The Unfair Advantage

Oct 2, 2023 · 3 min read ·
171

I've seen founders of all backgrounds try to reach for the stars. Many fail. And most people who succeed take a long time to do so.

Usually with a lot of failures along the way.

Yet, every so often I come across someone who looks at other people's success and claims that there is some external factor that made them succeed in their venture.

They claim that something like having a large salary at a big-name company before going out on their own is what gave them the unfair advantage to succeed over regular folk. Whatever regular folk means.

If you ask me, this is pure nonsense.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that having money isn't good. I'm also not saying that more money is not better than less money.

But what you want isn't a large salary. What you want is a long runway.

What the successful founders all have is an unwavering belief that they will succeed if they just stick with it long enough.

And the most common unfair advantage I've seen is consistently putting in the work, even if they know it's not good1. Showing up. Doing what it takes to hone your skills until the quality of your work becomes undeniable.

Imagine someone putting in the work, day in and day out, over and over for a decade. How far do you think they have come? Where do they work? What's their salary?

Now imagine that same person starting their own business. Is it the job they have that is their unfair advantage?

Or does their unfair advantage come from having dedicated the better part of a decade to becoming so good you just can't ignore them? 2

Just hard work is of course no guarantee. But my experience tells me that the person who is willing to give it their all will beat the person who isn't.

Every. Single. Time.


Footnotes

  1. For more on the topic of deliberately doing work that is not good, see my blog post A Shitty First Draft.

  2. Paraphrasing the great Steve Martin here, who when asked by a journalist if he had any tips on how to get ahead in life replied: "First, be so good they can't ignore you."

Heads up!

After over a decade of building apps, teams and companies, I've now started coaching founders and CTOs through something that I call Nyblom-as-a-Service.

If this is something that would be interesting to you feel free to schedule a free discovery call to see if we are a good match for each other.

© 2023 Viktor Nyblom