What chess taught me

When I was a kid, I enjoyed playing chess. I was part of my school chess club, part of the first team and at one time actually won the local county (amt) championship in my age group.

Chess was fun and interesting. And taught me a couple of important lessons about life;

Looking and planning ahead a few moves is cool. But if it comes at the expense of taking your eye of the ball of what’s happening right here and right now, you’re still going to loose.

So. Keep. Your. Eyes. On. The. Ball.

On the other hand; if you’re acting too quickly in the spur of the moment and not showing enough patience to completely your next move so it ends being a wise one, you’re also going to loose.

As in all other aspects a life, it is a question about balance.

Don’t overthink, don’t stress.

Be smart.

Contemplate the situation – state of play.

Think in options and alternatives.

Make the move that seems to bring you closer towards your objective while at the same time preserving your interests.

Repeat. And repeat. Etc.

More people should really take up chess.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

TikTok and a lot of…nothing

What does a Trump rally, TikTok users and startup tactics have in common?

They are here and now – and there’s not necessarily a grand plan for how to move on from here.

When I saw that apparently a viral TikTok prank of securing tickets for Trumps rally in Tulsa and then (of course) not showing up and leaving the hall half empty, I was reminded of a similar way that many young startups operate;

They hack their way forward. Growth hacking is just one of the terms.

While growth hacking – or just hacking – can be a real powerful tool and bring you forward here and now, it very often is not useful on the longer term. The results generated can easily prove unsustainable.

A quick example:

A couple of years ago on a hot summer afternoon in Copenhagen, I watched a young startup giving out free cold beers to anyone who would download their app (which had nothing to do with beer).

A super efficient growth hack that coupled their need for extra downloads to serve some metric goal with the bypasser’s need for a cold beer on a very hot day.

But also very, very short term. What’s the chance anyone of those who got a beer ended using the app? Close to zero.

Same with the TikTok happening. Super efficient and (to some) fun even. But what’s the impact going forward? Probably close to zero.


Because now that it has been done, the Trump campaign will have learned what can happen and will most likely adjust for it going forward. If anything there is a risk that the campaign going into the crucial months has been made more robust from this and thus – potentially – more effective.

In this respect the TikTok thing can end up being counter productive in the end. Just as those cold beers on a hot summer afternoon in Copenhagen.

So what’s my point in all this?

My point is to make sure you have a plan. A pretty thought through plan where you at least understand what the things you’re doing short term contribute to the overall goal and how to make adjustments to the plan based on how individual initiatives play out.

It is very seldom that those just jumping from one very short term thing to the next end up with the victors spoils.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Don’t fall out of windows

When somebody “accidentally” falls out of a window at a hospital or any ofter building after criticizing the government and their policy, actions – or lack thereof – you could argue that it could be seen as a ‘clever’ way of removing an opposing voice for good.

It is a tactic. A morbid but…eehhm…efficient one.

When suddenly people – in plural – start falling out of windows, and there is a common denominator in their background stories it starts to look more like a strategy than a tactic.

A poor strategy that is. Because it becomes totally evident to even the blind what is really going on. And then you have put yourself in a worse position.

The point?

That even if you’re efficient at the tactical level in your daily job, you are not necessarily by any means a good strategist. Rather the opposite.


Because you’re so caught up in what’s efficient in the moment, short term, that you completely miss out on the bigger, longer term picture.

And here is a news flash:

It is always the bigger, long term picture that decides how others look at and interact with you and your company.

So if you want to be good at tactics and strategy, bet on being good at strategy first.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)