## Divide & Conquer

Tobi Troendle

Aug 4, 2023

### How many marbles can fit into a wine bottle?

It's a challenge that can leave us feeling overwhelmed when encountering it for the first time.

Our initial response is often "I don't know!", which can be liberating. But if we don't push ourselves to find an answer, we remain stagnant.

So how do we tackle problems for which we have no answer?

### The solution lies in the strategy of "Divide and Conquer".

By breaking down complex challenges into smaller, more manageable parts, we can more effectively find solutions and move forward.

This concept has nothing (anymore) to do with medieval battles, but is instead a technique I learned while working in consulting. At the time, I underestimated its power, but after several years of encountering new business problems on a daily basis, I now greatly appreciate this idea. Essentially, the technique suggests that you can break down any problem into smaller sub-problems. If you cannot solve these, simply divide the sub-problems into even smaller parts.

Let’s use our initial question as an example:**How many marbles can fit into a wine bottle?**

*If we don't know the answer immediately (and most of us probably don't), we can try to break down the problem. We know that a wine bottle holds 0.75L. Now we can ask ourselves how many marbles fit into a 0.75L box. As this is still hard to estimate, we can break down the problem again and consider smaller glasses in our cupboard. For example, we can ask ourselves how many marbles fit into a 4cl shot glass. Let's assume that we estimate 5 marbles to fit into the shot glass. We can now work our way back up and calculate that there would be space for approximately 94 marbles in a wine bottle.*

Without a huge experiment or hours of work, we can now make an educated guess to a problem we didn't know the solution to before.

### This is why I chose to apply this system to my upcoming Year of Product.

I asked myself, what do I actually need to do to create a digital product?

This is the short list I came up with:

**Research:**I need to research content to put into a digital product, as well as how to build the product and how and where to market it.**Creation:**I actually need to build the product.**Sales and Marketing:**I need to select a platform where the target audience can find the product, and I need to make people aware of its existence.**Documentation:**I need to document my process to improve on it with further products.

After I created this list, the challenge didn't look as daunting as before. So as a next step, I tried to map this list to one week. Here is my current plan on how I want to create 52 products in one year:

Monday:

**Research**Tuesday:

**Creation**Wednesday:

**Creation**Thursday:

**Sales and Marketing**Friday:

**Documentation**

As you can see, after breaking down the problem, it already seems a lot more manageable.

Over the next few weeks, I will break down this list even further and share with you how I plan to approach every day.

If you're currently stuck with a challenge, I encourage you to use the same principle: think about the smaller challenges included in the big problem and start solving these.

The overall solution will come closer step by step.