1/ Some initial thoughts on personal moats:

Like company moats, your personal moat should be a competitive advantage that is not only durable—it should also compound over time.

Characteristics of a personal moat below:

2/ Like a company moat, you want to build career capital while you sleep.

As Andrew Chen noted: https://t.co/GClupyMUO6
3/ You don’t want to build a competitive advantage that is fleeting or that will get commoditized

Things that might get commoditized over time (some longer than others):

4/ Before the arrival of recorded music, what used to be scarce was the actual music itself — required an in-person artist.

After recorded music, the music itself became abundant and what became scarce was curation, distribution, and self space.
5/ Similarly, in careers, what used to be (more) scarce were things like ideas, money, and exclusive relationships.

In the internet economy, what has become scarce are things like specific knowledge, rare & valuable skills, and great reputations.
6/ Some examples of personal moats:

7/ Litmus test: If there is a Quora post with step by step instructions on how to do something, or if a lot of people have done it, then it’s likely not a durable personal moat.

If there’s a playbook for it, then how defensible is it?

(Unless you're the world's best at it.)
8/ Think of the moats described earlier:

How do you invest in 10+ unicorns like @eladgil?

How do you build a mega captive audience like @tferriss?

How do you become an encyclopedia like @tylercowen?

No playbook.
9/ How do you find out what could be your personal moat?

Ask others: What’s something that’s easy for you to do but hard for others?

AND very difficult for people to reverse engineer?
10/ Something that has high barriers to entry (e.g need to do 1 of below):

- Have the right relationships
- Be willing to risk social disapproval
- Get good at something w/ no playbook.
- Pick something that isn’t big now, but it will be in the future

11/ What is some tangible, yet wildly generalized, advice?

A) Discover what you can be great at. Align it w/ what could be important in the future.

B) Get so good they can’t ignore you.

C) Leverage super power to build other assets, but not too soon:

12/ In tech, the cleanest (albeit, hardest) way to build a personal moat is to start a successful company.

There are other ways, but they just take longer.

A future tweet storm will be on how to build career capital without doing so.
13/ All thoughts, questions, and other examples of personal moats are appreciated.

Most Liked Replies

🌈Startup Study Group Founders Investors Together:
Do something no one else has done. @ossia built @freeCodeCamp which trashed hundreds of thousands to code for free. Thousands find their first coding jobs thanks to @ossia’s work. For free.
Maverick Theorist:
Moats by their nature imply a defensible strategy (keep enemies outside) - could humanity thrive if the moat was designed to maximise the size of the group inside (all species inhabiting earth) rather than competing amongst ourselves. One giant community.
Robert Scoble:
A Twitter list is a moat. :-)
Maverick Theorist:
Perhaps the steps are easy to prescribe, but difficult to implement. 😀

How to put an elephant in a fridge in 3 steps:
1) open door
2) put elephant inside fridge
3) close door
(Not endorsing animal cruelty/abuse, just an illustration)
M🍕tto-san in 🇯🇵:
y’all compile plz
Natalie DeVarona:
Great insights here! Also worth recognizing moats we are born with/into such as socio-economic class, appearance, etc. They definitely play into the width (or lack) of your moat. Unfortunately, some uncontrollable and disadvantageous.
Khaled Aly:
and @benthompson
Jonathan Wilson:
I just wrote about this intuitively myself: https://t.co/GXy1zG1DsW
Youn Jung Chung:
Is this an example of passive social capital/knowledge/network? I'm in a network of top Amazon sellers and I think it helps me gain passive social capital/knowledge every time someone in my network wins.
Alexandros Louizos, MD:
Great thread of a posteriori analysis of survivors that we shouldn’t copy because future is unpredictable and the ones who will survive this round will be discussed like they had some moat. They just did what felt like fun rest was luck


1/ Here’s a list of conversational frameworks I’ve picked up that have been helpful.

Please add your own.

2/ The Magic Question: "What would need to be true for you

3/ On evaluating where someone’s head is at regarding a topic they are being wishy-washy about or delaying.

“Gun to the head—what would you decide now?”

“Fast forward 6 months after your sabbatical--how would you decide: what criteria is most important to you?”

4/ Other Q’s re: decisions:

“Putting aside a list of pros/cons, what’s the *one* reason you’re doing this?” “Why is that the most important reason?”

“What’s end-game here?”

“What does success look like in a world where you pick that path?”

5/ When listening, after empathizing, and wanting to help them make their own decisions without imposing your world view:

“What would the best version of yourself do”?

The YouTube algorithm that I helped build in 2011 still recommends the flat earth theory by the *hundreds of millions*. This investigation by @RawStory shows some of the real-life consequences of this badly designed AI.

This spring at SxSW, @SusanWojcicki promised "Wikipedia snippets" on debated videos. But they didn't put them on flat earth videos, and instead @YouTube is promoting merchandising such as "NASA lies - Never Trust a Snake". 2/

A few example of flat earth videos that were promoted by YouTube #today:
https://t.co/TumQiX2tlj 3/

https://t.co/uAORIJ5BYX 4/

https://t.co/yOGZ0pLfHG 5/

Original Tweet