The Low-Hanging Fruit

Sep 10, 2023

Finding the “low-hanging fruit” is not only the most straightforward plan, but it’s often one of the most effective. Continuously executing against the obvious plan gets you much further than you’d think.

Some reasons why:

  • Simple to apply. Do the most obvious things first.
  • Bias for action.
  • Gradient seeking is how optimization works.
  • Rarely leads to a local maximum.
  • Progress compounds.
  • Small wins create real momentum.
  • Short feedback loop.
  • So obvious it might work.
  • Quick wins boost morale and motivation.
  • Maximizes (marginal benefit - marginal cost) / time
  • Easier to scale small successes than to downsize large failures.
  • Occam’s Razor (the simplest explanation is usually the best one).
  • Pareto Principle (80% of the consequences come from 20% of the causes).
  • Habit forming: hard to form habits with complex plans.
  • Opportunities multiply as they are seized. Not all options are apparent before starting.
  • Easier to estimate impact and cost when it’s obvious (we’re still bad at it).
  • Easy to communicate with others.
  • In reality, plans fail for equally obvious reasons (lose focus, no motivation, etc.)
  • Positive expected value, when the mean expected value from prospective plans is usually negative.