Bret Victor – Inventing on Principle (by CUSEC)

Their principles

Elizabeth Cady Stanton — “Women should vote”

Larry Tesler — “No person should be trapped in a mode”

Doug Engelbart — “Enable mankind to solve solve the world’s urgent problems” (a vision of “knowledge workers” using complex powerful information tools to harness our collective intelligence)

Alan Kay — “Amplify human reach and bring new ways of thinking into a faltering civilisation that desperately need it”

Richard Stalman — “Software should be free, as in freedom”

Your principle

The world will to make you define yourself by a skill (…) if you want to spend your life pursuing excellence and practicing a skill (…) that is the path of the “craftsman”. That is the most common path.

The only other path you’ll hear about much is the path of the “problem solver”. So I see entrepreneurship and academic research as kind of two sides of that coin: there’s a field, there’s a set of problems in that field (or needs in the market), you go in, you choose one, you work it, you make your contribution there.


It can take time to find to find a principle because finding a principle is essentially a form of self discovery (…) where you want to stand for as a person.

What I had to do was (…) use all these experiences as ways of analysing myself. (…) and saying: “does this resonate with me?”, “does this repel me?”, “do I not care?” (…) and trying to figure out why, what is this secret ingredient to all these experiences that I’m reacting to so strongly.


If you choose to follow a principle,a principle can’t be (…) too vague to be directly actionable.

(…) his principle was this specific nugget of insight (…) and that is a powerful principle because it gave him a new way of seeing in the world, it divides the world in right and wrong in a fairly objective way.