How to Beat the Catch-22 Situation (Or Dealing with the Chicken and Egg Problem)

1. Chicken And The Egg

You can’t have chicken without eggs. And you can’t have eggs without chickens who grow up to be hens. So which came first?

2. Catch-22

“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to.”

From the book Catch-22 (page 54 – 1985 paperback.)

So how does Orr manage to beat the Catch-22 situation and escape the war? Simple: he doesn’t listen to any rules. Crashes a plane. And then rows all the way to Sweden – a neutral country to escape the war.

Action Summary:

To beat the catch-22 situation, you have to stop heeding the rules. And make your own path that changes the status-quo.

You have to row your own boat to where you can escape the situation.

3.Real Life Case Study

Steve Samartino starts He is faced with a catch-22 situation. Customers won’t visit his site if there are no products listed there for rent. And people won’t list products for rent if there are no customers on the site.

How to break this vicious circle

Steve rows his own boat quitely but diligently. From his must-read post “Inventing Demand

I went out and got myself a copy of the Harvey Norman and all the major department store catalogs. Scan through and them and picked off what items I thought would be suitable to rent. For the purposes of rentoid that meant items that were “hot” in market (their placement in the catalogue was proof enough of that), items which had a purchase value of over at least $200, and had a low likelyhood of damage. I then proceeded to gather photos of the specific items off Google images and listed each of them on rentoid. The rental prices I placed at 5% of item value for a week, and 10% of item value for a month. The bond I made 50% of the cost.

When people rented the items, I went out and bought them, first hunting for the lowest price on line. Then rented it to the new rentoid member in good faith and gave them an exceptional user experience.

After the rental I sold the item on ebay for around about 80% of the retail price. I pretty much re-couped my costs doing this.

Further reading: Six Strategies for overcoming the chicken and the egg problem

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