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It’s hard to disrupt the industry that pays your bills. People are taught a way of doing things, and companies pride themselves on their systems and processes, all codified in lengthy and monolithic manuals. “Reputation” and “experience” allow certain businesses to charge insanely high fees or prices, even if their services or products are subpar and don’t fully satisfy their customers' needs.

I’m a Latinx immigrant who has called the United States home for more than 20 years. Even as a naturalized American citizen, being an immigrant will forever render me an outsider. But that has also been my greatest advantage.

I entered the art world only 12 years ago as an interloper. When I opened my art advisory and consulting company, I had been practicing law in a big New York firm for several years. I was miserable doing something I never enjoyed, and in 2009, after plotting an exit for a few months, I left to open my own business with no formal education, background or experience in the arts. Being outside of the industry's inner circle ended up propelling me to success, and here are three advantages I've found along the way:


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You become a blank canvas for new ideas

Being out there with a distinct outlook from those who accepted “the way things were” helped me enter the art scene with a certain naivete and zero preconceptions. This blank canvas allowed me to differentiate myself and my business in an industry known for chaining itself to old ideas.



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You find opportunity where others don‘t

I decided to go with my gut and was informed by passion. As a lawyer, I had started collecting emerging artists, visiting galleries and attending art fairs in my very limited spare time. Meanwhile, my novice eyes noticed how opaque and impenetrable the art world could be. Other advisors seemed to...


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You continue to explore

Insiders are usually hard-wired for self-preservation — once they reach a certain level, long periods of smooth sailing can lead to complacency. Coming up with ideas that disrupt requires unlearning “how things are done.” Even if you aren’t an immigrant or an outsider to your industry, there are ...


5 reads

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