(2016-02-19) Rao Unicorns And Bandwagons

Venkatesh Rao on Unicorns, BandWagons and Networks: For a tiny minority (of people), the question is whether to become part of the unicorn itself. For the vast majority though, especially outside of Silicon Valley, the question is whether to jump on the bandwagon being dragged behind it.

7/ Those enjoying their moment of schadenfreude and preaching the virtues of slow, steady wealth creation are missing a genuine acceleration in economic dynamics.

8/ This acceleration is due to the acceleration in an effect related to the unicorn effect: the bandwagon effect.

10/ A bandwagon effect requires an avenue for broader opt-in participation, without strongly limiting gatekeeping factors like investment capital or employment offers at a unicorn.

12/ Bandwagon effects are in between unicorn effects (which are invite-only and benefit pioneers, investors and early employees) and Network Effects (which are fully open and benefit society at large, often even without opt-in, due to public-good effects)

13/ Bandwagons are often based on an opt-in, skill-gated "ProSumer" behavior vector: a way to participate in production rather than being limited to a consumption role in a market.

18/ Bandwagons are easy to spot. Today we have Virtual Reality, BlockChain (BitCoin), Synthetic Biology and drones (UAV) among others.

28/ If you aren't a bum, chances are you're busy with your own projects at any given time. When a new bandwagon appears you have to decide whether your mix of skills and sunk costs justifies jumping on board.

37/ So in summary, create or join a unicorn if you happen to be in that rare 1% opportunity situation. Keep an eye on all bandwagons that pass by, and try jumping on at least 1 in 10. That's basically career strategy in 2016.


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