Be Contrarian or First

Thought:

To make money, you have to be contrarian or first.

Of course there are exceptions, but I like this general rule. To make money you have to believe in something as a contrarian or be the first to think of it.

This can be applied to all sorts of spaces, but I want to think through some examples:

  • Investing: This one is kind of obvious. But in early stage investing, it is really tough to compete over investments. There are big seed funds with all sorts of resources and unique differentiators that are attractive to investors. Throw those deals out — the ones you have to compete for, and assume you lost them (even though this is not true, you can win them). What’s left are the deals that no one else has seen or (more likely) the deals that everyone else has passed up on. To make money, then, you will put money into those two buckets. A lot of times those companies suck, which is why investing is hard, but the outliers will come from those groups.
  • Marketing: To find a good “product-market” fit you have to take a unique approach to “marketing” a product to a space. To do this it is very simple; you have your product — find a channel to deliver to consumers. If you’ve ever tried to do this in the past, then you know of the challenge. So there are a couple of ways to get to consumers: take a unique path that no one has taken before (first). Or take an approach to getting into a popular industry that everyone else had turned down. The contrarian way of doing things is that backdoor that a lot of people don’t look at.

These are two quick examples that come to mind — of course it’s just a thought process that I found interesting and an exercise you may be able to apply in your life :)