Charlie Munger’s incredible life and wisdom has been celebrated in the days since he passed. A month ago, I listened to his recent appearance on the Acquired podcast. Among other things, he talked about how new opportunities in the market get saturated faster than ever. The markets have gotten extremely competitive.
Getting things done was never easy. But compared to today, most accomplished people through the 20th century were kinda half-assing it. The most well known statesmen of the 1900s were constantly drunk and on amphetamines.
F1 champion Mika Häkkinen mentioned in an interview how around half of the championship grid in the 90s was “not that serious”. As Häkkinen himself contrasted, you’d have to be crazy to call any 2010s or ‘20s F1 driver “not serious”.
Even the least important member of the worst performing team in F1 works absurdly hard - and got there through brutal selection from other championships.
These examples resonated with my experience, which I’d go as far to call generational. Why are the dynamics this way?
Stakes have gotten higher. In general, people are doing better than ever before. But individual outcomes above basic sustenance are subject to the Power law. I suspect this is a result of forms of leverage, including but not limited to: software, capital and the Internet. Anyone, anywhere, can learn anything, build anything or get unlimited distribution through social - for free.
This is the ultimate reason for endless long tails of GPT wrappers, shitcoin ICOs and B2B SaaS tooling. Everyone, from middle schools to nursing homes, seem to be launching. And why would they not be? Might as well try to catch the lightning in a bucket.
You took Peter Thiel’s advice and you’re trying to escape competition. Good for you! Although, the same aspects of leverage still apply. “Competition is for losers” is about setting goals, not about building blocks. Maybe you found an awesome profession that others don’t know about. Or your company has no competitors. Most likely this won’t be the case for long! The invisible hand of the market will find ways to rock your boat.