On Learning and Unlearning

In a recent interview on Founders Journey, Thomas Tull (Founder of Legendary) reminded me that the concept of releasing a whole season all at once (kicked off by House of Cards), brought to consumers by Netflix, was groundbreaking. What struck me was that Tull went on to explain how people laughed at that idea. They assumed that shows needed to be released weekly to get the most value. Otherwise, consumers would rush through the content and be done and potentially not come back.

...when they first put out Houses of Cards, they were being ridiculed. I mean, at least in the rooms I was in LA, "How stupid is that? They're going to put out the entire series all at once. And then when people watch it, then they're done. How dumb is that? You have to stretch this out over a 13 or 26 week period." And I guess they found out pretty quick that it wasn't dumb.  – Thomas Tull

So obviously, Netflix was on to something as it kicked off a string of successful show launches and began a trend that all of their competitors followed. I won't be focusing on why they succeeded, although I'm curious about the source of their insights. I want to focus on is the insights to be gained if the people who laughed got curious instead.

Why did they laugh?

It should not be a surprise to tell you that I was not in the room that day, but more than likely, I can assume that they did what we often do when an idea does not align with our beliefs we defend our position. Maybe because it threatens our expertise, or perhaps if it is true, it threatens our livelihood.

Scout Mindset

Julia Galef (author of Scout Mindset)  has developed a concept to encapsulates the interaction mentioned above. It's called the Scout vs. Soldier mindset. In this concept, there are two modes of thinking, "scout," which only searches for the truth regardless of whether it aligns with held beliefs, and "soldier," which only defends current views no matter what.

Even if you still don't agree with a view, you can use the insights gained by listening to develop a level of confidence in your own beliefs and understand how this view may or may not work.  Overall this approach helps you maintain an accurate map of your held views and see opportunity before you typically would if you only were a soldier for your beliefs. This is a practice that I  have added my everyday interactions with people and it has already paid off. Notice I call it practice because I definitely don't get it right all the time 🙂.  It is the discipline of continual  learning and unlearning.

New Physics of Business
Thomas Tull is the founder of Tulco. We cover the movie industry’s value chain, how Legendary Entertainment pioneered the use of data analytics to improve their odds of success, and Thomas’ concept of the new physics of business
Amazon.com: The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t eBook: Galef, Julia: Kindle Store
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