If starting a business is so great, why don’t more people do it?

One of the perennial questions about startups is where to come up with good startup ideas. There’s been much written about it but, speaking from personal experience and anecdotes, too much of it exhausts more than it instructs.

Meta-Learning: Cooking

Happily, understanding the mechanisms of how we learn and acquire new skills falls under the purview of meta-learning. This post seeks to apply the concepts of meta-learning to the fitting topic of “how to make a squillion dollars/passive income.”

To see the mechanics of meta-learning in action, let’s first turn to a similar but more digestible case study first. Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Tim Ferriss uses cooking as his base. In The 4-Hour Chef, Ferriss writes:

I don’t care for why people pick up cookbooks. I’m much more interested in why they put them down. The hypothesis: if I can address the primary, but often ignored, tripping points, I should be able to increase the number of people who eventually become master chefs. To develop a list of failure points—the reason people put cookbooks down—I polled more than 100,000 of my fans on Facebook (64% male, 36% female) and looked for patterns. Here are a few:

1. Too many ingredients (and therefore too much shopping and prep).
2. Intimidating knife skills, introduced too early in cookbooks.
3. Too many tools, pots, and pans, which are expensive and require too much cleanup.
4. Food spoilage.
5. Different dishes finishing at different times, leading to cold food, undercooked food, burned food, etc.
6. Dishes that require constant tending, stirring, and watching.

The 4-Hour Chef, Ferriss, p. 21. Ferriss proceeds further

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