Philip Morgan

One of the things I ask people who are interested in establishing a strong market position is: have you invented anything?I use the term "invent" broadly. I don't mean you need to have patents or built this...Instead, I mean have you:

  1. Custom-built something valuable (a re-usable tool or process, perhaps)?
  2. Developed a unique approach to solving a particular problem?

If so, that's an invention. The right kind of invention can be used to develop a good market position.On the subject of inventions, I think you might find this article interesting: summarizes and opines on the results of a recent study about the effect of race, privilege, and geography on inventions. It focuses on patented inventions, which means that it misses a large swath of things that are innovative but not patented. Even so, it's a really interesting study.One of the big eyebrow-raisers for me was the correlation between geography and the type of inventions that people hold patents on. Here's a quote from the article that summarizes this pretty well:_"People who grow up in a metro area with a lot of patents in one category are especially likely to become adults who have patents in that exact same category, indicating that there is something about childhood exposure in particular that is influencing life outcomes."_Reminds me of the quote "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree".This study also troubles me a bit, because my business is based on the idea that the apple can fall as far from the tree as you're willing to push it, the "tree" being the powerless, generalist starting point most of us begin our self-employment career with and the "apple" of course being you.In other words, the idea that you can change things in your business as much as you'd like, especially if you work at it steadily over time.I don't think this study contradicts my belief that you and I can change for the better, but it reminds me that the past has the power of momentum behind it, and if un-opposed, this momentum keeps us doing the same things and getting largely the same results.If you're not happy with the results of operating as a generalist, consider an alternative: Know a self-employed software developer who might benefit from specialization? Send 'em this free gift! Details here --> /referrals/