Fundamentally, there are two ways to do things... the hard way and the easy way. It's not to say that one is better or worse than the other. But the real question is which one, and when?
This choice of hard/easy is one that every entrepreneur must consider, time and time again. Perhaps, the typical entrepreneur is predispositioned to the more difficult path... but then again, laziness and the pain of potential hard work can inspire invention.
I'm lazy. But it's the lazy people who invented the wheel and the bicycle because they didn't like walking or carrying things.
- Lech Wales
So instead of this binary, I hope to further dissect the choices... framing it instead as the slow vs the quick, the impactful vs the superficial, the long vs short term. The reason is that one of these criteria may be more salient than the other, whereas hard and easy is an emotional distinction.
In many cases, the hard way is the better way... as it includes the "extra" work of building a foundation, of following a proper process, of developing a new skill set, of documenting and reporting to other stakeholders.
Each of these side-effects of the hard way is valuable, but it's worth noting that it is a side-effect... and might not necessarily directly impact the result either. The hard way also implies it might require additional resources, time and know-how; things that may be in short supply. It asks what's most important at this time... again, what's the most salient criteria?
On the other hand, the easy way can be better... for it's speed, simplicity, or lightness of resources. The easy way seems to aim directly at solving the problem. Many times, upon reflection later the easy way is also the most obvious way, but again only in retrospect.
This is because we are so often conditioned to do things "properly" that simple solutions might not even occur to us. Or we might actually believe the hard way is the only way. Or that the "benefits" of the hard way listed above, are somehow inherently superior, due only to the fact that difficulty involved... or similarly, that the easy way is inherently inferior.
Yet the hard way also might the heroic willingness to fail, a commitment to a larger principle or vision, or an acceptance of potential sacrafice, pain, and danger. While this is a romantic idealization this is an emotional association, a romantic idolization of the hard way.
But again, in praise of the easy way, speed allows for additional time to recover, additional time for experimentation, additional time/resources to focus on other important issues. Simplicity is sublime. In this world of bloated excess, gaudy ornamentation, or obfuscating detailing, simplicity is a welcomed breathe of fresh air.
There is no handy rubric to use to know which strategy is best. Instead, I hope to have expanded the dichotomy of hard/easy along a multitude of other dimensions and axises. And in doing so, with that additional complexity, hope to nudge the founder towards a more considered and self-empathetic view.