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The July 5, 2012 Wall Street Journal had a front page article title, “Their Jobs Can’t be Exported.” The gist of the article was that the more personal the service, the less chance it can be exported. If you provide personal intellectual property (IP), like many of my readers and I do, it has to be you (to paraphrase the Frank Sinatra song, “It had to be me”). If you lend money, fix something or custom design a solution, it has to be you.

Let’s carry it one step further, the more customized or unique your product, the less chance your product can be made somewhere else. The same can be said for your employees. The more specialized their skills, the more job security they have. A lot of people can run a machine that cranks out hundreds of the same product day after day. Not nearly as many people can program and run a machine that does short runs.

This is all called competitive advantage. It applies to small businesses, large companies and people. The stronger your competitive advantage, the more value your company or you have.

“If people did not sometimes do silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done.” Ludwig Wittgenstein

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