Naval Ravikant and Entrepreneurship in the Age of Infinite Leverage

Leverage is the ability to multiply the output of your efforts. You achieve more with the same level of effort. Leverage allows you to 10x or more your outcome.

Today I started reading The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson. You can download the e-book file or PDF for free here. Naval thinks about leverage in three classes:

  • Labor – Having other humans work for you. You can get more accomplished if others are working on something than you could by yourself. This is the oldest form of leverage and likely the hardest to use. Managing people isn’t easy.
  • Capital – Having money work for you. You can magnify your decisions with money. Entrepreneurs use capital leverage by borrowing money to help their company grow, while investors borrow money to purchase investments. More on this type of leverage here. This is likely the most dominant form of leverage used to accumulate wealth over the last century.
  • Products with zero cost of marginal replication – Having your product work for you. Duplication of these products costs little or nothing. Think software or media. You write the code once (assuming you don’t update it) or record the video once. Your cost is the same whether one person or one million people buy the software or watch the video. This is the newest form of leverage and has been used by the new billionaires.

Naval also shares why the last of these forms of leverage is so powerful and the most democratic, accessible by all.

Labor and capital leverage require someone else’s permission before you can use them. People must agree to work for you or agree to give you capital. This limits who can take advantage of these forms of leverage. You can have the best business idea, but if people won’t work for you or give you money, the size of the business is capped.

Products with zero cost of marginal replication are permissionless. You can write software, create a video game, write a book, or record a YouTube video and share it anytime. If your product resonates with others, they can buy or consume it without your incurring additional costs. The upside potential of these types of products is hypothetically unlimited.

The book says we now live in an age of limitless leverage where the economic rewards have never been higher.

Naval’s thinking about leverage is simple and thought-provoking, especially for entrepreneurs.

If you're interested in hearing Naval discuss leverage in more detail, you can listen here.

I’m looking forward to finishing this book and sharing my takeaways.

You can listen to audio versions of my blog posts on Apple here and Spotify here.