Lovely StoriesI spent a week attending a series of startup events in several Japanese cities and was frustrated by the amount of time people spend telling each other stories and making excuses. I head stories that explained why, because of its history, a certain city is particularly good (or bad) for start-ups. And far too many stories about how today’s challenges are the inevitable result of some ancient aspect of national or local character.

I understand that many people are uncomfortable discussing the details of real problems, and in most cases there are no obvious solutions. I can’t even say that these stories are wrong, because most of the time there is no way to test them one way of the other.

The problem is that the stories we tell each other about about our problems give us an excuse to avoid talking about practical solutions. They give us an excuse to do nothing.

Stories are simple and comforting, but they are a waste of time.

Stories don’t solve problems.

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