Nivi: Let’s look at this next tweet, which I thought was cryptic, and also super interesting, about the kind of job or career that you might have. You said, “The internet has massively broadened the possible space of careers. Most people haven’t figured this out yet.”
Naval: The fundamental property of the internet more than any other single thing is it connects every human to each other human on the planet. You can now reach everyone.
Whether it’s by emailing them personally, whether it’s by broadcasting to them on Twitter, whether it’s by posting something on Facebook that they find, whether it’s by putting up a website they come and access.
It connects everyone to everyone. So, the internet is an inter-networking tool. It connects everybody. That is its superpower. So, you want to use that.
What that helps you figure out is the internet means you can find your audience for your product, or your talent, and skill no matter how far away they are.
For example, Nenad, who is Illacertus, if you look at his videos pre-internet, how would he get the message out there? It would just be … what would he do? He would run around where he lives in his neighborhood showing it to people on a computer, or a screen? Or he would try to get it played at his local movie theater? It was impossible. It only works because he can put it on the internet.
And then how many people in the world are really interested in it? Or even in interested in what we’re talking about are really gonna absorb it, right? It’s gonna be a very small subset of humanity. The key is being able to reach them.
The Internet allows you to scale any niche obsession
So, what the internet does is allows any niche obsession, which could be just the weirdest thing. It could be like people who collect snakes, to like people who like to ride hot air balloons, to people who like to sail around the world by themselves, just one person on a craft, or someone who’s obsessed with miniature cooking. Like, there’s this whole Japanese miniature cooking phenomenon. Or there’s a show about a woman who goes in people’s houses, and tidies it up, right?
So, whatever niche obsession you have, the internet allows you to scale. Now that’s not to say that what you build will be the next Facebook, or reach billions of users, but if you just want to reach 50,000 passionate people like you, there’s an audience out there for you.
So the beauty of this is that we have 7 billion human beings on the planet. The combinatorics of human DNA are incredible. Everyone is completely different. You’ll never meet any two people who are even vaguely similar to each other, that can substitute for each other.
It’s not like you can say, “Well, Nivi, just left my life. So, I can have this other person come in, and he’s just like Nivi. And I get the same feelings, and the same responses, and the same ideas.” No. There are no substitutes for people. People are completely unique.
So, given that each person has different skillsets, different interests, different obsessions. And it’s that diversity that becomes a creative superpower. So, each person can be creatively superb at their own unique thing.
But before that didn’t matter. Because if you were living in a little fishing village in Italy, like your fishing village didn’t necessarily need your completely unique skill, and you had to conform to just the few jobs that were available. But now today you can be completely unique.
You can go out on the internet, and you can find your audience. And you can build a business, and create a product, and build wealth, and make people happy just uniquely expressing yourself through the internet.
The space of careers has been so broadened. E-sports players, you know, people making millions of dollars playing Fortnite. People creating videos, and uploading them. YouTube broadcasters. Bloggers, podcasters. Joe Rogan, I read, true or false, I don’t know, but I read that he’s gonna make about $100 million a year on his podcast. And he’s had 2 billion downloads.
Even PewDiePie… there’s a hilarious tweet that I retweeted the other day. PewDiePie is the number one trusted name in news. This is a kid I think in Sweden, and he’s got three times the distribution of the top cable news networks. Just on his news channel. It’s not even on his entertainment channel.
Escape competition through authenticity
The internet enables any niche interest, as long as you’re the best at it to scale out. And the great news is because every human is different, everyone is the best at something. Being themselves.
Another tweet I had that is worth kind of weaving in, but didn’t go into this tweetstorm, was a very simple one. I like things when I can compress them down because they’re easy to remember, and easy to hook onto. But that one was, “Escape competition through authenticity.”
Basically, when you’re competing with people it’s because you’re copying them. It’s because you’re trying to do the same thing. But every human is different. Don’t copy.
I know we’re mimetic creatures, and René Girard has a whole mimesis theory. But it’s much easier than that. Don’t imitate. Don’t copy. Just do your own thing. No one can compete with you on being you. It’s that simple.
And so the more authentic you are to who you are, and what you love to do, the less competition you’re gonna have. So, you can escape competition through authenticity when you realize that no one can compete with you on being you. And normally that would have been useless advice pre-internet. Post-internet you can turn that into a career.