Brayden Haws

October 10, 2022

An Algorithm for Career Success

What if there was an algorithm for success in your career?

DALL·E 2022-10-09 20.21.29 - Brute force algorithm for solving a maze.png

Navigating your career can often feel like wandering through a maze. There are countless paths and options you could take. It's hard to know where to turn and when to choose a different path. With the acceleration in AI, you may soon be able to have an algorithm that can tell you exactly what career choices to make. Until then, a recent podcast revealed to me another algorithm you can use right now.

If you aren’t listening to Acquired by this point you are out of your mind, no better podcast out there. They recently released a two-parter on Amazon/AWS. You owe it to yourself to invest the 7+ hours of listening time in these episodes. But for now if you don’t have time this was one of the key takeaways:

Amazon’s success lay in what Ben termed a brute force algorithm for solving the maze. Amazon knew where they wanted to go but didn’t know how to get there. So they just kept trying things. Some were successes and some flamed out. But eventually this strategy allowed them to emerge from the maze as the market leader. 

I have been part of a mentorship program for the last few years. Alumni work with current business students to help them through starting their careers. A lot of discussion revolves around strategies and tips for how to be successful. I have often struggled to come up with great answers. But when I was watching the Amazon clip something clicked for me. Amazon had a brute force strategy for finding success, and we can do the same in our careers. Looking at my own career thus far the “algorithm” is nothing fancy. But I would call it “brute force”. For me this algorithm for navigating the maze that is a career is simply hard work.

Amazon faced so many obstacles on their journey. There were obstacles both internal and external that could have stopped them. But they refused to be stopped. Careers are the same. There are so many factors that we cannot control: opportunity, luck, politics, timing, etc. But there are two things we have total control over, time and effort. Those two things are all you need. You have control for how you use these two factors. No doubt you will get lost in the maze, you will get stuck. But you get to decide if you keep working to find a way out or give up. Along the way you might get help or you may be held back. Others may solve the maze faster than you. But all that matters is that you keep trying.

Looking online, reading books, and talking to others, you can find countless strategies for success. Many of them are valid. Many will lead you to the end of the maze. But from my point of view nothing will get you to the end of the maze of a career with more sure success than doing the work. When things get hard, keep going. Build a reputation for yourself as someone who will not be outworked. Make hard work your default and your brand. You are guaranteed to struggle and stumble, but you are also guaranteed to go farther than those who aren't willing to put in the work.

Leave it to Utah tech legend Sterling Snow to summarize my sentiments better than I ever could:


About Brayden Haws

Healthcare guy turned tech wannabe. Doing product stuff at Grow. Building Utah Product Guild⚒️. Constantly tinkering on my 🛻. Occasionally writing poor takes on product strategy and technology⬇️.

Website | LinkedIn