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, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

In a sudden veer from all things philosophical into the more tactile topics of entrepreneurism, a few thoughts:

As investors, particularly in natural resource ventures, we want to see opportunities that target a market niche. It’s easier to navigate a start-up when competition’s minimal. Plus, in exclusive markets there’s less pressure on price – margins are wider. And that’s as far as the thinking usually goes.

But maybe there’s an even better reason. Listen to these TED presentations: the first by Dan Gilbert (a psychology professor at Harvard talking about happiness) and the second by Barry Schwartz (a sociology professor at Swarthmore College talking about choice).

Both Gilbert and Schwartz describe how dissatisfaction is the ultimate result of too many alternatives. Using different sets of evidence and approaching the conclusion from different angles, both professors agree to the paradoxical outcome that as options fall, happiness rises. With less to choose from there is less room for expectations and, therefore, less room for disappointment.

If this is true, then those in niche markets not only fight fewer competitors and benefit from a focused market, they should also expect … happiness.

Philosophical after all.

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