First Principles Thinking

Businesses (and startups in particular) must actively question assumptions. They must engage in first principles thinking, which, in the words of Elon Musk, means to “boil things down to their fundamental truths and reason up from there.” Before getting caught up in details, businesses must establish their biggest truths.

Instead of saying, “Battery packs are expensive,” ask yourself, “What makes battery packs expensive?” That way, you will realize that the materials themselves are affordable, while the manufacturers’ retail price must be higher than the cost of materials to receive a margin. Perhaps the solution is to self-manufacture battery packs.

First principles thinking can apply to physics, philosophy, and your personal life. Question the nature of a problematic assumption and you will find the solution.

Chase Robbins