Harvest what you plant

Foxes are great at the OOD phase of the OODA loop, but often get bored during A.

Leonardo da Vinci is an exemplar. Fueled by burning curiousity, he spent shocking amounts of time observing, exploring, and braching off into adjacent pursuits.

  • To paint light, he wanted to understand optics. He experimented with lenses, conducted experiments to understand the composition of the atmosphere, correctly deduced that light was a wave.
  • To paint the human figure, he wanted to understand the way muscles fit to bone. He dissected cadavers, developing new techniques that would not be rediscovered for 100s of years.
  • To paint landscapes, he wanted to understand geology. He discovered fossil layers in the hills around Florence, correctly surmised that there had been multiple geological epochs, and that these fossels had been deposited over several separate eras.

He made discoveries in physics, optics, biology, and geology that would not be replicated for 100, 200, or in some cases, 300 years. He jotted his findings down in densely illustrated notebooks, even while sketching in the margins about some new and related thread he had uncovered. In a few cases, he made half-hearted attempts to gather his notes into a scientific treatise, but got bored and moved on to the next burning question. Most of his scientific discoveries were never published and remained tucked away in private notebooks.

Leonardo got away with it through sheer genius. We aren't all Leonardo da Vinci. Before you get bored, harvest some of what you planted. Publish the paper, the blog post, the repo. Make it real.