In elementary school, I never showed my work on homework. I tried to impress the teacher by going straight to the right answer. On occasion — it’s embarrassing — I’d even erase my work and write the answer on top.
When I got to college, the math problems were harder. I showed my work for my own benefit, because it helped me organize and analyze my thoughts. I wasn’t always getting right answers these days. Showing my work helped me find where I went wrong and learn from my mistakes.
In law school, I learned that there are no right or wrong answers, argumentation is all there is. To make an argument is to show your work and the logical chain you followed to reach your conclusion.
The federal judge I worked for after law school taught me the importance of process and giving the litigants their day in court. Law gets its legitimacy from reason, not from right and wrong answers. Showing your work is the court’s work.
As a startup guy, I show my work for all of the reasons above and because it represents the opportunity to show the world who we are in what we get done.