Derek Sivers

Entrepreneur, programmer, avid student of life. I make useful things, and share what I learn.

Doing the opposite of everyone is valuable.

Supply and demand: the more people do something, the less valuable it is.

Everyone else is multi-tasking. Learn to single-task.

Everyone else is hyper-connected. Learn to turn off your computer.

Warren Buffett says one simple rule dictates his stock buying: “Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.

One way to be outstanding and valuable is to do what others aren't doing, or what most can't.

In the U.S., the average translator salary for Spanish is $24,500, and for Arabic is $41,700.

If you play an instrument, give it a twist that nobody's done before. Like Greg Pattillo's beatbox flute, with over 20 million YouTube views, who the New York Times called “the only person in the world who does what he does”.

When I made a living playing colleges, I had three different acts: a rock band, a solo acoustic act, and The Professional Pests, where I'd run around in a black lycra bag, bothering people. The Professional Pests out-booked the other acts by 5-to-1, because there are tons of rock bands, tons of solo acoustic acts, but only one place to hire a guy running around in a black lycra bag.

Look around at what your competitors are doing. Can you do something radically opposite? If they're trying to be all-inclusive, can you be exclusive?

Doing the opposite of everyone is valuable.

pugsquirrel

I would quote the famous poem (“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by”), but closer analysis of it says it was really mildly teasing his indecisive friend.