Unbounded success with limited downside.
Something that takes an hour, but impacts you for life. Unbounded upside, capped downside.
E.g. Typing. It takes around 4 hours to double your typing speed, for free. 4 hours for payoffs the rest of your career. (Better productivity for 90,000 hours.)
(The classic comeback to this: “Voice to text exists”, or “Typing isn’t really that big of a game changer.”)
You’re trading 4 hours for optionality. The typing skills may never come in handy, but your downside has a maximum cap of 4 hours. (Unlimited upside. Any room where a computer exists, you are now in the top 90% of typists. It doesn’t take much.)
Increasing optionality is increasing potential freedom.
What other time trades do you have a limited downside on & potentially massive return? A good book takes years to write, but can be consumed in a matter of hours. Someone already collected all of the experts, condensed their views, and presented them to you in a short format.
Maximum downside of a week/168 hours for a book. (I’ve experienced this downside a lot. But the ‘hit rate’ of quality content within books is higher than any other form of media.)
Upsides of a book that I’ve experienced:
- Conversation starter
- Job interview assistance (quoting from a book seemes to be viewed well.)
- New technique teacher
- New perspective
I'm trying to see this in more areas, so here are some examples:
- Buying $100 in Put options on SPY. Will likely expire worthless, but have a 1000x potential return. This is a hedge against my main portfolio. (Main portfolio tanks = options go up.)
Update in 2022 - This is highlighted for me in Taleb’s
Creation time ≠ Consumption time.
What if I hunt for content that takes the maximum amount of time to create, but minimum amount of time to consume? Probably results in watching rich/well producted Tik-Toks.
Books already used to exist in this medium, 3-5 years to write, potentially 6 months+ from an editor.
The downside of this is that book writers like The School of Life should be prioritized over single-author books in some cases. (Due to more time being invested in the work…1 writer at 365 days, or 3 writers at 200 days. Net days = Higher for a team.) This runs counter to my experience, I find that single author books tend to read the best.