Housel on Competitive Advantage

Morgan Housel recently joined Collaborative Fund, a New York-based venture capital firm established in2010. In a blog posted earlier this month, he shares his insights on the importance of competitive advantage in business and offers five characteristics to ensure its sustainability:

  • The ability to learn faster than your competition: “The world is filled with smart people,” writes Housel, who “tend to cling to what they learn, even while the world around them constantly changes.” He argues that “the ability to realize when you’re wrong” and adapt to a changing environment is crucial to stay competitive in a dynamic business environment.
  • The ability to empathize with customers more than your competition: Housel asserts that the “inability to understand how your customers experience your product” can erode competitive advantage by overlooking customer’s needs.
  • The ability to communicate more effectively than your competition: “Business success,” writes Housel, “doesn’t necessarily go to those with the best product. It goes to whoever is the most persuasive.” He emphasizes the importance of a culture that encourages new ideas even if they fail by quoting Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: “If you double the number of experiments you do per year, you’re going to double your inventiveness.”
  • The willingness to wait longer than your competition: Housel believes that business success is rooted in patience and that “waiting longer gives you time to learn from, and correct, early mistakes. It reduces randomness and pushes you closer to measurable outcomes.”