#6: You want a business to be like New Zealand

That is quietly successful, food and energy independent, and away from nuclear war.

Sometimes it's quite hard for me to find a fresh piece of business advice.

Most of them are insightful, yet somehow don't resonate enough as one can get the feeling they are all spin-offs of a few fundamental concepts. 

One of my best 2020 discoveries is "My First Million" podcast. Don't be fooled by the sort of a cheesy name. This is pure gold.

In the recent episode, Sam Parr and Shaan Puri asked Andrew Wilkinson, investor, and co-founder of Tiny Capital, about his favorite portfolio company.

Andrew picked Dribbble, the largest online community for designers, and provided a wonderful explanation using New Zealand analogy

You want a business to be like New Zealand

New Zealand is in the middle of f****ng nowhere

Nobody is paying any attention to it

It's quietly successful

It's totally food and energy independent

It's away from nuclear war

So I think of a business that there's no intermediary, there is no gateway and you have a fully self-sufficient society.

Even though these rules can apply to all kinds of businesses, let's unpack how New Zealand's traits can translate to internet companies.

Being in the middle of nowhere maps to taking advantage of arbitrage. You can run a successful internet business from a location where operation costs are 1/4 of Silicon Valley.

Nobody is paying any attention to it - In fact, you want attention, but only of those who are interested. Building for a niche enables you to avoid the spotlight, thus escape competition.

There are tons of great, profitable internet companies that haven't had to be featured in TechCrunch or raise millions from VC to be successful (quietly). And I love it. 

Being food and energy independent is the most interesting point. It all comes down to two fundamental aspects - distribution and community.

A New Zealand-ish company shouldn't rely on growth hacks, paid ads, SEO tricks. Most Dribbble users type it right into the URL bar, there's no google risk, there's no facebook risk, people come there organically. You have to own your audience instead of sourcing it from other social networks.
That's also what makes newsletters powerful.

What is a nuclear war in this context? To me, it's high volatility, global market shift, and black swans. I don't think there's any silver bullet to protect from such events. However, building a company in the right market, that cannot shrink or disappear within a few months, puts you far enough from most *nuclear wars*.

Thanks for reading!

References

My First Million podcast

#63 with Andrew Wilkinson - Buying cash-flowing internet companies, starting job boards and building no code projects


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