“No amount of doing can compensate for the lack of thinking”
Who said it / Author:
Lei Jun, founder of Xiaomi
Meaning / What does it mean:
Lei Jun is trying to say that one has to have a strategy and think carefully before taking action. This is to ensure that one picks the right thing to work on before putting in the effort. Sam Altman, the founder of Y Combinator agrees. In his blog post he says
“It doesn’t matter how fast you move if it’s in a worthless direction. Picking the right thing to work on is the most important element of productivity and usually almost ignored. So think about it more! Independent thought is hard but it’s something you can get better at with practice.”
So both of them agree that one has to think more rather than just “doing something” just because everyone is working on something.
For example, when Steve Jobs wanted to open more Apple retail stores, everyone thought he was crazy because the industry was closing retail stores. But Jobs thought through it and he realised that Apple was like any other tech company. Instead, he saw Apple as the Louie Vuitton of the tech world. This means they are more of a luxury goods company rather than a tech company like Google or Dell. So the retail stores are a reflection of that. If Steve did not think through it and he just followed what everyone in the industry was doing, Apple may not be as successful. So what Lei Jun and Sam Altman are trying to convey the message that while working and executing are important, thinking carefully about is even more important.