Derek Sivers

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’s investing advice is “Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.”

So do what others aren’t doing.

If you play an instrument, give it a twist that nobody’s done before. Like Greg Pattillo’s beatbox flute, with over 30 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”, an act 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 bothering people in a 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.