38 Weeks to Get Rich
What follows is my summary & key takeaways to help you digest the 127 page document.
Week 22: Product and Media are New Leverage
Product and media are the leverage of new wealth. Create software and media that work for you while you sleep.
Product and media are the new leverage
The most interesting and the most important form of leverage is this idea of products that have no marginal cost of replication. This is the new form of leverage.
This was only invented in the last few hundred years. It got started with the printing press. It accelerated with broadcast media, and now it’s really blown up with the Internet and with coding.
Now, you can multiply your efforts without having to involve other humans and without needing money from other people.
A podcast is a form of leverage. Long ago, you would have had to sit in a lecture hall and lecture an audience personally. You would have maybe reached a few hundred people.
Then 30 years ago, you would have to be lucky to get on TV, which is somebody else’s leverage. They would taken the economics out of it or charged me for it. They would have muddled the message, and I would have been lucky to get that form of leverage.
Today, thanks to the Internet, you can buy a cheap microphone, hook it up to a laptop or an iPad, and find an unlimited audience.
Product leverage is where the new fortunes are made.
Warren Buffets of the world.
But the new generation’s fortunes are all made through code or media. Joe Rogan making 50 to a 100 million bucks a year from his podcast. You’ve got PewDiePie. He’s bigger than the news. The Fortnite players and twitch streamers. Of course Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. That is all code-based leverage.
Combining all three forms of leverage is a magic combination.
Now, the beauty is when you combine all of these three. That’s where tech startups really excel, where you take just the minimum, but highest output labor that you can get, which are engineers, and designers, product developers. Then you add in capital. You use that for marketing, advertising, scaling. You add in lots of code and media and podcasts and content to get it all out there.
That is a magic combination, and that’s why you see technology startups explode out of nowhere, use massive leverage and just make huge outsize returns.
Product and media leverage are permissionless.
Probably the most interesting thing to keep in mind about the new forms of leverage is they are permissionless. They don’t require somebody else’s permission for you to use them or succeed.
For labor leverage, somebody has to decide to work for you.
For capital leverage, somebody has to lend you money.
Coding, writing books, recording podcasts, tweeting, posting videos, these kinds of things, these are permissionless. You don’t need anyone’s permission to do them, and that’s why they are very egalitarian. They’re great equalizers of leverage.
The robot army is already here—code lets you tell them what to do.
We have this idea that in the future there’s going to be these robots and they’re going to be doing everything. That may be true, but I would say that the majority of the robot revolution has already happened.
The robots are already here and there are way more robots than there are humans, it’s just that we pack them in data centers for heat and efficiency reasons. We put them in servers. They’re inside the computers. All the circuits, it’s robot minds inside that’s doing all the work.
Every great software developer, for example, now has an army of robots working for him at nighttime, while he or she sleeps, after they’ve written the code and it’s just cranking away.
Robots are doing web searches for you. They’re cleaning up your video and audio and transmitting it around the world. They’re answering many customer service queries, things that you would have had to call a human for.
An army of robots is already here. It’s very cheaply available. The bottleneck is just figuring out intelligent and interesting things to do to them.
Tune in next week as we talk about product leverage.