2 min read
Where my obsession with problems started
A brief recollection of the early events that caused me to hyper-focus on problems
April 17, 2023
Almost 2 years ago now, I learned of a failed startup valued at $120 million called Juicero.
The story of this company, created to solve a non-problem, captivated me, but I was hooked less on what ultimately took them under and more on this idea that many people were working on problems that felt real to them that weren’t.
I needed to know how this was possible.
I needed to know how a bunch of incredibly talented people could come together and over-engineer such a complex piece of machinery for, ultimately, no reason.
This stuck with me because I’ve seen, and had been a part of, many situations like this, where a problem was taken extremely seriously only for it to not matter.
I also began noticing that people I work with across all career levels were also regularly facing situations similar to Juicero, like any time Engineers were being asked to solve an ill-defined problem.
While mentoring team members through these situations, I coined the term Juicero Problem to represent this idea that an ancestor “problem” to something that feels like a real problem might, in fact, be a non-problem.
After that, I became obsessed with being able to quickly determine if a problem was legitimate or not.
This drove me to posing the, seemingly elementary, question: What is a problem?