4 Best Lessons From "The Unfair Advantage" According To Karan Bodh
The Unfair Advantage
Hasan Kubba and Ash Ali
I read a lot of self-help books and podcasts, most of which tell me the same thing where all I need to do is work hard and meritocracy will get me to where I want, but in reality, what I learnt from the unfair advantage is that everyone has their own unique and unfair advantages, this book really changed the way I think about this.
I didn't realise that part of why my business was successful was the unfair advantage in terms of youth where I could work harder than other people could.
1. Life is unfair
I think we all suspect life is unfair and I used to be angry about this, I didn’t get the opportunities other people did. My family aren’t millionaires and didn’t have a huge network to just get me a job. In the Unfair Advantage, they confirm life is unfair but they changed the way I think about this. Yes, I don’t have the traditional advantages but I have advantages in my own way. If I play the victim, it doesn’t actually help me achieve my goals. If you think like I did, you deep down know that’s true.
Evan Spiegel is the founder of Snapchat, his parents were high-flying corporate people that were connected in the tech world, so when he wanted to start a business it was much easier for him. Part of me was resentful as to why don't I have that, how can I make that fair? I always thought of only privilege as an unfair advantage but there are many more than that. You can let the unfairness of life deter you from trying something bold or you can focus on developing your own unfair advantages.
I learnt a lot about my own mindset from this book and how I can approach different scenarios e.g. I grew up thinking that life is very still and with this fixed mindset that I am good at what I'm good at and I didn't try to challenge that. I soon discovered that I always wanted to do other things but people always pushed against this, I realised through this book that it's the fixed mindset v the reality growth mindset that Hassan and Ash explain. I have adopted a reality growth mindset which means accepting the hard limits of the world and having reasonable goals.
3. The MILES framework
The book outlines the MILES framework, which are contributing factors to your own unfair advantages.
If you come from a wealthy family or have substantial savings or investments, money can be your unfair advantage that helps to build a business. You may have just read that and thought that you need lots of money to start a business, however, I started one of my first businesses with £100 and always had a rule of thinking big but acting small, which allowed me to leverage existing skills to grow the business in a leaner model without unnecessary expenditure.
Yes, money allows you time to develop your business but it is extremely important to have financial stability when starting a business and have your basic needs met, such as food + water, a place to sleep and ensuring your safety.
In the book Ash and Hassan discuss the different types of intelligence and how IQ doesn’t predict how you’ll do in life. However, if you are more intelligent you are more likely to be able to solve problems quicker than most and be able to see potential opportunities more clearly. I have always relied on street smarts and people skills to help me get through life, in fact, we should never underestimate the power of being able to understand people.
Luck + Location
For many years I thought that I was stuck in my area, but that simply wasn't true, I had the option to move out or leverage the internet to find more opportunities. My life changed when I started to take more action by meeting new people from different backgrounds, going to more networking events and surrounding myself with great minds. Luck plays a huge part, it is not enough to be at the right place at the right time, you must also have the right attitude to embrace opportunities that come your way.
Education + Expertise
Ash never went to university, however, this never stopped him from being successful. I learnt that education can give you an unfair advantage, you can develop education by leveraging online material, reading books, finding mentors, building a network and practising the skills you have learnt. However, having access to educational institutions can help you build your knowledge, network and develop your expertise, some prestigious institutions can even help you land opportunities in top workplaces.
I learnt a lot about my own status from this book, and how social standing, age, appearance, gender, how you dress, how you talk and your credibility can be the factors that change my life. Status can be your unfair advantage, for example, Elon Musk sold 20,000 bottles of his $100 perfume with minimal marketing, do you think you could do the same?
4. Start-up QuickStart Guide
If you are thinking about starting a business, this section of the book provides valuable information on how you can growth hack your way to success. I personally learnt about the ability to add value to every person I meet, how to develop my network, find mentors and how to stack my own unfair advantages to help me in the business world.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book as it outlines a great introduction to entrepreneurship and showcases a realistic expectation of how unfair advantages can help you in the real world. I found the real value is the MILES framework that we can all use to identify our own unfair advantages and assess how we can build new unfair advantages. The following chapters have tonnes of valuable advice on start-ups and plenty of growth hacking tips.