I recently finished the book, The Unfair Advantage by Ash Ali and Hassan Kubba. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Ash and Hassan really did a great job at highlighting that the world of entrepreneurship is really not that different from regular everyday living. People have advantages in certain aspects of life which other people don’t have. I’m going to share some of my favorites takeaways and interesting thoughts from this book. It’s definitely a book that I would recommend to everyone aspiring to be an entrepreneur to read.
Unfair Advantages are Unique
Ash and Hassan make it abundantly clear throughout the book that Unfair Advantages are unique. Everyone has different unfair advantages based on numerous factors both within and out of their control.
Here’s an example that was used within the book which I thought was a brilliant way to communicate unfair advantages to anyone.
Basketball trialists are at an advantage if they are tall (in basketball terms anything over 6 feet 6 inches). To any basketball coach or scout that is already an unfair advantage that certain trialists have even before they’ve bounced the ball. Their expectations for that player have already been elevated over shorter players. The shorter players, therefore, have more work to do to impress than taller ones.
Where the fixed mindset encages people to believe that all that they have is all that they will ever have. Their intelligence, talents, and other traits are merely fixed attributes and just that.
Whereas people with a growth mindset believe that their traits and attributes can be developed through hard work, perseverance, good strategies, and the correct habits to grow those attributes.
Ash and Hassan suggest a middle ground between these two mindsets where you can maintain a balance of self-awareness and self-belief. they call the Reality Growth Mindset. They describe this reality growth mindset as “Having your feet on the ground with your head in the clouds.” Where you are the master of your future.
They also outlined the key characteristics for a Reality Growth Mindset
- Constant Growth and Learning
- Grit and Perseverance
The MILES Framework
Life is not a level playing field. So why should we always believe that things need to be fair in different aspects of the business as well and why aren’t we using our own unfair advantages to get ahead? The MILES Framework is a categorization of the different types of unfair advantages and how you can make use of them.
Of all the unfair advantages explained in this book, I believe this one needs the least explanation. It takes money to make money. If you’re born into a wealthy family, maybe have a lot of money in a savings account, or invested to be able to put into a start-up company then the money is your unfair advantage.
That money can help you manage your business, extend your business runway time(how much time you have before your money runs out based on your spending).
Others will have to raise funds to be able to build up capital.
Intelligence and Insight
There are different types of intelligence. Book smarts, street smarts, and creative smarts. High levels of intelligence are also unfair advantages. To be able to understand and apply concepts and ideas quicker than others and to be able to see the potential future implications and possible hiccups along the way and take advantage of the environment and circumstances are indications of a highly intelligent person.
When starting a business it’s good to have some initial insight into the area of business you are going into. The more insight you have into your business area, the more equipped you are to be successful in that area of business. Insight into a specific field can also be an unfair advantage. Knowing and experiencing the first-hand pain points from multiple users within a target audience can allow someone to have a unique insight into the problem in which they are trying to solve or even a product they are trying to improve.
Insight provides you with hands-on experience with the problem that you are trying to solve. The more time you spend learning about the problem directly, the closer you get to understanding the problem, and intelligence helps you find a solution that people will be willing to part with their money for.
Location and Luck
The location of entrepreneurs can also be an unfair advantage. If you are located close to your target audience, that helps. If you are located close to people who have the expertise to be able to help you and with a bit of luck maybe they will be willing to lend a hand. There is a reason businesses cluster in one location and it’s for the same reason that entrepreneurs can expand their network because of proximity to other entrepreneurs and thought leaders.
By placing yourself in the forefront of your customers, other entrepreneurs, the media, suppliers, and more people within the ecosystem the more luck you create for yourself.
Education and Expertise
Having access to formal education also gives you many opportunities to expand your network and not just have the formal merit of a Bachelor’s Degree.
Formal education can be seen as a privilege in the work world. It is an unfair advantage that someone can have over others.
However, formal education does not only give you knowledge and networking opportunities. It also gives access to experts, which are people who have been doing the job for a while and know how to do it well.
The world more often rewards outward signs of merit than merit itself. Status is your perceived ability to add value. I’m sure that statement alone gives you a good idea of how status can be an unfair advantage. This could be educational status, network status, or even cultural status. People tend to go where they believe the value is. In this generation, people with 100k followers on Instagram are sometimes deemed as more valuable than people with less than 10k followers. The environment that you are in has a major impact on what you consider normal and your ability to imagine what’s possible.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Unfair Advantage. The book does talk about other start-up factors almost like a start-up guide but the real value for me was in the MILES Framework. Money, Intelligence & Insight, Location & Luck, Education & Expertise & Status. I’ve found this book at a time where I was also trying to figure out and tap into my own unfair advantages and straight away I think I was able to identify the ones that I can use to help me in my journey.
Here’s a link to the book if anyone wants to check it out. Also, I’ll include another summary of the book by Ali Abdaal who was my first contact with the book and intrigued me enough to read it.
The Unfair Advantage by Ash Ali & Hassan Kubba:
What Makes People Successful? by Ali Abdaal