Working on the right question means aiming at the core of a problem

Date created: 2022-05-18

Many problems have a hard core, surrounded by easier issues. Aiming toward the center means that you’ll focus on the important central issues. It means asking yourself The Hamming question. But, to get a sense of momentum you should also try to Work on solvable, not grand, problems. Ideally you focus on things that are both important and solvable.

By center, though, I mean the actual center, not merely the current consensus about the center. The consensus about which problems are most important is often mistaken, both in general and within specific fields. If you disagree with it, and you’re right, that could represent a valuable opportunity to do something new.