The Personal Runway Metric

When I was out speaking at an event tonight, one of the questions posed to us as panellists was what advice we’d give to students who are currently thinking of moving into the crypto/blockchain/startup world.

It reminded me of something I heard Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan say recently. It doesn’t answer the question as such but I do think it is relevant.

Balaji believes that arguably the single most important metric for life is something he calls your personal runway. As you can probably guess if you’ve spent any time in business, your personal runway is defined simply as the size of your savings divided by your burn rate (how fast your spend the money you earn).

Maybe it doesn’t sound that noteworthy. But it is – because it’s far easier today to reduce your burn rate by 5x than it is to increase your salary/net worth by 5x.

Reducing your burn rate is deterministic (i.e. it’s within your power and choice to do it immediately). Really want to reduce the money you spend by a factor of 5? Take that chance – and go move to a different country with a far cheaper standard of living.

So the combination of cryptocurrency and digital technology¬†combined mean that it’s now becoming much easier to continue earning very high sums of money for your work despite basing yourself in a remote location that¬†doesn’t require you to spend as much. The results? You can now do any or all of: save more money; start companies with less funds; and continue to work on the most interesting opportunities out there today.

Of course, human behaviour being as it is, many/most people won’t take that leap. But some will. And they’re the ones that will likely make the most of the opportunities that are out there.

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