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Cold Start

The term 'cold start' derives from cars. When it’s really cold, the engine has problems with starting up, but once it reaches its optimal operating temperature, it will run smoothly. 

The term is also used in the context of digital products to indicate a start state that isn't yet optimal to produce the best results - like a new Facebook user's Newsfeed when they have not yet added any friends. 

I ran into my own cold start problem earlier this week. After close to two months of relative inactivity during my visit to Bangalore, I found it a struggle to bike up the many slopes of Luxembourg city. 

It wasn't much of a problem before and it isn't much of a problem after a week of re-acclimatisation, but on the first day after I returned back, it was a problem.

Cold start.

We run into the cold start problem in generating ideas as well. Sometimes, I spend a lot of time in coming up with even a single idea for a blog post, or a way to solve a user problem in the products I build. And then, once I have an idea, usually a lot more follow.

The way to overcome the cold start problem is by lowering the stakes and by adding external support. It is all about getting the initial ball rolling and let it gather mass until the optimal conditions are reached and there is no longer a need to cold start.

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