Building Knowledge Advantage

Photo by Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash

If companies have competitive advantages — things like financial moats, strong market share, etc. — then what do people have?

I would argue that the most important advantage a person can build up is knowledge advantage, that being the amount of skillset a person has across subjects. You can build knowledge advantage either vertically or horizontally. Vertically means building depth in a specific subject, whereas horizontally means building breadth across a wide variety of subjects.

Just like how companies scout out for new valuable product-market combinations, people have to scout for valuable knowledge combinations. The classic example of this is combining engineering and communication skills. Engineers are rarely good communicators, and communicators are rarely good engineers — combining both expands your value in the overall labor market. 

Of course, just like markets, you have to watch out for product market fit. Is your knowledge combination too saturated? Is it too esoteric? Any imperfect combination can lead to your labor value’s growth staying stagnant.

Fortunately for you, it’s a lot easier to pivot a person than a company. Read widely, take new classes, learn from others — and you’ll be well on your way to finding the right knowledge advantage for you. 

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