Building a Personal Monopoly

Building a Personal Monopoly

How to combine competence, curiosity, and character to create a category of one:


1/ Competence

If we want anyone to spend their time, attention, or money on anything of ours, we must first be competent.

Lots of people are competent, so there's lots of competition here.

Let's say this is "school teachers."

Competence, Curiosity, Character


2/ Competence + Curiosity

If we add curiosity to the mix, competition starts to thin.

This separates the generalist practitioners from the irrationally passionate.

Let's say this is "school teachers who are curious about learning innovation"

Competition and Competence


3/ Competence + Curiosity + Character

Now combinatorics put us in a category of one territory.

Let's say this is "school teachers who are curious about learning innovation, building a gamified school inspired by SpaceX's Ad Astra." (Check out Synthesis:

Competence + Curiosity + Character


4/ Making it Tangible

All this is great until it comes to communicating it to the rest of the world.

Which is why bad packaging kills amazing ideas.

Writing, design, marketing — our job here is to lose as little as possible in translation from the intangible to the tangible.

Curiosity, Competence and Character vs Competition


5/ Basic Economics

We can use a very simple idea here, the "content" that makes contact with the market falls somewhere on this spectrum:

Commodity (could've been made by anyone)

Luxury (could only have been made by you)

Making it Tangible


6/ Supply & Demand

If we follow the logic from there, the demand for generic content is weak.

With "luxury" content, you control the market and you increase demand to the extent you can combine your competence, curiosity, and character & communicate them without packet loss.

Packaging your work as a luxury good


7/ How to Build a Personal Monopoly

All of the above is summarized from a 90-minute webinar I did with David Perell.

You can watch it here.

Learning is like climbing an infinite ladder.

We're conditioned to think of a single percentage point as an almost non-consequential gain. In conventional wisdom investing, 1% would be laughed at.

How long it takes to learn something is a better proxy for how valuable something is than how long it takes to do something.

It's comforting to think that hitting a certain target or achieving a definable milestone will bring us lasting comfort.

If you make $10,000 or $1,000,000 and spend 100% of it, the outcome is the same.

An abundance of connectivity means you’re only ever a second away from another opinion.

Expecting to excel in anything without consistent practice is the easiest way to lose.