More from Life
It's a pretty amazing story. So I hope you stick around to the end.
Years ago, while on a family snowboarding trip, my mom came down with a cold. By the time the trip was over, it had gotten worse. Hours after we flew home from the trip, my mom was admitted into the hospital. In less than 24 hours, she would be in ICU on life support.
A sickness had taken over her body and started shutting down her organs. Weeks went by with my mom's life hanging by a thread. It was such a delicate balance between medications to keep her alive and fight the illness. The doctors and nurses did an amazing job. True heroes.
Eventually, the doctors came to the conclusion that they'd tried everything they knew, but my family wasn't ready to give up the fight. We stood strong and pushed forward, holding out hope for a miracle.
So the doctors kept fighting to save her. Many days had passed with my mom under sedation and other heavy medications. At this point, the cure was almost as deadly as the illness. They took her off the sedation, but my mom never woke up. She was in a coma.
Like company moats, your personal moat should be a competitive advantage that is not only durable—it should also compound over time.
Characteristics of a personal moat below:
I'm increasingly interested in the idea of "personal moats" in the context of careers.— Erik Torenberg (@eriktorenberg) November 22, 2018
Moats should be:
- Hard to learn and hard to do (but perhaps easier for you)
- Skills that are rare and valuable
- Compounding over time
- Unique to your own talents & interests https://t.co/bB3k1YcH5b
2/ Like a company moat, you want to build career capital while you sleep.
As Andrew Chen noted:
People talk about \u201cpassive income\u201d a lot but not about \u201cpassive social capital\u201d or \u201cpassive networking\u201d or \u201cpassive knowledge gaining\u201d but that\u2019s what you can architect if you have a thing and it grows over time without intensive constant effort to sustain it— Andrew Chen (@andrewchen) November 22, 2018
3/ You don’t want to build a competitive advantage that is fleeting or that will get commoditized
Things that might get commoditized over time (some longer than
Things that look like moats but likely aren\u2019t or may fade:— Erik Torenberg (@eriktorenberg) November 22, 2018
- Proprietary networks
- Being something other than one of the best at any tournament style-game
- Many "awards"
- Twitter followers or general reach without "respect"
- Anything that depends on information asymmetry https://t.co/abjxesVIh9
4/ Before the arrival of recorded music, what used to be scarce was the actual music itself — required an in-person artist.
After recorded music, the music itself became abundant and what became scarce was curation, distribution, and self space.
5/ Similarly, in careers, what used to be (more) scarce were things like ideas, money, and exclusive relationships.
In the internet economy, what has become scarce are things like specific knowledge, rare & valuable skills, and great reputations.
I tell people one of my biggest fears is balloons, and obviously it's funny to imagine, until they see me have a psychotic break when one pops. I lose myself and it's terrifying. I don't know what it is about loud sudden sounds that hurts me, and it appears I'll never know.
I dread the 4th of July every year. My birthday parties were often held then. Recently I discovered if I wear earbuds and blast music with audio PPE on top I can stand to be outside. That first show where I could keep my hands free I held my best friend's hand and felt wondrous.
I'm crying just remembering discovering I could be happy underneath fireworks. I'll never understand why my parents didn't think to ever try to help me, and instead made me suffer for so long, feeling absolutely alone with this. Only once do I remember my mother comforting me.
It was a particularly bad year, a lot of college kids I think renting nearby camps, and I hid under my bed for hours. My mother came up and laid on my bed, dangled her hand down to show she was there, and sang to me. I was 15.
“You want to be rich & anonymous... Not poor & famous.”
The goal is to get rich & disappear, not to get noticed!
The problem is that too many people are chasing clout instead of wealth.
Clout is not gonna put food on the table in 5 years. Change your priorities!
“I don’t have time” is just another way of saying, “it’s not a priority”
Being “Too busy” is a myth,
People make time for the things that are important to them.
If you haven’t made enough time then it’s simply because you haven’t convinced yourself it’s a priority.
“Earn with your mind, not with your time”
You’ll never get rich trading your time for money...
Reason being? Because you only have 24 hours in a day & you can’t work non-stop.
Use your mind & money to create a product that will generate you money even while you sleep 🥱
“You can escape competition through authenticity... No one can compete with you on being you”
No 2 humans are exactly the same, there’s something that makes each of us unique.
Find what makes you different & capitalize.
Your biggest competitive advantage is your originality!
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1. There's been a lot of news lately about people in the Autonomous Vehicle industry realizing the problem they're trying to solve is much trickier than they initially hoped.
I think there’s a good analogy in a similar technology: self-checkouts.
2. Self-checkouts have been around a while. Companies have been working on them since 1984, and they’ve been in stores around the country for nearly two decades. As you well know if you’ve used one, they also still kinda suck.
3. This is not for a lack of financial incentives! A company that could figure the technology out would be able to replace billions a year in labor. Even a marginal improvement on the tech would be incredibly valuable as current systems feature staggering losses to shoplifters
4. It’s not as if “scanning items at a checkout” is an especially daunting task. It’s considered unskilled labor. Teenagers do it.
5. Turns out that making an automated system that’s 95% as good as a human is relatively easy and one that’s 100% as good as a human is very hard. I think it’s becoming clear that autonomous vehicles are going to turn out like this
>10 hours of interviews for this w/ a dozen or so of top firms in the game. Really grateful to everyone who gave up time & insights, even those that didnt make final cut 🙇♂️ https://t.co/9YOSrl8TdN
For avoidance of doubt, leading tracking analytics firms are now well beyond voronoi diagrams, using more granular measures to assess control and value of space.
This @JaviOnData & @LukeBornn paper from 2018 referenced in the piece demonstrates one method https://t.co/Hx8XTUMpJ5
Bit of this that I nerded out on the most is "ghosting" — technique used by @counterattack9 & co @stats_insights, among others.
Deep learning models predict how specific players — operating w/in specific setups — will move & execute actions. A paper here: https://t.co/9qrKvJ70EN
So many use-cases:
1/ Quickly & automatically spot situations where opponent's defence is abnormally vulnerable. Drill those to death in training.
2/ Swap target player B in for current player A, and simulate. How does target player strengthen/weaken team? In specific situations?
It was an honor to be invited to #ICDPPC2018 in Brussels this morning. I\u2019d like to share a bit of what I said to this gathering of privacy regulators from around the world. It all boils down to a fundamental question: What kind of world do we want to live in?— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) October 24, 2018
The missing context? Apple uses hardware-rooted DRM to deny Chinese users the ability to install the VPN and E2E messaging apps that would allow them to avoid pervasive censorship and surveillance. Apple moved iCloud data into a PRC-controlled joint venture with unclear impacts.
China is an ethical blind spot for many in tech: We ignore the working conditions under which our beautiful devices are made, the censorship and surveillance necessary to ship apps there, the environmental externalities of coal-powered Chinese Bitcoin farms.
We don't want the media to create an incentive structure that ignores treating Chinese citizens as less-deserving of privacy protections because a CEO is willing to bad-mouth the business model of their primary competitor, who uses advertising to subsidize cheaper devices.
Cook is right, the US needs a strong privacy law and privacy regulator, and advertising companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter need to collect less data and minimize more often.
In Asheville, North Carolina, go buy or order some great books by authors you love (hint, hint) via @Malaprops! #NationalAuthorsDay
In Chapel Hill, NC visit @FlyleafBooks. If they don't have my books in stock, I bet they'll order them for you! This is also true for other authors! #NationalAuthorsDay
In New York and NJ visit @wordbookstores! Ask for my books if they don't have them, and also buy lots of stuff by other authors! #NationalAuthorsDay
In Washington, D.C. visit @PoliticsProse for all your #NationalAuthorsDay needs. Ask for my books and those of hometown hero @baratunde and also buy cute objects!