*Their* restricted action section

One idea around here is that of the restricted action section, and how to unlock it. Broadly the goal is to limit any reduction in the range of choices. For example, the willingness to look stupid is a way to reduce the restricted actions section.

A common cause of restriction are stakeholders. Employees are stakeholders, movie financiers are stakeholders, and institutional investors are stakeholders. In the case of DTC, the most underrated part of the success of companies like Dollar Shave Club, All Birds, or Warby Parker was their competitor’s stakeholders. It wasn’t that Gillette didn’t want to sell their razors for cheap, but that would undermine their retail partners. Stakeholders limit actions. What’s there to do? Tyler Cowen gave a 2022 talk at Yale and advised this:

“Never stop listening while you do this (advocate your position). Don’t make it a crusade, make it a way you are expressing your opinion but trying to learn at the same time. I think especially in university environments you will be more effective that way. If you’re a top line university administrator, the pressures you’re under and the number of constituents you have to cater to is so extreme. Those are frustrated people. A lot of them may be on your side way more than you think but they can’t say so.”

Tyler Cowen

Whenever I find myself flummoxed by someone’s action it’s a sign I don’t understand the incentives. Sometimes the incentives are satisfying the stakeholders. I like Cowen’s approach here: be curious and find the incentives.

Need a louder phantom Tyler Cowen? Here’s more.