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solve simpler problems first

One of several microformats principles.

It's very hard to solve a hard problem by directly solving it, that is by trying to jump to designing (and/or building) a 100% solution to a hard problem.

It is much easier to solve the "easy" or "common" 80% of a problem, and once that's been solved and implemented, you iterate (using the filter of the real world) and figure out what the next 80% is that "needs" solving (per real world needs, not hypothetical needs).