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Timing is the single most valuable skill of the modern economy, but I would argue its’s the least understood and also the least practiced.
Capitalism is fundamentally about timing, since market competition is about finding opportunities before others. When should you start a company? What company should you start? When should a VC invest? When should you join a company? When should you switch industries? When should you back a candidate for public office?
Decisions - Timing - Practice - Employees - Career
Every single one of our professional decisions is about timing, and yet, we do so little to practice and perfect it. Most employees only make 3-4 major career decisions in their lifetimes — hardly enough feedback for this skill to mature. Anyone who has worked in a large company further knows that timing a product launch or a new marketing strategy has more to do with internal politics than reading market forces.
Most of us want to make more money and accelerate our careers, but the truth is that these opportunities are few and far between. Most jobs have limited growth potential. Most startups die. Most VCs don’t make money. Most political candidates fail to get elected. The difference between success and failure sometimes has to do with hard work and tenacity, but far more often with the strategy of timing.
Decisions - Course - Round - Financing - Company
It’s obvious that we can be too late to these decisions of course. We can miss the round of financing, we can start a company a year or two behind someone else and lose the first-mover advantage. But we can also be way too early, ahead of the market and losing out on alternative opportunities that might have been more valuable.
Now, some perceive that “timing” is synonymous with “luck.” There is some truth there, in the sense that life is random and sometimes — completely unintentionally — people stumble...
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