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A ratchet with leverage | Seth’s Blog

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That’s something worth building.

Electricity is a ratchet with leverage. Once communities have access to a little electricity, a solar lantern, say, they quickly discover that they want/need more electricity. The productivity increases create more income which gives them more money to buy more electricity. The leverage that this productivity and income give them (combined with the actual power at their disposal) creates a one-way route toward the future.

The same thinking applies to a personal career.

The first speech you’ll give will be difficult. The tenth one will be easier. Each speech, well-delivered, creates more demand for more speeches. Each speech given gives you more leverage to give better speeches. Better speeches create more demand…

This is the opposite of shoplifting. Shoplifting isn’t a ratchet. The system actually pushes back harder and harder the more you do it. And it has no leverage.

Some businesses work at scale because they’re ratchets (they cause motion in one direction) and they’re able to reinvest from that ratchet to create more leverage. Amazon is certainly the most shining example of this simple process.

But it can also work for the local university. A little learning creates demand for more learning. Useful degrees as a label for effort offer leverage to those that receive them, and the demand for more learning and more leverage gives the university resources to expand and do it even more.

When in doubt, look for the ratchet and look for leverage.

PS A new episode of my podcast Akimbo is out this week. I think it’s an episode worth checking out.



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