Finding the right game to play in

Published on Nov 4, 2020

Straight from James Clear on Twitter:

It’s usually more important to be in the right room than to be the smartest person in the room. A person with great judgement and average intelligence will usually beat someone with great intelligence and average judgment. Judgment is knowing what room to be in.

The first and last sentence of the tweet caught my attention alright. Knowing what room to be in. Finding the right game to play in.

Because sometimes we try really hard to compete in a chosen field, but it might not be a field where we're naturally inclined towards, have innate talents for, doesn't suit our personality, don't have social connections to leverage on, or sometimes there simply isn't much opportunity in the field. Clearly, hard work is a necessary but not sufficient condition for success. 

I think that's why in the indie maker scene, going ultra niche first is often good advice. Because that way, you're choosing the right room to be in. An average execution in a small arena that fits you, your experience, skill stack, and business model will work far better than an excellent execution in a huge one. 

It's interesting to see how this played out in my various products. Keto List is a great example of choosing the right game, an average execution in a small arena. The directory website of keto resources and links isn't all that great, there's lots more I can do to improve it, but the site grows and grows despite my (lack of) effort. Sweet Jam Sites competes in a huge field (web design), and while I wouldn't say I executed it well, the returns on my effort definitely doesn't match Keto List. It's not in the right room......yet. That's why so far what I had been doing was not improving the delivery or the business model, but pivoting to different customer groups to see which one is the right game for it to excel in.

So, success is mainly the result of finding the right game to play in. Hard work is over-rated. Yay or nay?