This Week I Learned #39

“Go to bed smarter than when you woke up”
— Charlie Munger


  • Wealthy: Psychology from Adam Grant's Original. Creating something original is a 2 step process. The first is to start with the unrelated to solve a problem, whether it be unrelated experience or tools. The second is to ground it in something familiar to the existing process. Lion King was rejected by the directors because nobody got it. It was completely different from Cinderella and Snow White, then the darlings of Disney. Executives only got it when it was presented as Hamlet but with lions in Africa. It's like how many companies have to pitch themselves as the "uber of xyz" so people "get it". 


  • Wise: A fascinating interview with Brian Grazer, famed movie producer. This is the second interview of him I listened to and what has been so revealing has been how he continues to focus on his curiosity. He goes into conversations looking to learn something new. One such way with good questions by digging into the initial answer by asking "Can you give me some examples?" His Apollo 13 story is fascinating. Long story short: he thought he won and was ready to get the award to realize it wasn't him who won. I also love how he won't settle for a good director but a great one. You don't settle for good. The difference between a good and great director is 'taste'. That is so subjective and qualitative but that's what it is and taste is formed by the interesting. Those who've had far ranging experiences and constant practice. Link here.


  • Wise: Interview with Nick Thompson, Editor in Chief at Wired. A fascinating journey. He felt the first 6-7 years of his career was a failure. He didn't get anywhere he wanted in journalism and he eventually applied to NYU Law because he didn't know what to do. He figured he'd at least go down the path of getting a high paying job. But he rejected it and gambled on getting a chance to work for WIRED. He didn't want to quit on his dream so early it seems. One could think "Sure it worked for him but there are plenty of others who wouldn't have gotten it." Well, he had to stay at it for 7 years non-stop. No small feat. It's never easy to make the decision less socially accepted. But then again, isn't making a decision you'd rather not regret be considered making it? Link here. 


  • Wealthy: Steve Jurvetson, the venture capitalist and lessons on being 'actually' contrarian. Let's face it, most investors say they're investors but most are not. No one wanted to invest in Hotmail or Skype and Steve found himself to be either the only or one of few investors who believed in it. Hotmail got passed up by 21 VCs because no one got it. It wasn't obvious enough. The lead investors of Google's series A wanted to pull out at cost as well. Apple's largest venture investor sold out at IPO because they didn't want to hold on further. The biggest investment wins are not obvious to all. Even to all venture capitalists for 80% of them will form the average. Link here


  • Wealthy: Steve Jurvetson continued. The interview was a long one. 1) His journey of doing a MBA: What I took from it was how he explored different career fields by speaking to people who all wanted to leave their set fields. 2) What I also enjoyed from his story was the continued focus on being different and how he calls out most VCs as being no different than professionals in any other field. Most are lemmings who follow the next hot thing. Steve speaks about how most of his successes came from deals that no one competed with him for. This reminds me of Thiel's quote that competition and capitalism are antonyms. They truly are if you are being an intelligent investor. That's what makes things cheap and possible for high returns. 3) Steve Jobs on team size: 5 is best +/- 2 people. Link here


  • Wise: “A million seconds is 11 days but a billion seconds is 31 years” - Most 20 year olds are time billionaires. We have more than 2 billion seconds compared to the 85 year old monetary billionaire. 


  • Wise: An overview on the Chinese debt situation with Kyle Bass of Hayman Capital. Kyle's known to be a China bear and his portrayal of the twin deficit was quite revealing of the growing debt levels in the country. Kyle and Raoul believe there is an 80% chance for a global debt recession and it brings to light something to be cautious of. Link here


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