Where are the quick, easy wins?

by Barry_Cotter2 min read23rd Oct 20216 comments

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The Efficient Markets Hypothesis suggest they shouldn't exist but in its strong form it's wrong. Otherwise there would be far fewer businesspeople who are successful in multiple largely unrelated industries.

Alternatively, those people are special and those opportunities are not available to you. I think this is basically it. Those people are special. They have higher risk tolerance.. They're just willing to work harder than you are. They have expertise that you don't have access to, most of it accumulated by doing the work. So there may be quick wins, and there may be easy wins but there will be few quick, easy wins and they'll rapidly be exhausted as they become publicised.

That may be true over the very long run but the very long run is an extremely long time. People have been moving to the US, working for long enough to save enoug to set up a dry cleaning business, doing so and setting up small local chains and becoming moderately wealthy in the process for longer than I have been alive. The same is true for every single ethnic specialisation chain migration story, Cambidians selling doughnuts, Vietnamese nails and so on. People show up and make a living.

And the wins can be bigger. The computing revolution, and the internet have been growing, providing oppoortunites and pulling more people in for decades. It's almost certainly just getting started. Some people do bootcamps or self-teach and get into computer programming jobs that pay well in under a year from a standing start.

There are things a lot closer to quick easy wins than you'd think. If you can do a Lambda School Backend Course in nine months and if you're in the US and willing to move to teh Bay Area it seems very likely you will find a well paying job.

What other similar opportunities exist?

For years I've been thinking that the economic model of many consultants makes no damned sense. Patio11, aka Patrick McKenzie has been open about charging $30,000 a week as a consultant and was very open abouyt what he did and how. Greg Kogan and Nick Disabato likewise write extensively about what they do and charge lots of money to do it. Nick even sells courses and books on how to do it. Greg writes articles with enough detail about consulting engagements that you could try to make a business just selling your interpretation of that service to businesses.

Where is this wrong? Are there really publicly available, eagerly publicised ways to get rich, or at least to charge people large amounts of money for small amounts of time just lying around?

Yes, and they're really hard. There are no quick, easy, big wins. But if you have the risk tolerance and the willingness to work hard and deal with uncertainty of trying to do something you've never done before there are ways to make money. There are tens of thousands of consultanats out there selling courses in how to do their thing that are more advertising for their services than anything else. That's not because they're frauds, it's because most people can't execute. Most people have better things to be doing. They have other priorities.

Similar opportunities exist everywhere in areas besides making money. Weight lifting materially increases my quality of life out of all proportion to the time I put into it. What are some wins you see out in the world?

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Some people do bootcamps or self-teach and get into computer programming jobs that pay well in under a year from a standing start.

There are things a lot closer to quick easy wins than you'd think. If you can do a Lambda School Backend Course in nine months and if you're in the US and willing to move to teh Bay Area it seems very likely you will find a well paying job.

I think this is much less true than it used to be, as the target market for bootcamps switched from "STEM PhDs who need some polish on their programming skills" to "total newbies". The newbies I saw do bootcamp in the last 5 years all took a very long time to find work, and often only succeeded via programs for groups underrepresented in programming.  I'd recommend bootcamp over a masters degree, but I don't think it's still the free money it's advertised as.

I'm not sure whether this is easy, but Actually Making A Thing might be overlooked by people in this sort of space. Like, take a hobby that you know well, think of a physical object that would be useful to people in that hobby, make designs in fusion 360, prototype them with 3d printing, manufacture a small production run, sell on amazon, see if it works, then scale up and automate production.

Even your example of consultants is bringing value to people's lives through an extraordinarily roundabout way that feels like a bubble. It feels like you're (the generic you) a parasite on those large companies, who are large enough suckers to pay for consultants. Actually Making A Thing is directly useful, and the essence behind capitalism: you saw a market, you thought you could bring a new product, you did it, and you made money.

The consultants aren’t parasites. They offer something extremely valuable, on call, disposable expertise without requiring you to hire another full time employee. If you have a month’s work for someone but that someone needs to actually know what they’re doing right now then paying a large premium can make sense very quickly. Convenience and lack of expectation of continued employment are part of what contractors generally provide.

I see the appeal of actually making a thing but the thing can equally be an info-product like a book or course that also serves as proof of expertise. That serves as a casing card for consulting services too. Margins are better on services and information products than on physical objects.

Crypto yields are currently 20%+ annualized with fairly low risk if you know what you're doing 

If you are in that position surely the economically rational thing to do would be to juice your returns by borrowing to invest more?

I'm currently looking into buying a bank or insurance company to do exactly that.

It's really non-trivial to borrow large amounts at low rates to lend. Way easier said than done.