Keep Your Future Gazing to the Short Term

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It may be counter-intuitive, but being able to predict long-term trends is not a valuable business-building asset.
Here’s an example.

A friend of mine wants to start a factory in Detroit building desalinization plants. He thinks if he could just get the money to fund it, he would make a fortune. Why? Because the world is running out of potable water, he says.

He may be right about that but it’s not going to happen in the near future. Building a plant in Detroit now is going to do nothing but break him and anyone foolish enough to invest in the project. While waiting for the market to materialize he will gradually exhaust all his capital as well as the patience of his investors.

And here’s the irony. Five or ten years after his business goes under someone else will do the same thing. But then the timing will be right. The business will succeed. My friend will think, “I was right all along.” But he wasn’t right. He was wrong.