Mental Models & OODA Loops

Mental Modeling is something I’ve poured a lot of my thought into lately. More HOW we do things than WHY. The goal is to do things effectively, efficiently and with a rapid-smart-strategy.

Tak Lo’s been sharing on OODA & Mental Models. Check it out:

“In my reading into the OODA loop, orientation is the most important part of the loop. According to Boyd:

“Orientation is the Schwerpunkt. It shapes the way we interact with the environment – hence orientation shapes the way we observe, the way we decide, the way we act.”

In order to get better at orientation, one needs to accumulate mental models, or views/frameworks of how the world works. The more mental models, the more viewpoints we have to evaluate reality, and the better we can make the correct decision to act.

Thus in Boyd’s theory, in order to make better decisions, one needs to increase one’s mental models.


I tweeted this message after I came back from Shenzhen on Friday night.


The activity in Shenzhen was amazing. An early stage startup could literally finish brainstorming, head over to a mall and hack a prototype, find early adopters, and submit an order to a manufacturer in a day.

Early stage startups are better served by being close to their supply chain, whereas later stage startups could 1. afford to be farther away 2. gained strategic advantages of being away by orienting themselves more to the international market.

I call this ‘reducing your execution pathway’. Within the OODA loop, a startup that reduces their path time from the ‘Decide’ phase to the ‘Act’ phases allows them to make their execution more efficient.


A similar corollary is to have developers on your team. You can certainly outsource to developers at an early stage – but you increase the execution pathway if you do. And that reduces the advantage that an early stage company has.”


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