Being the best in the world matters because there’s room at the top for only a few.
Scarcity makes being at the top worth something.
Maybe we don’t shop around too much for bottled water as they’re pretty similar, but photography is a different story. Top photographers at or near the top, charge extra for it.
Where does the scarcity come from?
It comes from the markets and our society set up. It comes from the fact that most photographers and creatives quit long before they’ve created something that makes it to the top, and that’s what Seth Godin calls the Dip. The system depends on it.
Anyone who is going to hire you, buy from you or recommend you is going to wonder if you’re the best choice.
Of course, “best” means “best for them, right now, based on what they believe and what they know.”
So, every time I’m looking for a retoucher, I want the best retoucher who speaks English, gets my aesthetic, has a great portfolio, is available and can find a way to work with me at a price I can afford. That’s my “best in the world.”
If I’ve got knee problems, I want the doctor who is best in Berlin because they’re recommended by friends or google reviews and because they fit my picture of what a great doctor is. And of course they have to have a slot open that’s not in 5 months from now.
So “best in the world” is a pretty flexible term.
The reality is there is no one best photographer or one best kind of car anymore.
Now you have a million micromarkets, and each micromarket still has a best.
If your micromarket is “minimalist scandinavian interior” then that’s your world and your niche and being the best in that world is the place to be. Best is subjective. The consumer gets to decide, not you.
The reason that being the best in the world is worth so much is that few can do it. Scarcity carries a premium. The Dip is the long way between starting and mastery. It’s a very long stretch between beginner’s luck and real accomplishment.
And so it turns out the way you become the best in the world is by quitting the stuff where you can’t be the best and invest in the Dips.
In a world of infinite choice, in a world where the best in the world is worth more every single day, the only chance you’ve got is to find a Dip, stick with it and embrace it. Lean into it.
George Kroustallis // Minorstep