Big Picture Thinking vs Daily Execution

May 16, 2021

There’s 2 distinct modes of the mind, whether you apply it to life or work.

On the one hand, you have big picture thinking. This is thinking in the long-term, having a 30,000-foot view of things, holding a picture of the overarching direction of where you are headed.

On the other, you have daily execution. Being in the weeds, firefighting, solving problems as they come, making micro course adjustments as obstacles present themselves everyday.

I’ve discovered that it is hard to be in both modes at the same time. To have big picture thinking, you have to remove your mind from daily execution and interruptions.

It’s less about doing tasks and more about letting your thoughts flow without bounds. You think of where the world is headed and how you can be a part of that picture.

Whenever I get lost in daily execution for more than a few weeks, I start to forget the big picture. When this happens, it's easy to get caught up in all the problems you're facing instead of the direction you're headed.

So for the past week, I've stepped away from execution enough to think about the big picture of what we are doing at DelightChat. And to my relief, most of the big picture elements that lead us into this journey still stand true.

The big picture of DelightChat

  • The rise of D2C brands stealing away marketshare from incumbents, and the trend of offline brands embracing online storefronts, accelerated due to Covid.
  • Brands these days talk to their customers across channels and not just email and phone calls - Instagram, WhatsApp, SMS, Live Chat and other new mediums. If you're an internet brand, chances are you have customers talking to you across several of these channels.
  • Brands that grow beyond a certain size need tools to talk to their customers, keep track of and resolve queries, and drive sales.
  • The growth trajectory of a competitor named Gorgias (0-$25mn ARR in 5 years) validates the market demand and size.
  • We want to bring high-quality tooling to small and mid-sized brands, available usually for $1000-$2000/mo or higher to a $200/mo price point while offering the same quality, but superior UX and ease of use.
  • UX and ease of use of our tool is especially important because for the business to work at a lower price point, our interaction per customer has to be lower than competition.
  • The rise of Ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Wix, Webflow present an opportunity to tap into their distribution and reach a sizeable audience of brands.

How to maintain the big picture while you execute

I’m writing this post to serve as a reminder to myself, and I hope it serves you as well.

The only way to ensure that you maintain the big picture is to periodically break away from execution to revisit these thoughts.

It would be easier to revisit the big picture if it were documented in some place.

Hence, the 2-step process becomes:

  1. Document the big picture of what you’re doing and where your life/work is headed.
  2. Set a periodic reminder, eg. 90 days, where you break away from daily execution for a few days to review the document and whether your current trajectory is aligned with it.
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