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Red Herrings

Red Herrings
By Mustafa Sultan • Issue #32 • View online
This week, how a failure 10 years ago is paying dividends today.

Web Design
At 14, I launched a web design business. Well not really a business — but it had business cards and a website.
Fortunately, it didn’t have much success. I do wonder what would have happened if I’d made some $$$ though 🤑
£500–1000 would have been a nice confidence boost.
£5000? I don’t think I’d be at medical school today.
An alternate universe — making bank as a web designer 😎
An alternate universe — making bank as a web designer 😎
Which made me think of how fortunate I am to have failed at so many things. So many red herrings avoided.
Red herring: an opportunity which seems attractive at the time, but is really a trap/false path. High opportunity cost.
So how can I avoid falling for red herrings?
The Antidote 🧪
Avoiding Quick Pay Offs
Disclaimer: requires an excessive dose of privilege
Anything which pays quickly (like a regular 9–5 job) is less exciting. It’s unlikely to pay dividends in the future.
An Example
Scenario 1 (quick pay off): Working for Apple in 1980 and getting paid £10,000 in cash
Value today: £48,000 (assuming you saved it all with 4% interest).
Scenario 2 (the long game): Working for Apple in 1980 and getting paid £10,000 in stock
Value today: £10M+
Playing the Long Game
Playing the long game means doing a lot of things for free. It means trading short term prizes for bigger prizes down the line. It means planting another seed over picking the fruit.
How do you avoid red herrings?
#034 The Doctor Policymaker — Dr Simon Eccles (Deputy CEO NHS X & CCIO Health and Care)
All the best,
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Mustafa Sultan

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