Solve the Problem

Shaun Dippnall
Dec 28, 2019 · 4 min read

Ray Dalio.

Philanthropist. Philosopher. Author.


Founder CEO of the largest Hedge Fund in history.

One of the 100 most Influential People of the 20th Century.

One of the wealthiest people alive.

One of the great business thinkers of our time.

An amazing problem solver.

Idea Meritocracy

Ray Dalio is famous for building one of the greatest Hedge Funds of our generation. Bridgewater has returned a real 8% pa over the last four decades.

That’s a remarkable return — you’ll be one of the richest men in the world if you manage that kind of performance over almost half a century.

But what Ray actually built is one of the greatest problem solving machines of all time. His company — Bridgewater — has been configured to solve problems quickly, brilliantly and continuously at scale.

Ray’s idea was to build a system that surfaces ideas in a robust, systematic way where the best idea would be selected and implemented.

Bridgewater collects brilliant, diverse and independent thinkers and allows them the space for radically honest discussion to find the best solution.

There is no space for ego; no room for arrogance or title. There is only room for the discipline of hypotheses, evidence and fact-based conclusion.

Decision-making is an exercise in rigourous debate at Bridgewater. Employees put forward their ideas in a logical manner — often written in memo format — and the team works through them to find the best solutions.

Radical transparency.

In search of radical truth.

With uncompromising open-mindedness.

So the best idea wins.

Solving problems

One of Ray’s big secrets: to achieve your goals you must be a problem solving machine.

Every day there will be many problems that hit you. Some big, others small. There will be waves of problems to solve. They will never end. The more successful you are the bigger your problems will be.

Set a goal. Obstacles follow.

That’s how it works.

Successful people roll up their sleeves and get stuck in.

Unsuccessful people complain, give up, ignore or accept their problems.

Success=practical problem solving.

How to succeed

Ray’s framework for progress is given below:

It’s simple really: head for the mountaintop. Expect it to be tough. Know that 101 issues will emerge. Work through what you need to work through to make it to the top.

Solve problems to get where you want to go.

Another secret: pain is your friend. The more painful the problem the luckier you are — the bigger the opportunity to learn, the greater the scope for personal growth. Celebrate difficulty.

Reflect on problems that are difficult and find the wisdom in those experiences to help you grow.

If the going is tough then you’re stretching yourself. If it’s hard then you’re doing it right.

Love the matrix

Set Goals. Rush towards them. Embrace your problems as you begin your climb. Solve them one by one.

Love the process.

Struggle well.

Work methodically. Proceed with a scientist’s pen.

Write down your assumptions. Test each of them so that you know how they interact with each other. Model the various scenarios. Assign probabilities to each.

Ask people who you respect what they think. Seek out experts for their opinion. Get your peers to challenge your conclusions. Never assume you are correct.

Think through context, audience, possibilities and landscape. Think deeply about first, second and third-order consequences.

Wrestle with the data. Struggle with the math. Climb the mountain.

Note your assumptions.

Fight to know how ‘it’ works.

Squash the bugs.

Disappear into the matrix.

Solve the Problem.


Shaun Dippnall

Written by

Father, husband, Founder CEO of EXPLORE

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