Hot Takes

Does “wisdom” get in the way of innovation?

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In the last two years, I’ve been having many conversations where the build vs. buy debate is the crux. Like many conversations, perhaps the challenge lies in a lack of nuance or discrepancy in definitions.

However, there is a clear relationship between tenure and perspective on this issue. Fewer years of experience will favor building over buying and vice versa for more tenured professionals.

Since I’ve been around the block a few times, I have some inherent bias regarding this topic.

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However, I think there are a few simple non-tenure-related questions that anyone can ask themselves to guide decision-making. Ultimately, not letting the number of years in the game be the factor.

  1. How can it be done any two of Faster, Cheaper, Better?
  2. How can it be done with the least amount of impact/distraction to the broader organization?
  3. Will there be consistent, ongoing support and innovation with the option you choose?
  4. Can you clearly articulate why you are selecting the approach you are?

There are a few more, and happy to chat about those later, but for now, these are a great start and, if answered honestly, will help eliminate any “tenure bias.”

The framework above applies to more than buy vs. build decisions and can help shift the conversation from an emotional/ideological to a rational/practical level.

However, on a more philosophical level (and perhaps a future hot take), if we could be more precise in our choice of words, take the time to make sure we share the same definitions, and walk away from the idea that youth and wisdom are at odds, we would all be better off.