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Weekly 3: Making yourself valuable

Summary: Take initiative. Be different. Scale yourself. (~3 min read)

Idea Journal Weekly 3

November 10 · Issue #112 · View online
We combine 3 ideas to help you think differently and be more creative.

Summary: Take initiative. Be different. Scale yourself. (~3 min read)

#1. Not all value is created equal
Author and marketing guru Seth Godin writes on his blog that there are three ways for you to add value, “but one of them is more prized than the others”: 
1. Tasks: these are incoming, and often set up for you. Your effort and skill allow you to tackle tasks one at a time, and then move to the next one.
2. Decisions: these often overlap with tasks. Multiple options are available, and you use your knowledge and judgement to pick the best one.
3. Initiation: this is an act of creation — when you break the pattern, take the leap, and create something new.
As Godin puts it, when we think about people who have made meaningful change happen, and organizations that have made a difference, it begins with initiation.
What value did you create yesterday? And tomorrow?
#2. “Be hard to compete with”
Entrepreneur and investor Sam Altman writes on his blog that most people understand that companies are more valuable if they are hard to compete with.
As Altman puts it, what may be less obvious is that this is also true for individuals: “If what you do can be done by someone else, it eventually will be, and for less money.”
For Altman, the best way to become hard to compete with is to build up your individual leverage. For example, you can do this through relationships, by creating a strong personal brand, or by getting good at the intersection of multiple fields, among other strategies.
Most people do whatever most of the people they hang out with do. But this is usually a mistake: “if you’re doing the same thing everyone else is doing, you will not be hard to compete with.”
#3. Use tools to scale your efforts
Writing on Twitter, entrepreneur and investor Naval Ravikant’s advice for getting rich, without depending on luck, is to “productize yourself.” 
For Ravikant, the first step to productizing yourself is to figure out what you’re uniquely good at: “Become the best in the world at what you do. Keep redefining what you do until this is true.”
Once you know the type of work that suits you, Ravikant recommends applying as much leverage as possible to scale your efforts. 
There are many types of leverage, but to productize yourself as an individual, he suggests using software and media. That’s because they have “no marginal cost of replication" – they can work for you while you sleep. 
As Ravikant points out, an army of robots packed in data centers is freely available, and you should use it. If you can’t code, write blogs and books, or record podcasts and videos.
Quote of the Week
“Everything is valuable under the right conditions. To a man dying of thirst, water be more precious than gold. To a drowning man, water be of little worth and great trouble.”
- Writer Terry Goodkind in his novel Wizard’s First Rule
Idea Journal
Idea Journal
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