The simple power in marginal gains

This is a dull and ridiculous story but I’m going to share it anyway as it reminded me of the power in marginal gains.

I gave up caffeine 2 months ago but drink decaf most days. I have a semi swanky machine and milk-frother as I used to love a proper coffee at home in the morning. It no longer has the same punch but I’ll dip into the old routine until I totally kick the habit.

To make my tasty beverage I would froth the milk, put the cup under the machine, let the coffee pour in and then mix it with a little whisk thingy. Wash all the utensils and then drink my coffee. Nice.

One day I couldn’t find the whisk so I put the coffee in first, then the milk on top. Pouring the milk in after automatically mixed it all beautifully, and kept the same consistency. No need to use or wash up the whisk. Still deeeelicious and it saved me 45 seconds of shenanigans.

Are you still with me or have I bored you to death?
A truly tedious story right.

But there was the eureka reminder!

It reminded me to just step back on a regular basis and think for a minute — How can I apply marginal gain thinking to everything I do across people, product, process, packaging, pricing… And for me, how can I help founders apply it.

So far I’ve upgraded my daily work routine, what I do when and how I compartmentalise my time, reset all notifications, changed my calendar software, my office chair and added a second monitor to my home office. I’m also coaching a founder to apply the same thinking to his #product development process. Finding the edges, and where those little stop/start gains are hiding that all add up to create serious forward motion.

They’re not revolutionary, just practical things you can build on daily that make you say — hmmm, that’s niiiiice.

Exited Entrepreneur, now a VC. Investing in business automation tech startups at seed stage. I write from both sides of the desk.