David Strittmatter

Socialize your problem

Problems are nothing but wake-up calls for creativity – Gerhard Gschwandtner

Dear friend,

In Mai this year, I interviewed an expert for building fast-growing ventures. His job is to advise (larger) corporations on how to conceptualize, get off the ground, and scale startups.

He works in an environment loaded with uncertainty, chaos, and complexity. Linear planning, e.g., drafting static timelines, doesn’t work. The same goes for having all the right expertise on board early on. Anticipating all the different problems occurring is not possible.

However, for every problem he faced he could find someone who has already dealt with it, crucial for the project’s success. To find the right people for your problems, he suggested, you need to socialize your problem.

Socialize your problem

It’s simple but effective: Whenever you talk to a person, you talk about your current problem. You don’t even have to ask for help. People will proactively offer their expertise and network if they know something about it.

The more open you are and the more people you speak to, the faster you obtain the solution.

The great advantage of this technique is it works for all kinds of problems: Business, science, social, health, cooking, baking, household, sports – whether professional or private.

I’m currently trying to find out more about carbon capturing to evaluate the potential emergence of a new “carbon economy” in which carbon suppliers (carbon emitters such as cement producers) trade carbon with carbon users (such as refineries producing synthetic fuels). Through socializing this problem, I already received great input for my research.

Another example: When I was planning a trip to Athens 2 years ago, I talked with many people about it. So, I received many great ideas for the trip.

How to implement this technique

Whenever I’m faced with a new problem, I list all the people that might have a perspective on it. I sent them a brief message asking them for their view and whether they could suggest me anything.

Simultaneously, I openly talk about this new problem. For instance, when I wanted to plan a trip to New Zealand, I would ask not only friends and families but also colleagues and clients for their perspectives. You’ll be surprised how much great input you can receive by just talking about a problem.

Have you already socialized one of your problems? What was your experience? Would be curious to hear from you.

All the best to you and yours,


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