Learning from Seinfeld

When watching the TV series, Seinfeld, on one of my many rewatches of this timeless series, I sometimes go back to front, i.e., new seasons first, then old seasons. When doing this I was fascinated to see how the storylines and characters were so well thought out quite early on.

It is almost as if the characters’ fate and stories were predetermined. I think especially where George Costanza and Kramer end up in the last few seasons makes total sense when watching the first few seasons. This showed how the series creators had this great vision from the beginning of how the series was going to pan out and finally conclude. Of course, as the seasons went on, minor changes were made. But they did not fundamentally alter the vision of the series.

Famous novelist John Grisham advises fiction writers to know the ending before beginning to write the first chapter. In his foreword to The Lord of the Rings, J.RR. Tolkien mentions that the chapter ‘The Shadow of the Past’ was one of the oldest parts of the tale much before the other chapters. I think this too is quite illuminating.

This idea could easily apply to other areas of life too. For example, when starting a software project, it is good to have an idea of how the end product is going to look like from the start. It may also pay to have a end of life strategy in place from the beginning. The same may apply to business ventures etc.

Another example of this approach is how bitcoin has evolved. The original creator behind Bitcoin undoubtedly had some approximate idea how the currency would eventually turn out, and especially because they made it peer to peer and decentralized, it has become self-sustaining and antifragile. A similar decentralized protocol which has sustained and grown is BitTorrent.