Visionary Domain Expertise Published Sun Jan 04 15:00:00 SAST 2015
In 1817, David Ricardo developed the classical theory of comparative advantage to explain why countries engage in international trade despite producing all traded goods more efficiently than other countries. The same principle applies to individual skills - specifically, skills which confer a comparative advantage by leveraging aptitude.
The best Formula 1 racing drivers have innately fast reaction times; when combined with thousands of hours of deliberate practice, their amplified advantage yields consistent wins. Hence, talent amplifies skill.
The trick is choosing skills which can leverage aptitude to maximise your comparative advantage. For a strong maths major this might be learning to code, or for a hardy entrepreneur, mastering public speaking. This type of deliberate skill development feels like a form of value investing because well-aimed domain expertise telescopically extends prescient vision,
“One guaranteed way...to have good startup ideas is to...be on the leading edge of some technology...or as Paul Buchheit put it, to "live in the future." When you reach that point, ideas that will seem to other people uncannily prescient will seem obvious to you. You may not realize they're startup ideas, but you'll know they're something that ought to exist.” — Paul Graham, Before The Startup.
If true, the combined premise of prescient domain expertise and comparative skill advantage suggests a powerful recipe: by becoming a domain expert in a field that amplifies your aptitude, you can invent the future.