Unfair Advantage and Founder Focus

It's a common phrase in the startup world - people want to win and are looking for an "unfair advantage". This  term isn't stringently defined but tends to characterize something that makes a company or individual uniquely positioned to win. What I want to touch on here is how to use this concept to find better focus as a founder.

We know that commonly, founders have:

- An appetite for curiosity

- A desire to learn new things

- An interest in project building

- An instinct for problem-solving

- A tolerance (really, excitement) for the unknown

All of these (great) characteristics mean that some of us have a hard time focusing on one idea, or committing to one idea. How can we use the concept of unfair advantage to help us focus?

Let's break it down:

The Universality Principle: The critical question to ask yourself is "can anyone else in the world, armed with base-level knowledge, solve this problem?"

If the answer is 'yes,' take a step back and reassess if this is something you should spend your time

If the answer is no... usually because it requires domain-specific knowledge that you have AND not many others do, maybe it's a better candidate for something to spend your time on. Not only will you have a higher probability of success (because you have the unfair advantage, after all!), but it's more likely to sustain your interest because you know the ins and outs, care about the problem, and are motivated to see it solved.

The qualities listed above can be superpowers for founders, but it's also important to focus so that you can see things through to the end. Identifying if you have an unfair advantage in a given space can help you decide where to spend your energy.