How successful people exploit their opportunities and how we can use ours

On August 13, 2018, Forbes magazine named Kylie Jenner the world’s youngest “self-made” billionaire at just 21, based on the success of her “Kylie Cosmetics” makeup brand. The term “self-made” has been much disputed in his case. Indeed, although Kylie has been able to promote and sell ‘lip kits’ using the massive number of followers she has amassed on social media platforms like Snapchat, it is impossible to attribute her success to this. only.

Specifically, she has had access to many privileges in terms of exposure and relationships gained through the highly successful reality TV show “Keeping Up with The Kardashians” – where she is one of the main characters. She had no trouble raising capital for her start-up considering she was reportedly paid over half a million dollars per episode of the show.

Kylie’s fame, status and existing wealth helped her business take off and become very profitable. The existence of these unfairly advantageous components is the subject of the book written by two investors/entrepreneurs Ash Ali and Hasan Kubba titled “The Unfair Advantage: How You Already Have What It Takes to Succeed”.

The authors define unfair advantage as a “competitive advantage” unique to an individual or a startup and posit that “success in the startup world is not simply attributed to the hardest workers. It is awarded to those who develop and use their unfair advantages.”

In its infancy, the unfair advantages of a start-up depend on those of its founders. This is why during a pitch, investors prefer to interview the founders first. In the book, the authors highlight the different types of unfair advantage to shed light on the success of different start-ups and individuals like Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Evan Spiegel.

Additionally, using the MILES framework, the authors help the reader identify their unfair advantages so that they can leverage them for business success. Everyone has unfair advantages, but not everyone is aware of them or can take advantage of them to succeed in business or in life.

What does MILES mean? Each letter in the box represents a different type of unfair advantage, namely: “money, intelligence and insight, location and luck, education and expertise, and status”, which authors elaborate.

By way of illustration, the young Mark Zuckerberg was able to invest $85,000 in Facebook, his start-up, which gave him the financial leverage necessary to develop his business (unfair advantage: money). He also had the privilege of studying and finding Facebook at Harvard, a prestigious university where he could use the university’s status to make it accessible to Harvard students and later to other Ivy-students. League to develop its network before opening it to the world (status).

On the other hand, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin used their intelligence and industry expertise regarding search engine algorithms to outpace their competitors.

The book has three parts: “Understand”, “Audit” and “The Startup Quick Start Guide” which guides readers to learning about unfair advantages, identifying their own using the MILES framework and their integration into their potential or existing start-up. mount the pitches.

Two concepts highlighted in the book stood out to me as I read it. The first is the role of luck in success. The authors are very clear that hard work is not enough to achieve success (for example, a company spends a lot of resources and money to develop a product for which there is no sustainable demand). That’s why it’s important to work both hard and smart at taking advantage of our unfair advantages.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffet was once quoted as saying he won the “ovarian lottery” by being born in America where he could leverage his genius in the country’s financial markets. The book recommends that readers be more sensitive to opportunities and aim to increase their presence in the world by becoming more visible through social media, blogging, social events, and taking more risks in general. Rightly so, they said, “it’s like rolling a dice until you get a double six on a pair of dice, and you can roll as many times as you want”.

The second notable concept in the book concerns the mindset that reinforces all of the unfair advantages of the MILES framework. Specifically, the authors draw comparisons between growth and a fixed mindset where the former involves believing we can grow our intelligence and work hard to accomplish anything and the latter involves believing we are naturally good for some things and not for others.

Realistically, the authors advocate a “reality-growth hybrid mindset” that involves being aware of our limits while recognizing that these limits are more malleable than we realize.

Although very informative, the content is lacking in some areas. For example, while the unfair advantage framework developed in the book is helpful in understanding the success of different founders and celebrities, I would like them to expand on this point further with more detailed profiles of individuals like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk or even Donald Trump.

Likewise, the last section of the book reads like any other typical business book, except for the part explaining how we can take advantage of our unfair advantages while trying to choose co-founders or raise funds. capital from investors. Honestly, the idea of ​​unfair advantages was interesting enough without relating it to starting or growing our start-ups, but I guess the authors felt like pitching it as a book for entrepreneurs, it was good for deals.

Finally, who is this book for? The authors will tell you that it is for anyone who wants to launch their successful startup or want to take it to the next level. While the tips for finding suitable co-founders and fundraising and submitting proposals are really interesting, I would say that the first two sections of the books should be read by anyone interested in understanding what it takes to be successful; it’s not luck or hard work but a mixture of both.

The book is rated 4.2/5 on Goodreads and I found it insightful enough to keep reading until the end.


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