Dev Rangarajan
    Capital Allocation
    The Most Important Skill You Can Have

    No matter who you are, you have a finite amount of capital, and more importantly, a finite amount of time. There is no time management strategy that gives you more time in the day. According to thinkers like Ekhart Tolle, time doesn’t even matter. So why is it that some people are getting more or less done? The answer, unsurprisingly, is that they allocate their resources better (or maybe they just have so many resources that people don’t notice their poor allocation.)

    I watched an interview with Chamath Palihapitiya where he was talking about how the measure of a good CEO is how they allocate the capital within their company, and he’s exactly right. Management of resources may be the single most important skill to build.

    Most people have several kinds of resources: Financial - These are pretty obvious, free cash, liquid assets, contracts, etc. Social - Friends, Family, Colleagues, Network, People who value what you think Emotional - Everyone has pretty much the same set of emotions and responses, you can decide where your emotional resources are used, and make them work for you Human - If you have people working for you, or control over what they work on then your skills as a capital allocator are vital. Even now we’re seeing all the problems that poor capital allocation can cause (from stock buybacks to bailing out the wrong things)

    Learning how to allocate your resources is essential to doing great things.

    Here are some current strategies I’m trying in order to improve this skill:

    Auditing where my capital goes if I do nothing. What are the things I will do without any sort of structure, and what are the things I’ll skip doing? Where will I spend money if I don’t think about where? What are the things I like delegating, and how do I get feedback?

    After starting to understand the current state, you need to learn how the system works. The best way to do this is experimentation. What happens if you decide to spend more time doing deep-work, what happens if you give yourself permission to do “unproductive” things like watching Netflix? What happens if you wake up at 6am every day for a week? What happens if you tie certain events together (turning your phone off until you walk into the gym, meditating before you drink your first coffee)?

    I think these answers will be different for everyone, but they start to show you something about how changing your personal capital allocation can change what your life feels like. Once you see a 2nd or 3rd order consequence, it’s easier to see how it arises than to predict the outcome. “Hindsight is 20-20” is an expression that’s usually used to disqualify judgement after the fact, but it also tells us that we’re better at reflection than future projection.

    © 2021, Dev Rangarajan | Rights reserved
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