Pushing the Lead Domino

Pushing the lead domino is another heuristic I’ve been using lately. In the words of Tim Ferriss, “which of these [tasks], if done, make the the rest easier or irrelevant?”

Most people know about the 80/20 principal, in that 20% leads to 80% of gains, but the lead domino is even more powerful. It’s the 80/20 principal on steroids, making it easier for me to focus on what’s important. There’s always one thing that I can be working on that will make everything I’m doing much easier.

Like Offense vs. Defense, I can’t take credit for this heuristic, as I took it from Tim Ferriss, Chris Sacca and Derek Sivers in different places over the past few months. I’ve been using it recently to refocus my priorities at Magma.

The lead domino for Magma is having one very successful company in our portfolio. If we can show one successful company, it will make everything else that we’re doing much easier. It’ll be easier to attract the best companies, to help current portfolio companies raise future rounds and it will position us as a successful, fully private, investment fund in Latin America.

That’s led me to work as much as possible with our companies that are starting to gain significant traction to help them find success more quickly.

Additionally, each of our portfolio companies has a lead domino that they need to be pushing. It’s even more important in a startup, as there’s so much happening on a day to day basis, pulling you in hundreds of different directions. If you’re not using the domino heuristic, it’s easy to lose your mind and tread water every day. When I start working with a new company, one of the first exercises we do together is to figure out their lead domino and make a plan to push on it as hard as possible.

Pushing the lead domino also works outside of business. If you’re trying to get better at sports, lose weight, learn a foreign language, save money or do just about anything else, take some time to figure out your lead domino, then push on it as much as possible. It’s a great heuristic to make sure that you’re working on the right things each day.

Photo credit: David Pacey