A company can use time horizons as a competitive advantage by being willing to wait longer for returns on investment than competitors. The set of ideas possible with a longer time horizon is inclusive of the set of ideas in shorter time horizon, but also includes more ideas that are not available in the shorter. Assuming some of those ideas are fruitful, there is a fundamental advantage to having a longer time horizon than the competition.
This is an argument for keeping companies private for longer so they don’t need to operate in lockstep with the market’s quarterly earnings reports.
- Heirlooms foster long term thinking. While written about shared resources, this also applies to hypothetical companies aiming to operate for a long time.
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Stone fish traps in use over the last 40,000 years located in the Barwon River that some believe are the earliest human construction in the world. It’s an example of a man made system that has endured for thousands of years and is still in use today—a model for how one might approach building new systems.