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Pablo Escobar, Junkies and YouTubers — What Thinking Tools Can We Borrow From Them?

Humanity is one huge problem-solving entity by design. i say design as nature designed us, but the human brain does problem solving today for needs that aren't in any animals realm (better or worse — i’ll leave you to judge).

Almost every thing or action we do, is to resolve an issue, from going to the bathroom to making quantum computers work. That is a global truth, we even are able to convince ourselves we have some problems that someone else's invented — like, how you absolutely dont need a fancy watch, but you make it a problem to success in your business circles if you dont have it (nonsense! and one that i am guilty off :-/ ). i even talked about how to use that global truth when you pitch your ideas.

While problem solving is hardwired into the way our brains work and how we live our lives, it is still a skill and one that is acquired or learned or expanded, but will usually be limited to what we know.

For example, if i throw you now in the middle of the amazon jungle, will be able to survive? maybe, but someone who went through one of the Israeli commando units training will surely be able to (at least more that you or me).

You know what you know, and no one can take that away from you, yet, problem-solving can also can adapted or more accurately for this post — borrowed.

Let’s borrow some minds:

Sales people

We can talk about sales people and their techniques and how they essentially created the sales game, but what i want to borrow from them is how they use incentives.

Sales people always try to find the limit of what best incentivizes their potential customers, think of how the classic car dealer who always goes back to the office and promise to check with his/her manager if they can do “something more” for you, and the longer you hold — the better deal you’re gonna get. But did you know that the sales persons already knows what he can do for you and how “low” he can go, they just see what bests incentives you and what closes the deal.

Try it with your potential customers, especially your online customers, you can send 5 incentives and A/B test the sh!t out of it.


Again, there are a plethora of thinking tools we can borrow from scientists, but the one i want to focus is variables. Scientists run the same exact experiments but change one variable to see the affects. We can do that in almost everything we do, the idea here is that you decide what variable to change and by how much each time, but do measure the affects.


Love ’em! it’s my dream to become one some day. Anthropologists are by design and profession, embedded in different cultures and learn by immersion in it.

We can borrow this thinking tool, when we try to learn what pains our customers, you can call it “be in your customer’s head” but thats impossible sometimes, so the best way will be to BE your customers but as anthropologists — without any judgement or prejudice.


it’s a classic one but one that deserves a spot in this post:

“Think like a Carpenter who build stairs — always one step at a time”

Take it easy, one step at a time. if you cant see the whole path (or top of the staircase cause it doest exist yet) — take it one step at a time

Crime lords /organized crime

This deserves its own post, and i’ll get to it someday, but the main thinking tool we can borrow from these organizations is how incredibly agile and preventive they are.

Take the war on drugs, it failed, and it only made the market double and quadruple in size. Why? because they have to, cause this is the only thing they know how to do — survive.

It’s everything but easy, but in order to thrive in this “business” you need to ALWAYS find new clever ways to stay an outlaw, and that requires very creative problem-solving skills, we can use the same mindset only NEVER to broke the law but rather to find hacks in our business.


This is a very hurtful subject, but i heard one story a few years ago that resonated with me and i think it’s the right place to share it.

A tech entrepreneur i know, who have sold his company for over $100 Million, told me he battled with Marijuana addiction throughout the early years of his company (the most stressful times), and he said he wished he’d applied his getting fixed skills to his business, meaning by any means necessary and never quitting until you get it. He did.

Aspiring actors

Hollywood, much like entrepreneurship, is tough. While it makes sense for actors to play another role in order to get the job, sometimes we have to be actors in our day to day lives.

Why shouldn't we act a bit in order to get business and things done? we’re not good actors so we can become someone else entirely, but we can act ourselves a little. The thinking tool here, is to think like an actor/actress competing for a role that can change his/hers life but they have to be better that ~700 other people with abilities similar or better than theirs.

Chefs (in 2018)

I’m not a foodie at all! but one of my best friends in the world is a chef, and we always try to find methods that work in tech and we can apply them for culinary businesses.

One thing we discovered is that in 2018, it’s not just about the taste, but rather the experience, and that opening a restaurant is not necessarily the only way into the food business. The same principal that get users hooked on an app can be applied to foodies consuming a new culinary experience, and with a little A/B testing, we found it.


My favorite part, and one that has shown me again and again, that there are ALWAYS ways to be different and to think different.

What are the challenges of YouTubers:

  • Get viewers

  • Get viewers to watch 1 video fully

  • Get Subscribers

Pretty straightforward, but now let’s think of what it take to create 1 minute of video footage:

  • Script

  • Filming

  • Editing (and some more editing)

  • Re-shoots, re-edits, post production

  • Publishing

  • Advertisements

  • Sharing

And to top all of that, they are drowning in millions of channels and creators before them, yet they succeed. 

This video by Casey Neistat sums it up perfectly:


Everyone’s a consultant these days right? but you know what, there is room for each and every one.

Freelancers should not be concerned with competition at all in my opinion, because each individual brings a unique set of skills and experiences that creates his the perfect consultant for certain businesses.

You are the product, what you bring no one in the world can bring, but it doesn't mean they dont operate as if they are just shelf products and i can keep browsing until i find the right one for me.

Good freelancers stand out, Great freelancers are the only ones in the spot light.

Borrow or Steal

The great thing about thinking stuff is that thats what they are, thoughts and wonderings, so take this as a brain exercise to really think like one of the characters above or anyone else you feel inspired by his/hers approach to solving issues in their lives.

Have a great weekend :)


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