What's your unfair advantage?

What's your unfair advantage?

My son is sleeping again, so I thought I might be able to write a quick post.

One thing I've been thinking about recently is the concept of an unfair advantage as an entrepreneur. What unique advantage do you have that others don't?

The idea is that you should pursue opportunities where you can eliminate the majority of competition due to your experience or interest in a given field.

It seems like there are two ways to do this:

  • Spend a ridiculous amount of time learning about a single topic
  • Combine 2-3 different interests together (also known as talent stacking)

For example - if I were to start a company where I build a new calendar app, I might be competing against thousands of other competent entrepreneurs. I don't really have an unfair advantage vs. someone else in the market. I will probably lose.

I somehow stumbled into this with my company, Friday.

Here's my personal example:

  • When moving to Boston after I graduated college, I knew that eventually I'd want to work remotely and move somewhere more rural, which sparked my interest in remote work.
  • I then worked remotely for ~6 years. I was a job-hopper, so I experienced 3-4 different companies and how they worked. I saw what worked and what didn't.
  • I grew up as a homeschooled kid, so the concept of working from home was inadvertently engrained into my upbringing.
  • I started side projects with offshore teams, which forced me to communicate asynchronously to build products.
  • Most my career was spent building "internal" tools in the "people space" (L&D, HR, etc).
  • I've spent way too much time investigating computer mediated communication.

As I look back at these seemingly random variables, most of them were a byproduct of curiosity. I did not go deep on a single topic and spend years of my life working on one idea. I mashed a bunch of different interests together.

We will see how this works out long-term, but I thought I'd share the idea because I think it's extremely useful. If you are just like everyone else, you should expect to fall in the middle of the distribution curve.