crazy folks live and it is not a good zip code.

      1. thewalrus

        i’ll like it and will riff off it. everyone is 80% right….the difference between success and failure is some prefer to avoid the uncertainty of the 20%, or lack the n+1 (i.e. persistence) to keep chipping away at the 20%.when its 95% right, its already mature and has outgrown the ‘new’ and small team phase. its in maintenance mode, and must be passed on to those who don’t like the uncertainty of the 20%….time to move to a new zip code. hence, serial entrepreneurs.

        1. JLM

          Really, the “done on time” is the key thought.I once built a 32 story building in 12 months v the more normal 20-24 months. I hit the market earlier and got it leased. The market crashed but I was invulnerable.I just had a hunch that the extra cost to accelerate the construction (3 shifts w/ 2 on OT) was going to be a good investment.

          1. Peter Beddows

            Great example of trusting one’s “inner voice”. Is it not interesting how often acting upon an “intuition” or “gut feel” when you are doing something in which you have some familiarity and experience can, in retrospect, turn out to have been the simple differentiator between realizing a successful outcome when there is a distinct possibility of otherwise failing?Not really an N+1 situation but being open to guidance that intuition (a hunch) may provide is nevertheless a powerful option that we all could tap into if we could just allow ourselves to tune in to our greater sense of awareness and perhaps achieving this level of awareness is where Yoga and/or meditation and just one more whatever can lead us? Objective driven focus with a peaceful mind can always accomplish more.BTW JLM: This was perhaps one kind of “hunch” that Chris Dixon and Caterina Fake might not be able to program into hunch do you think?

          2. Tereza

            One of the useful outcomes of metrics as JLM describes is that it exercises your peoples’ own ‘inner voice’. Multiple inner voices working at the same time is a good thing. You can catch stuff early that way.

          3. JLM

            You raise an interesting point — we must develop a bit of inner quiet to be able to hear our inner voice. There is no question that meditation — the most difficult thing I have ever tried to do — is a great way to diminish the background noise.When I was in the Army, I worked for a 4-star — I was his “dog robber” if you know that term of art — and he used to task me to write up elaborate “appreciations” for his personal review. He wanted to know what the staff thought of a particular issue. This was very dangerous business for a lowly Captain as I was often critiquing General and Field Grade officers who might not appreciate my appreciation. But he was my “rabbi” and maintained the confidentiality of them all.I could type wizard fast and I was very meticulous about the presentation. I did some good work. It made me think very critically and to weigh competing thoughts but he would not allow me to finish without a conclusion or recommendation.Throughout my life I have often written such appreciations to myself and they have allowed me to summarize my thoughts but more importantly to weigh them critically and to organize them. I maintain the discipline of arriving at a conclusion.At any given time, I may have 4-7 things which I peruse at great length. Some of my appreciations flow to 50 pages and I update them when I think they need updating. I can still type wizard fast, so the output seems voluminous but it is really nothing.In looking at the economy recently, I have gone completely limp. Having been a philosophical opponent of Pres Obama’s governing philosophy from the start, I have now decided that he is completely out of his depth, unable to effectively lead and cursed with the most challenging environment in a long, long time. I am now no longer vitriolic in my criticism as he is absolutely unable to defend himself. He is simply incompetent.I tell you this not to jab at the President but rather as an example of the complete peace which has now cleared my mind to focus only on the business with the knowledge that sound businesses built during recessionary or troubling times are powerhouses when the economy comes roaring back — which I suspect is a long time in the future.With no energy diverted to worrying about the President, I am now able to fully listen to my instincts and hunches.

          4. Peter Beddows

            I completely understand, like and agree with your response. Thank you.

  42. JLM

    Very interesting comment and what interesting comments by the salon.In setting goals, I am always unrepentant about what has transpired before that time. It is the melding of two different concepts — sunk costs mean nothing and we no longer have long term experience, we have one year 30 times. Each new year is a whole new life.N + 1 is really the curse of entrepreneurs who are motivated by that next great thing and that next great modification — in other times that was “continuous improvement” or QI — quality improvement or TQM.There is a huge opportunity in America today to acquire “old school”, low tech businesses and retool them with modern management, modern marketing including social media, a well crafted financial structure and a dab of leadership to make an otherwise boring business into a highly scalable and expanding enterprise in which the growing size provides an enormous financial operating leverage.In effect, this approach takes the cutting edge of the evolving technology (including the basic impatient thinking and genius of the entrepreneurs in that space) and cycles it backwards to apply it to other opportunities.Every day is a new world.

    1. karen_e

      What a fantastic comment, JLM. There is opportunity sitting all around me at my “old school” business. I hate to admit it, but I just don’t know where to begin. And it so desperately needs modernizing.

      1. JLM

        I paid a bit of tuition to learn this technique.Look at every business and make a 4 column table.Column one — the list of business activities required in that business (management to marketing to finance to staffing to operations)Column two — how it was done 10 years agoColumn three — how it is done nowColumn four — how it should or could be done using a more “modern” techniqueIdentify the “low hanging fruit” — those things which can be done easiest and with the highest short term result — prioritizeEvery quarter get one area “modernized”Brainstorm each proposed modification with the entire leadership. Understand what “brainstorming” truly is — boundless creative thinking with no judgmental friction and keeping good notes. All the changes will be explored in the brainstorming.The second anyone says anything even remotely similar to what you have already identified, give him ownership of the idea and then execute. “This was Jim’s brilliant idea.”Repeat the process every year.This is a mechanical technique like fly fishing. I can teach anyone to fly fish if they can tell the difference between 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock.

        1. Tereza

          Great method and I would only add, having spent some time professionally facilitating brainstorming….Most people are not actually that good at it and have difficulty creating their own ideas when they’re hearing others’ in the room.You will get more ideas and a broader range of them when you ask people to generate their own idea list, privately, as pre-work….or in silence.Reward/recognize them, at this stage, for # of ideas generated. (NOT quality).Prioritize them after.As you suggest take note of who “came up” with them, as owners.

          1. JLM

            I agree completely with you as it relates to doing your personal brainstorming before the meeting.To be perfectly honest with you, most people are horrible at brainstorming in an organizational sense because they do not typically have the autonomy to think that way. You can’t imagine things if you don’t have an imagination and an imagination, like a bicep, requires exercise.What brainstorming is very good for is creating organzational change and buy in; and, applying a practitioner’s perspective to an idea. I make the financial types go to the field to see the operating side of our business otherwise they think it’s all numbers — their numbers.One of things I love about life — well my life — is I can imagine something, get it organized and make someone else make it happen. I love bossing people around.

          2. Tereza

            Yes — the real objective is to make them *think* it’s their idea. 🙂

          3. Mark Essel

            You constructed the perfect match of ideas with an enthusiastic energy source to make them real. One of my first blog posts hit on this idea (before I knew I wanted nothing more out of life than building a business).

      2. Tereza

        Hey Karen — love hearing about your old school biz opps. But also — how’s Zachary?? We’re dying for an update!

        1. karen_e

          Thanks, Tereza, for asking. I have to put some pix on Flickr and update my little Avatar photo to reflect the little guy (social media housekeeping, right?). Four months old this Friday, started his *Mandarin immersion* day care this week. Brave new world, eh?

          1. Tereza

            Love it!

    2. Peter Beddows

      JLM: I could not agree with you more about the idea that “There is a huge opportunity in America today …. and retool them”. I’m so very glad you brought this up but also surprised.I believe it is safe to say but I could be wrong because I have not read Fred’s posts going way back, that most of what gets discussed in Fred’s various posts relates to software and web business development naturally and appropriately. However, it frustrates the heck out of me when I hear people at large in government and business whom I think should know better writing us of as a nation that can no longer compete in any of the old line business.To me that is poppycock and self defeating: There is huge opportunity and it does lie in retooling as you said above here and as you followed up below; perhaps ironic however that much of the retooling will call upon implementation and application of modern software and web technologies along with LEAN and Six-Sigma, etc., but that’s for another thread.

      1. JLM

        In some ways it is almost ridiculous to see how easy it really is. Go buy a modestly profitable business in California and move it to Texas and the margins will blossom. No master strokes, just everything is cheaper and more plentiful. You cannot swing a cat in Austin, TX without hitting a Californian who has moved his business to Texas.

        1. Peter Beddows

          I was truly amazed about a week ago during a visit to tour a plant within 5 miles of my home here in SoCal to find a whole shop floor area devoted to numerical control machines churning out literally numerous specialised titanium components.I asked how they planned to cope with the ever increasing shortage of skilled machinists and they proudly pointed to a far away corner where they had set up an area with some machines that they intended to start an apprenticeship programme.They really have this end of their business tightly and successfully managed which gave me great encouragement for what I believe is still possible for us as a nation. Of course, I was also tickled by the fact that the shop manager was an ex-pat Brit ex-Rolls Royce employee and it I also felt a touch of smugness when I learned that some of their most challenging raw material came from the UK ~ the world wide sole provider of that material. The Empire may be a thing of the past but together – US & UK – we still can win the world wide market for our products.

        2. Pb9

          But then you’d have to live in Texas. Ugh.

          1. JLM

            Hahahaha, what a witty comment! Your clever repartee is greatly appreciated. Thanks for sharing.Luckily we have no income tax and a strong economy (hell, who do you think is cashing those royalty checks anyway?) and Tex-Mex — otherwise all those Californians would stop coming — hey, wait a minute!

          2. Chumley510

            Austin is just like San Jose, only greener, hotter and it has a lake community!

        3. Keenan

          But, I think Texas is the only place they swing cats. 🙂

        4. Julie G

          This is a very interesting concept. Do you have any specific cases you could talk about or what industries you’re seeing this work particularly well for? This seems like it could get very painful for businesses relying on particular kinds of expertise (i.e. lawyers) vs. skill bases more common for the area (i.e. programmers as Austin is becoming a hub for top talent) since trying to find a huge pool of lawyers sitting on their hands in Texas is highly unlikely.I also wonder if this will work best with companies in industries where ramp takes a long time to build name recognition and trust (i.e. healthcare) vs. more performance-based services (i.e. insurance brokerage).

    3. Keenan

      JLM, I knew I liked you for a reason. This is a great comment. BTW: don’t kill me, but was in Austin a few weeks ago and forgot to give you a hollar. Next time. Definitely want a face with the comments. 🙂

  43. Jeff Witt

    From my nearly-20-year-old undergrad psych degree I recall that this phenomenon has been explored to some extent. If you take volunteers and ask them to think of every word that starts with [whatever, let’s say “ca”]. They’ll think for a while, put out plenty of effort, then eventually stop. Then if you just come back in the room and ask them to think of just a few more, then nearly always can. You can get similar nearly-boundless creativity out of questions similar to “what else could we do with [X]?”

  44. ShawnPhillips

    I’ve been living the N+1 for a lifetime… it’s a reminder that most people need. A great insight… A boost, a lift, a call to look beyond, to stay open. And there’s a catch, as there is with most things that push, pull or propel us. N+1 can keep you chasing that next high, another glass, a better idea, a more perfect font for your blog… whatever it is. At times it produces amazing results, extra-ordinary products and wisdom. For me I’ve N+1’d books, re-written them to my demise, rebuilt products to make the point that some can’t or won’t do enough… that most men are confined to what they know and can’t understand or accept that there’s something beyond what they have locked in their little heads. N+1 is what’s BEYOND HEALTH… it’s that something more. It’s a life at Full Strength… Here’s to John… and the wisdom of N+1 — and to hoping it isn’t the end of me and that not everyone discovers it or has the tenacity for N+1 is also the domain of reduced competition… for most people can’t breathe there. Shawn Phillips

  45. Kyle Fox

    This is exactly how I motivate myself when running. Once I start getting tired, I just think “one more minute, then I’ll stop” — do that enough and pretty soon you’ve ran another 30 minutes. But I’ve never thought of that idea expresses as elegantly as N+1, or thought about how it can be applied to all sorts of circumstances.

    1. JLM

      Of course, that is the same logic employed by alcoholics. Running is an addiction also?

      1. Kyle Fox

        Oh, it’s definitely an addiction.(Sadly not as much as it used to be for me. Now it feels like work.)

    2. sbmiller5

      Couldn’t agree more – never thought about it with this kind of perspective, but the ability to convince myself to push it one more time is what led to my ability to compete in Cycling.

  46. Norbert Mayer-Wittmann

    I have a theory that God has no need for numbers — because to an omniscient thing, everything is unique.I recently talked to a prominent math educator (who has just written a book on the topic) about this and asked him where he thought the human oversimplification of counting “things that seem similar” had the most negative impact on our thinking about the real / actual world — and he said (without a moment’s hesitation): when humans are counted… and he gave the example of employment statistics.I immediately realized how true this was — especially when humans are doing the counting. I can also imagine that there might be a lot of other species on Earth who think that yet another human might be a big drag on their well-being (e.g. polar bears looking for ice).

    1. JLM

      What an interesting and thought provoking comment.I subscribe to the school of — what we measure, we manage; and, better outcomes require better management.Unemployment measurement is an equally intriguing topic as the way it is done is intellectually dishonest and brutally understates the magnitude of the problem and the challenge to reverse the trend.The BOL statistics — at the prodding of the administration — fails to count folks who have been unemployed for protracted periods of time hypothesizing that they have “given up”.They similiarly refuse to acknowledge the magnitude of unemployment created by the current crop of college grads who cannot find jobs but who are not in the statistics because they have not come FROM jobs lost but from graduation.They completely disregard “under employment” — the college grad flipping hamburgers or working part time 2 days per week.Truth known, we are at about 25% national unemployment and under employment.A real tragedy and one that is not being helped by extending unemployment benefits forever.

      1. Norbert Mayer-Wittmann

        Great reply! 😀 — but I also feel I cannot subscribe to the *normative* bias that having “less unemployed” people is the goal of economics or even *any* kind of social ideal. I do not think a world in which more people are employed is necessarily better than a world in which not so many people are employed… and I have been writing a lot about this (see e.g.… and/or other recent blog posts 😉 )

        1. JLM

          Norbert —We are defined, in great measure, by our work. When asked what a man “does”, he replies — I am a carpenter or a soldier or a VC. We are our work.I like to think of myself as a philosopher, humanist, remodeler who happens to work as a businessman to fund my real occupations. But I always say I am a “biz” guy.Man was born to work. I take great satisfaction in crafting a good business plan, executing a plan, hiring and surrounding myself with good folks and turning around a failing business; and, also in finishing concrete, laying rock, building cabinets, remodeling, flying an airplane, body surfing, sailing and fishing.I love nothing better than going to bed tired — mentally and physically — and getting a dead person’s sleep and getting up before dawn the next day.So I think the greatest dignity we can provide our fellow man with is a good job so he can do what he really wants with his time. So he can stand at the head of the table and say — the food we eat tonight was won by me.I find that most people who opine about the questionable necessity of having a job — have jobs.

          1. Norbert Mayer-Wittmann

            JLM,I think I *totally* agree with you in spirit — but that doesn’t mean I reach the same conclusions.You say: “I think the greatest dignity we can provide our fellow man with is a good job so he can do what he really wants with his time”AFAIK, a person is only employed insofar is he *follows the orders* of his/her employer. IMO this sort of contractual arrangement is anachronisitic — we no longer need to enslave ourselves… whether for an entire lifetime or for one single hour. In this day and age we should be able to (as you yourself say): “what we really want to do with our time” — not what a boss *tells* us to do.Now I will not go so far to say that *everyone* should be so self-directed… I am certain there are many who would rather have someone who tells them what job should be done rather than trying to figure out what they actually want to do. But IMO to say that the ideal case is a situation in which *everyone* should merely be following orders (i.e. “full employment”) is simply too extreme.

          2. JLM

            You have likely projected your own extraordinary gifts and talents on to the balance of mankind. You are obviously a very bright guy and a deep thinker. You are over thinking the issue.Many people are simply followers and want a plan sketched out for them by someone else and they then want to know they are appreciated.Many people want a job and most cannot make their own job.The number of folks who can be self directed is likely less than 1% of the population though it increases w/ age.People are looking for their leaders to solve their problems and are willing to follow leaders who consistently solve their problems.Go to the unemployment office and see how many folks picking up checks are willing to take a job — almost any job. There are no jobs in America just now.

          3. Peter Beddows

            JLM: I totally agree with your reply to Norbert.As an adjunct to these points about employment, followers and an ability to be self directed, and because I have not read Marx I refer to a recent tweet by Nassim N. Taleb wherein he posted “Karl Marx, a visionary, figured out that you can control a slave much better by convincing him he is an employee” which goes somewhat towards Norbert’s narrow definition of “employment”.Now while I do not agree with Marx, nonetheless this quote goes to the point that supports the undeniable fact that the majority of people appear to prefer to be followers; unionization is a perfect example.Reality has shown, without suggesting any form of discrimination, that many have neither the understanding of, nor the inclination for, the N +1 philosophy.However, from the standpoint of having any level of self-esteem and self-respect, the vast majority of people would prefer to be in a position of winning at least some of the bread that gets put on the family’s table rather than taking any hand-out.As a nation, we certainly do not, nay cannot, afford to have a burgeoning class of “homeless” people because they have neither paying work nor subsistence while looking for paying work. At the same time, there are other options that could be before the government in terms of mutually beneficial job creation that do not appear to be even under consideration.So I am equally convinced that people are looking for leaders, those who truly recognize the challenges and who are willing to consistently, ethically and honorably solve the peoples’ problems.A capitalistic society is not the problem; the people we have voted into power to “manage” our democracy – regardless of party – are the problem. I wonder how many of them would go N +1?

          4. JLM

            There is an interesting parallel between Communist Soviet Russia and the current American political scene.Communism appears to stand for the proposition that a very flat society will share its wealth across its entire breadth and depth — while, in fact, the political elite will have their extraordinary lifestyles and dachas.Today, there is a sense that the government knows best — even to the extent of having not a “draw” but the primary draw on your wealth. Of course, none of this — healthcare, etc — applies to the Congress or Executive branch. How is this different from the Communists?Tonight at dinner, I was explaining the implications of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts to my wife and grown children. Their reaction was first incredulousness and then they were offering to enlist in the next American Revolution.My commercial banker son — as honest as the day is long — was advocating moving all of our wealth offshore and simply paying no taxes. My daughter had a more elegant solution — buy Mom lots of expensive jewelry and then have Mom give it to her. I have raised two little tax cheats. Oh, yeah, my wife liked my daughter’s solution more than a bit.Today, I think we are doing real damage to the American work ethic.Why not a CCC-like program which built the Great Smokeys National Park? We are paying the money in the form of unending unemployment extensions but getting nothing in return.We have no imagination.

          5. Peter Beddows

            JLM:”Why not a CCC-like program …” That is exactly what I was inferring by my comment above “At the same time, there are other options that could be before the government in terms of mutually beneficial job creation that do not appear to be even under consideration.”And yes, we are doing enormous damage not only to the American work ethic but to our sense of pride in being Americans which is far more damaging in the longer run.In this context, all readers here might also find this item to be very revealing and not in a happy way: This is a posting by Taleb today about an interaction he had with Alan Blinder re other system evasion schemes “What I meant by legal vs ethical Regulator Franchise – Or The Alan Blinder Problem”” BTW: You write some great stuff!

          6. JLM

            Thanks. I have paid a bit of tuition along the way.

          7. Tereza

            One big difference, in Communism, they eavesdropped on their populace and tortured them. Oh, wait….

          8. Peter Beddows

            Sadly Tereza, it appears that much of what George Orwell predicted in his “1984” has, in fact, come about already in our society as you have observed by your “Oh, wait….”At some point, aside from starting new ventures, we all might want to start asking what, if anything, can be done about halting the erosion of our Constitution and Freedoms …. but I digress; that is for another thread entirely.

          9. Pb9

            If only Texas would secede!!

          10. Norbert Mayer-Wittmann

            I find it amusing how different the article is from the article — and both are “manufactured” by the same corporation? Fascinating! ;DI may have heard the name Nassim N. Taleb before, but I cannot recall having read anything by him. I am very confused by people who hide their twitter updates from the world — it seems so contradictory (but perhaps it is some kind of mysterious marketing ploy).I have read Marx — and it’s not easy. But people who read German philosophers probably just have to get used to sentences that span an entire page (and/or footnotes that do the same).At any rate, perhaps GMTA:… 😀

          11. Norbert Mayer-Wittmann

            * “article” refers to article on NNTaleb 😉

          12. Peter Beddows

            Thank you Norbert for your reply.I have been following @nntaleb since reading “The Black Swan” (was in NYT Best Seller List) which I found to be a compendium of very thoughtful and well researched information about how things don’t always work out as one would expect based upon standard data analysis and prognostication methods. We bought copies and gave them to a couple of clients who had demonstrated a propensity for believing unrealistically in their own infallibility against all odds.Taleb has also written “Fooled By Randomness” which I have not yet read. Not enough hours in my day to do all that I want to do.Until about 2 weeks ago, he did not protect his tweets: He did explain why he changed that but a) I cannot quickly find that now and b) I guess his reasoning is academic and irrelevant here. Please do not take any of this to mean that I am proselytizing on his behalf.Along the similar lines in regard to our economy and how it is driven by factors typically not included in explanations, I also think that “Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism” by George A. Akerlof and the renowned Mr. Robert Shiller of the “Case-Shiller” Index fame is also a very good read.

          13. Norbert Mayer-Wittmann

            “People are looking for their leaders to solve their problems and are willing to follow leaders who consistently solve their problems.”For Immanuel Kant; this was the *problem*… and a refutation of this “fact” would be the number of Catholic girls/women who use birth control and/or get an abortion.I find it ironic that in a country where freedom *APPEARS* to be the highest ideal, employment is widely considered to be the primary objective.I agree with your “scientific” approach (i.e. measurement). Likewise, I have been inspired not only by my own father (who was Chief Economist under Harold Geneen) but also the works + insights of people like Max Weber, Ludwig Wittgenstein and E.F. Schumacher. Each of these thinkers brought a fresh, new perspective to the notion of measurement — but few of the measures were matters of numbers. An overemphasis on numbers will probably lead to losing sight of what the numbers are supposed to *REPRESENT*.A very similar problem occurs in the field of information (my primary focus of attention). Many years ago, Hal Varian (whose work I studied as a student of economics) produced a statistic that was suppose to represent the amount of information on the globe — he simply added up the data storage capacity (this ridiculous bias is indeed very widespread). Very few people truly grasp the difference between data and information… and I am beginning to feel that is because the difference is so nuanced that makes it difficult to explain. Rather simply put: if someone tells me something that I already know, they have not really informed me of anything (though neither is the data stream “noise” per se). Since my “knowledge” (and let’s not get into epistemology, here 😉 ) has not changed, no information has been observed. Counting up pixels on a screen and concluding that a black screen contains so-and-so much information on account of the number of pixels is ludicrous (yet I was unable to explain this to Professor Varian in a convincing manner).I am very happy to see so many interesting discussions arising from this “narrow” view I seem to have (indeed, when I was younger I actually *did* pay a lot of attention to dictionary definitions, but I’m younger than that now 😉 ).I think it is important for people to realize that what they do with their own life is really the only thing that they will ever derive any kind of satisfaction from… and just as Socrates said “the unexamined life is not worth living”, so too I feel that the unchosen, undecided, undone lives are not worth living. Life is a matter of doing things (heh — AFAIK in some languages that might be considered an obscene statement), and our own will to live is closely tied to our own will to do, to be, to create, to make, build, and perhaps also to inspire. It is this “discovery” that is the reason why I find employment so deplorable (and I think that is also quite close to what Marx referred to as the “alienation of labor” — i.e., we are not really ourselves when we merely follow orders).I fully recognize that your point of view seems more realistic and that my point of view seems more idealistic — yet that, for me, is no reason to give up on persuing such ideals.

          14. ShanaC

            Yes, he did miss it. We lose oral cultures every day, and we gain hypertexted ones. Knowledge is not binary, and one of the reasons I dislike empiricism based economics the way it is done now to some degree is become of “Lies, damn lies, and statistics”We may be taking numbers in this era too far.

          15. Peter Beddows

            Norbert:I like what you have written here: Clearly, thoughtfully, laid out your opinion but I do believe you see things quite differently, certainly from an unrealistic and idealistic viewpoint, than the view shared by the majority of people who are currently “looking for work” for whom the idea of N+1 is sending out yet another resume in forlorn hope that “this one will do the trick”.From your own descriptions entered into this thread, you are clearly in a very different bracket in income, intellect and origin from “the average person who just wants to have a job so they can support themselves and their family” such that, in all fairness, without traveling a mile in their shoes, you may not be able to see the world as they do.I also do have faith that the majority of people would rather have a job with an income stream at least commensurate with putting basic needs on the table for their family rather than depend upon any handout from any source. In fact, even with an unemployment check as a source of income, I do not know of anywhere, least of all CA or NY, where one can actually put a roof over your head and food on the table if that is all you are getting. I believe the average top weekly cheque in CA is way less than $500 or so ~ good luck with such largess!AS JLM said, and I agree, “I find that most people who opine about the questionable necessity of having a job — have jobs.” I am also reminded of that classic saying “When you are up to your backside in Alligators, it is difficult to remember your objective is to drain the swamp.”As I have said elsewhere herein, for people who are about to lose their home (aside from those with jobs but losing home because they were caught in the over-priced house mortgage scandal) because they have no job, savings have run out, and thus have neither income nor reserves, the challenge of staying focused on getting work becomes even more stressful and harder to accomplish while living in a car as many are becoming forced to do. I cannot begin to imagine what that would be like.Our society has developed in ways that it now depends as much on the opportunity to “tax” the workers as it does on anything else so it is surely counter-intuitive to suggest that we should not look for ways to encourage job creation. I think that programmes like CCC could be a boon to all of us as an option towards getting our economy back on track.Lastly, as also before mentioned herein, the vast majority of people do not have either the inclination or the fundamental ability to be entrepreneurial: Our schools, with few exceptions, are all designed to train our kids to be good “followers’ and “workers”. We have dumbed down education so much and we do not value education as the Japanese and other Asian countries do. Part of the curriculum focus is antithetical in regard to encouraging “independence” and “creativity” and certainly does no longer support “critical thinking”. Now we have to accommodate the society we have all encouraged to be created as it now is and that is a society of “workers” as distinct from a society of “creative thinkers” and entrepreneurs. Fortunately, my own grown kids are all independently minded, creative, capable, self-sufficient, determined and understand N+1 but that was because, as parents, we made sure that would be the most likely outcome.

          16. Norbert Mayer-Wittmann

            TBH, I find your point of view on this matter rather scary. It doesn’t upset me, because I have seen this perspective for many years already. I would, however, call it mindless — yes: mindless leadership is a scary prospect.I cannot fathom how anyone would think that the USA could compete with such mindlessness as its “guiding light”.My hunch is that I could help any person alive be more productive than if he/she were to work in a large corporation of mindless followers — who do nothing more than vacillate or walk in circles. The United States economy is not based on capitalism or communism; it is based on extractionism — and after the natural resources have been extracted, the US will be little more than a giant mindless, toothless clod.I sure hope it either changes course soon or that it reaches that stage before some leader decides to go on some sort of crusade because he thinks he knows what’s best for the entire world.

          17. Peter Beddows

            Well Norbert, I wish you would not hold back and really express how you feel instead of being so vague in your comments! {grin} I’m not being facetious; just teasing you. This is Fred’s blog and we have digressed, becoming comment bloggers, however, I would welcome finding an alternate avenue to continue this discusion and learn more about your ideas and how they could be practically applied. Thank you for responding.

          18. Norbert Mayer-Wittmann

            If you (and others?) like, I could create a blog for the purpose of mashing up the intersection of (some of) my ideas with (some of) Fred’s ideas — what should I call it? would propose a “community” arrangement, whereby everyone would have the ability to post (i.e. as an “Author”), and I would not allow anonymous commenting (albeit I would do little more than email verification — perhaps with the added caveat that I would probably throw anyone out if I thought they were getting out of line (aka spamming, trolling, etc.).

          19. Peter Beddows

            Thank you for the additional follow-up Norbert:First, I checked LinkedIn to see if I could find you there so I could send you an “invitation to join my professional network in LinkedIn” to paraphrase their standard invitation message: Was stumped when I came up with 3 potential entries related to your name so I’d like to offer you my my email so you can send me an invite instead. It is pbeddows [at] missi [dot] com.Secondly, your proposal is most welcome. However, good though LinkedIn is, and well worth every professional having an account – especially as it is free to join – none the less, as a base for setting up such a discusion, it would seem to have certain limitations aside from requiring each commentator to gain access via first creating an account albeit that is a free process. As it happens, since is all about providing services supporting building business, not just start-ups but turn-around and even services for old line business, I was going to write a blog post about these issues on our site. Since we use the latest version of WordPress with the latest version of DISQUS, the result would appear similar to this, Fred’s, blog. We can thus have a fully threaded conversation that can also be tracked through DISQUS open, subject only to verified users and protected by Akismet against spam. I just have to write the initial blog or I could make you a guest author so you can contribute directly to it if you like and then we can make it available for the conversation to start. We have really amazing resources here not only in terms of what and how we can do this but also in terms of from whom we could gather thoughts and ideas.Lastly but not least, thank you Fred and please forgive me for comment blogging. The thank you is not only for your extremely interesting, thoughtful, thought-provoking and informative posts but also for enabling all of us here to comment and pursue extensions of your ideas via your blog. Your posts form the basis of truly a great forum as also recently demonstrated by the post triggered by your conversation with Tereza and XX-Combinator. Even your recent experiences of trying to phone home from Europe were informative and should lead to teh discovery of a better method to handle such a challenge. Thank you.

          20. fredwilson

            I love going to bed and falling asleep before my head hits the pillow andwaking up before dawn full of energy. I do both almost every day

          21. Tereza

            There is a big difference in how men and women ask and answer this question.In fact I have even talked to Gotham Gal herself about this, superhero that she is.See, as women our work lives are non-linear. And much of the most important “work” we do may be highly valued by the individuals we do it for (our kids, our husbands, our parents, our friends). But it is off-resume and really hard to explain in a snappy, pithy way in a cocktail party conversation.I could write a book about what I’ve learned about life and people from the stuff I was doing at the same time as my resume line items but it would sound insipid putting it there. But it meant a lot to me and the people it was for.We go +1 for the people we care about. That often includes customers, BTW.

          22. Pete

            Raising children and taking care of family is the highest calling, despite what American culture wants us to believe. There’s room for both, but our kids need us more than our customers.Pete

          23. Yule Heibel

            “You measure what matters, and what gets measured, gets done.” I heard Eric Hespenheide deliver this line at a live-cast of an MIT Enterprise Forum event last April. Hespenheide is the Global Leader, Climate Change and Sustainability, Audit and Enterprise Risk Services, at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. He was talking about environmental initiatives, sustainability, and so forth – the pithy observation, “You measure what matters, and what gets measured, gets done,” really stuck with me (wrote a blog post about it on 4/20/10) – and I think that JLM’s comment (“I subscribe to the school of — what we measure, we manage; and, better outcomes require better management”) resonates in similar ways.That said, I’m also completely in agreement with you, Tereza. What we do – to raise kids, for example – is hard to measure, and it’s even harder to convey in an elevator pitch or at a cocktail party. The “what do you do?” conversation “starter” can be such a conversation killer, too… When I taught at MIT and attended faculty meetings that for some stupid reason were scheduled at 6pm, when I really wanted to get home to see my toddler, I would sometimes think, “Why do they make it so hard for women with children to succeed as professors here? Whose kids – bright kids – do they think are going to be their future students, if not the children of parents – nay, moms! – like me who care deeply about nurturing and raising their children?” At the faculty meetings, I saw two other women, and only one had kids; the other faculty members were men whose wives were at home taking care of the children… (This was in the Dept. of Architecture back in the 1990s, maybe things have changed. But then again, maybe not.)The other killer is how “measuring what matters” has implications for how you measure yourself. If it becomes harder and harder to measure what you do, it becomes harder to believe that you matter. Getting a PhD (in Art History, for my sins) at Harvard was eminently measurable – but leaving academia behind meant giving up how I measured myself, …and how I mattered (I think I’m over it now, but it took a few years). I can relate to guys who identify with their careers and who suddenly find themselves unemployed (or “retired”), but who are unable to branch out in meaningful ways (ways that matter). Props to JLM for having a rich alternate life (funded by his business activity) – I think that’s a sensible approach, whatever your means in life.

          24. JLM

            Businesses which fail to accomodate the real interests and priorities of their talent, fail to forge the potentially highest value part of the relationship — the concept that the relationship is “custom made”. Everything that is custom made is perceived as better than mass manufactured.I am a bit of a sports nut and I have a pocketful of season tickets to the UT Longhorns — a professional football team which currently resides at the University of Texas. I have made more impact on relationships by the manner in which I peddle those tickets to my employees than almost any other thing.I routinely hire a professional college admissions and aid person to assist the employees who have a high school age kid getting ready to go to college.I insist that when folks travel on business, they tack on a couple of extra days and have their wives and kids join them. I am careful not to allow this to become abusive but if Dad is in Florida, why not?I force people to forego work on their birthdays, anniversaries and spouse’s birthday.I always give the company off after Thanksgiving and wherever Christmas falls in calendar — the adjoining days. I try to give the entire HQ off during the week between Christmas and New Years but it always instigates a huge row w/ the CFO and Controller. I haven’t lost one yet. Nobody does any work anyway.I give as many folks as I can justify a car — always a big 3-5 year old SUV so they can survive a crash. Returning from the Rio Grande Valley one night with an employee with whom I wanted to chat for a long time, he hit the concrete median and did not even bruise the bags of grapefruit I had in his car. It was 85F in the RGV when we left and 16F by the time we hit San Antone. That was a real cold front.When your eyes are open, you can find ways to make folks be and feel special.

          25. Peter Beddows

            Hey JLM; reading this just changed my mind: We should all come and work for you! Oh wait, your in that Texas place…. {grin}Actually, all joking aside, this is a great philosophy and your business is most likely to always be successful regardless of what you do if this is how you do it.The very first lecture I heard Peter Drucker give was entitled “Motivation”. He went on to declare that nobody really understood motivation and that the great majority of business management was focused more on things that were fundamentally demotivating. I was so impressed by his words and philosophy that I have followed his work ever since. I was disappointed that he passed away before I could visit him once I came to CA but I still have the book he autographed for me all those years ago in college.

          26. Yule Heibel

            Good points. Academia has really changed – not necessarily for the better, certainly not much benevolence left. Too many colleges have “outsourced” teaching work to unaffiliated adjunct teachers (who have not that big a stake in the institution, and perhaps increasingly also not in the student body), yet still charge that student body the same for tuition. Wonder how long that can last? I’d rather work for you!On another note, JLM, since you’re in the development / real estate field: have you come across A. Alfred Taubman’s autobiography, Threshold Resistance? has been accused (he protests) of “malling” America, although whatever you think of malls (love them or hate them), his life story is just amazing (see http://www.thresholdresista…. He also became famous for going to a federal penitentiary when he was over 70 years old, for alleged skulduggery at Sotheby’s – which he partially owned. Seems he was set up.Anyway, I’m getting off-topic. But Taubman does seem to be the kind of business man who always finds the n+1 thing…

          27. gregorylent

            noting that little of that can be measured 🙂 for effectiveness … it is smart, and qualitative …what can’t be measured gets ignored, and there you have the beginning of some very great social and economic problems …

          28. Donna Brewington White

            “Businesses which fail to accomodate the real interests and priorities of their talent, fail to forge the potentially highest value part of the relationship — the concept that the relationship is “custom made”. Everything that is custom made is perceived as better than mass manufactured.”JLM — you say some incredibly wise things and this is one of them!

          29. JLM

            I have a theory that we all have 3-6 different careers in our lives if we will only be open to the possibilities.I have already been a professional soldier, a construction manager, a developer, a private investor (boring), a turn around specialist and a CEO.I love small companies more than big companies though I have a propensity to immediately try to make every small company into a big company.I never stop learning and I just laugh and laugh the more I learn about people. They are all interesting, precious and unique. Even the bad ones.I envy you your PhD. It is like winning the Distinguished Service Cross for heroism.The more I vacation, the more I work. The more I work, the more vacation I take. I am always working and never working. I am always vacationing and never vacationing.For some reason, I have more energy just now than at any other time in my life. But more importantly, I am more at peace willing to focus on what I can control and dumping the rest overboard.

          30. fredwilson

            gotham gal is writing a book about this right now

          31. Tereza

            Yes! It’s an excellent theme and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with!

          32. Norbert Mayer-Wittmann

            I agree — but I would rather say that there is a big difference between the way people who are aware of shadow markets and people who are not aware of shadow markets think about shadow markets.This size of this problem — of which the “home” shadow market is merely one instance — is gigantic, and perhaps the reason why so little is/has been done about it is that it is simply overwhelming…. and BTW I would gladly support and/or collaborate with anyone who has the guts to stand up and attack such really big issues — without worrying what other people think about it! 😀

          33. Tereza

            BTW it bears saying my husband definitely does his fair share in that shadow economy….and I love him for it!

          34. Norbert Mayer-Wittmann

            LOL, I just did a google search on “shadow economy” and the term is indeed quite poorly defined. When I studied economics, it was normally used to describe unmeasured economic activity (Gary Becker’s Nobel prize was in this area — see… ).However, because the shadow market also includes the black market (i.e. illicit economic activity), this might cause the two to become confused — and so I just wanted to clarify that I *didn’t* mean illicit when I referred to unmeasured.Though, from my own experience I do sometimes feel that cultural norms cause people to feel that not swimming with the current — insofar at it is unconventional — could be considered revolutionary (and in that sense also has the connotation of being anti-establishment or even anti-social).I think it’s great when people are supportive and do not exploit other people — and I also wish it were more common! 😉

    2. Venkat

      Leibniz (or was it Kronkecker?) said, “God created the integers, everything else is the work of man.”Every integer IS unique. You just need to read more number theory :)Venkat

    3. morrillkevin

      This philosophy put in practice does not work. In fact what makes us human is our ability to see similarities in things and abstract away the details to form a concept.The very notion that you’re writing in words (which are entirely conceptual, unless you treat them as random blots of ink) betrays the notion you’re recognizing.

  47. Pradeep Padala

    Great theory. This is especially true for finding time to do things like running, reading books, hiking etc. There’s always time for one more thing, if you dig a bit deeper into time management.

  48. Tim Johnson

    I used it last Thursday to get all 12 of my 8 year old Cub Scouts back to camp after I missed a turn and got them lost on a hike. It was supposed to be 1.5 miles but turned into 5. Low on water, out of snacks, tired boys missing their time on the bb gun range – could have been ugly. There was always one more step they could take, one more interesting nature thing to see or learn about, one more goofy song, one more corny old joke and Voila! We’re back at camp.N+1 is a good lesson to keep in mind at all times. Optimism + Tenacity = The Next Good Thing.

  49. Walter

    Great post!My prof use to have an N-1 approach also. When I gave him my ideas he would want to see what ideas I discarded to get to my ideas. My discards would prove to be a great source of ideas for him. He’d ask “what is was your second best idea?” and we would run from there.

  50. riemannzeta

    Nice post. Andy Grove recommends the N+1 question in one-one-one meetings — i.e., ask one more question after the person you’re meeting with is done sharing the information they prepared to share.

    1. JLM

      The most important question when interrogating a witness — “…and then what happened?”The most important questions in business —“What have you not told me that I should know about this?””What is the counter argument to what you have told me?””What do I not know that you think I should know?”

      1. riemannzeta

        Actually, the N+1 question is the last you want to ask during cross-examination at trial for the same reason that Grove gives! One doesn’t want surprises at trial.But to add to your list of good questions, here’s one from Phil Fisher:”What are you doing that your competitors are not doing yet?”

        1. JLM


  51. riemannzeta

    I’ve known a few John Doyles myself. They make me think of Durkheim, who identified ennui as the most important problem facing the world. Clay Shirky, by the way, is the modern Durkheim in important ways.

    1. JLM

      Hahahaha, ennui. That is the reason I often give my wife when I don’t want to do something.I say — “Darling, I am just overwhelmed with ennui.”True story!

  52. Guest

    In short, the story is inspiring.So, I add +1 comment here. 🙂

  53. Bradley Horowitz

    +1Liked this very much.

  54. Denny Ferrassoli

    I use this when exercising all the time. When I can’t do anymore I force myself to add one more 🙂

  55. Venkat

    This seems to be a commonly rediscovered meme, going by the comments. Now that I think of it, Wayne Gretzky’s famous line about “I go where the puck is going to be” is a similar sentiment.So maybe we can try to do an N+1 on the N+1 idea meme itself :)I think N+1 is derivatives thinking (both calculus and finance) applied to ideation and innovation investment.Very few natural mathematical functions stop dead at some arbitrary X value. Diminishing returns curves are usually gradual. So if each new n+1 idea seems to be getting smaller and further apart, at some point it is time to get out. The tail residue is not worth fighting over.The oil minister of Saudi Arabia once said something like “the stone age did not end because we ran out of stone, and the oil age is not going to end because we run out of oil.”Point being, a rich vein grows weak gradually. n+1 thinking allows you to build foresight into your ideation. There will ALWAYS be a next idea. That’s not the point. The point is to quit when the ideas start to get sufficiently sparse and small for everybody. The ‘peak oil’ (Humbolldt’s peak) idea applied to ideation and investment in ideas…So to go back to your “now I’ve seen it all” problem Fred, I’d say a good investment strategy would be to track the _frequency_ of you being surprised. If it falls below a minimum, you could decide to rebalance your portfolio.Of course, things sometimes get a new lease on life. We *could* still find an oil deposit somewhere remote that is 2x the one in Arabia….we’d then be back at 1890s economic dynamics. Peak oil would get kicked into the next century. And maybe there’s still some big bluefin tuna swimming out there somewhere.Venkat

  56. GlennKelman

    My favorite of your recent posts. One of the happiest moments at Plumtree was when the sales team closed our first big deal in what seemed to me like a freak occurrence and a usually dour board member said “if you can do it once, you can do it again…”

  57. reece

    weighing in late with the obvious sports plug, but anyone who’s been through a tough practice where coach said “sprint to the other end of the field and back on my whistle” or “pushups, on my whistle” knows what this is like…if you’re not pushing yourself to your maximum capacity, then you’re not gaining anything from it.(if there are any other CrossFit people out there, you’ll know what i’m talking about).great one Fred.

    1. reece

      …follow up thought/startup relevance…in my own life, even my father recently said to me “i admire your dedication and perseverance, but i don’t know how you can keep going like this.”he was talking about my startup.a week later i got a call for a major biz dev deal.that’s how.

      1. Tereza

        I responded to this earlier but it didn’t post.What I said was:You go, girl!And I think you know that’s the biggest compliment I know.

  58. Richfvee

    A friend of mine, who is in sales, can always keep a phone conversation going with a sort of “N+1” technique. Whenever the conversation slows down (which happens often with me, a quieter engineer-type who hates talking on the phone), he just says “so what else is going on?”……seems to jump start the talk every time! I’ve since learned to use that.

    1. Tereza

      That’s a very good technique in qualitative market research.Then follow that up with a string of Why’s. Amazing what you can learn.

  59. Hurshaw

    around every circle, another circle can be drawn…

  60. Fred T

    Another awesome theory learned throughout my life cycle: N+1

  61. Dorestrepo

    Put another way:”Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.”Arthur Schopenhauer

  62. Horatiu Mocian

    Hi Fred,Speaking of MBA Mondays and N+1, I think at some point you mentioned that you will write a post explaining the difference between VP of Finance and CFO. I would love to read about it, and you would be able to maintain the N+1 rule.Thanks,Horatiu

  63. Francine McKenna

    Did you know that there is a twice yearly print journal called n+1? They cover politics, ,literature and culture and are based in New York.

    1. fredwilson

      i had no ideai’ll check it outthanks

  64. hypermark

    When I first saw the title, I wondered if it was somehow related to the “N-1 Theory,” an old axiom that in funding budgets to execute a plan, you determine the ‘optimal’ budget by looking at the numbers (N) and then removing a bit (-1) from the ideal budget (N-1). The logic? Teams work better whey they are a smidgen under-funded because it forces everyone to REALLY sweat the details and over-communicate so as to better coordinate on implementation details.Food for thought.

  65. dlifson

    Reminds me of Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem (…, which was explained to me as stating that mathematics cannot ever be perfectly encapsulated in a set of laws because there will be a law missing that explained the aforementioned set of laws.

  66. wordpress themes

    N+1 , Lots of questions .can do any thing .great !!

  67. royw

    N+1 is nothing new. Its just a more complicated way of saying that those that keep believing will succeed. If one truly believes in something they will find a way to make it work. They will be endlessly persistent until the solution is found. Why? because, in their minds, there is no reason why it cannot happen. Kind of like water flowing downhill. Its not a question of if it will get there, just how.

  68. 6things

    The N+1 Inspiring post from Fred Wilson

  69. Donna Brewington White

    Had to apply N+1 thinking to get through all the comments! I honestly don’t know if I heard this somewhere or made it up, but somehow the phrase “Sometimes you win” got stuck in my head at an early age. My version of N+1 and probably why I’ve been accused of having a penchant for the impossible. If you win once, you always believe it’s possible to win again. And, it is.

  70. Wide Eyed Pupil

    “Math would say that when you extrapolate N+1 all the way out you get to infinity. But we are talking about life, not math, here.”Actually math wouldn’t say that, it would say you never get to infinite 😉 and math might use a lowercase ‘n’ because math is less pretentious than marketing : )”It is pure optimism sprinkled with tenacity and we need that in our work and our lives.”Yes we do, and realism.

  71. Sivanadham Balaji Ku

    excellent post.. really sad for that are amazing to apply it..

  72. Ben

    and that +1 can be the difference between success or failurebetween good/average or great.great article

  73. Jim

    Comedians often believe that there is a “funny” in any situation / object / relationship. You just haven’t found it yet. Dig harder. Get more observant. And yes – even if you do find something, there’s always more.

  74. Crash

    JD RIP

  75. Tereza

    Charlie I know someone doing something very cool and big around local food and media and may be synergistic with what you’re doing. She has a track record that’s off the charts.if you’re interested please get in touch with me. I will see her today.tnemessanyi at gmail dot com.

  76. Peter Beddows

    I feel that hearty congratulations are in order for you Charlie and your wife, and we will be rooting for the success of your new venture.

  77. Donna Brewington White

    I’m a little late to the party as I’ve been off the grid for a few days — but, wow, Charlie, congratulations! Will look forward to hearing more.