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Make something of value that others want but cannot get easily.

For yourself

Why it matters: The most deterministic way to earn money is to either produce something — product, article, podcast, book, etc. — of value and finesse or to offer your services as a builder (skilled labor) to those someone who want to build.

  • This path is deterministic because with sufficient time, determination, and focus, you can learn hard skills without seeking anyone’s permission.
  • Builders tend to have a tonne of failures. However, they need one big success to make it big.

How to build builders:

  • Before expressing yourself, master the basics first. Builders learn by looking at the work of others: open source, biographies, etc. Having observed, they perfect their practice by doing. Hence, much like an athletes, painters, carpenters, etc. builders keep on practicing their art. Until you get good, subsidize your building by getting a day job.
  • Then you Build an authentic expression of yourself.

How to spot builders?

  • While most purchase university degrees to signal capability, a better way to look for builders is to look at their work in a chronological fashion — they’ll leave behind a trail of explorations.
  • Builders also have a very strong action bias.
  • Finally, in conversations, builders can easily swivel between macro details (why and what) and then deep dive into the nitty-gritty (how).

At the level of a society or company

Why it matters:

  • At the level of an economy, growth is instigated by enough builders and entrepreneurs who exploit an untried technological possibility to manufacture a new commodity or producing an old one in a new way.
  • Strategically, ideas are content or media and don’t amount to much unless one has the will and skill to bring them to life.

The easiest way to get things done is to hire a small group of builders bounder together by a sense of mission.


You are restricted by what you cannot do.


  • Joseph Schumpeter
  • Hackers and Painters
  • The Narrow Road, Felix Dennis
  • Zero to One

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