Monday Morning Coffee – Doing 1 thing more? or Less?

Good morning!

Woke up thinking about a little simple math this morning.

Seth Godin dropped a line to this post entitled “The N+1 Theory” by Fred Wilson.

“The N+1 Theory states that there is always one more of anything.”

Which ends with the author’s final statement: “I find the N+1 theory very inspiring. It is pure optimism sprinkled with tenacity and we need that in our work and our lives.”

I like it!

I especially like that optimism part . . . being the diehard optimist that I am. If a real estate deal is going South, I always start looking for N+1 . . . What is the missing piece (the 1 more thing) that can save this deal that we have all failed to see and plug in?

More often than not, we find it and revive the deal.

This optimistic tenacity is critical in today’s business environment and in our every day lives. If we were to throw the towel in every time the way got rocky, we’d never get ANYTHING accomplished . . . akin to slogging through “The Dip”.

Seth Godin makes a good point in his post. “N-1” . . . doing 1 LESS thing . . .

He says: “What would happen if you did one fewer thing? What if leaving that off the agenda allowed you to do a world-class job on the rest? What if you repeated N-1 thinking until you found a breakthrough?”

Back to Fred’s post: “John had a theory he called ‘the N+1 theory’ and while he applied it destructively in his own life, I have often found great inspiration from it in mine.”

so . . . there’s more to this than simply doing 1 more (or less) thing . . . taking N+1 too far can be destructive (addictive behavior) . . . and taking N-1 too far can be debilitating and render the effort impotent.

Which should it be?



Are we looking for BALANCE?





Hmmmm . . .

Let’s consider something a wee bit simpler . . .


What is “N”?

The goal – Vision – Task – Mission – List – ToDo????

Is “N” in alignment with your purpose (personal or organizational)?

Doesn’t really matter if it’s “+1” or “-1” if your vision is blurry, does it?

I’m just sayin’



BTW . . . In my real estate deal example, the vision that provides the foundation for success is quite simple – Buyer wants to buy THIS property and Seller wants to sell THIS property . . . each one has “N+1″‘d and “N-1″‘d himself into the deal . . . completion stalls out because the other players (Lenders, REALTORS, Inspectors, appraisers) lose focus on “N” . . . and therefore have no basis for +/- 1.

Coffee cup’s empty . . .


About Barry Owen

Residential Real Estate Principal Broker and Founder of Pareto Realty, LLC. Creating the quintessential real estate firm with emphasis on "Live, Work, & Play" balance . . . and a true Performance Oriented environment for Real Estate Professionals. Serving the Real estate needs of Home Buyers and Sellers in Middle Tennessee.
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