This Week I Learned #50

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


  • Vinod Khosla's Interview with Sam Altman. Given Khosla's reputation for radical candor in his speeches, I've been a big fan of what he has to say. In this particular interview he speaks volumes about how the team you build is the company you build. 1) He advises founders to be very generous with their equity early on and only think about having 15% for himself and think about using the rest to recruit the best talent. If they truly are the best talent then they will be walking away from great jobs or even the opportunity for them to start their own companies. Hence, being stingy with equity is just a losers game. 2) Investors are employees you can't fire and Khosla believes 70% of VCs are net negative and pull value away by giving bad advice. 3) Most investors have no "right" and "qualification" to be advising founders. Especially if they've never truly experienced the gut-wrenching pain of building anything. What does a management consultant MBA know anything about the kind of risk a founder has to take and the journey she is going on? Nothing. Though I believe investing in startups is different from founding them, I think the importance of needing founder-investors is their ability empathize, think long-term and just get out of the fucking way and not ask short-term questions for a 5-year exit.


  • Tim Ferriss podcast on building a network. Great tidbits to consider as I think about building on the relationships I've created and the many more I hope to create as well. I hate the "What do you do?" question so have been using "How do you spend your time?" but a new one I learned about is "What excites you?" and "Where are you from?". Both are very simple questions but it can bring the focus to what matters to the person. It focuses on the decisions they've made in their life and can lead to a proper discussion about who they are rather than vanity facts. Also, patience. That's a tough one for me but one I needed to hear. Take it slow when building relationships. Especially if you hope to build meaningful ones.


  • "Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune's control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately." - Seneca


  • List of guided meditations by Tara Brach, author of radical acceptance and Buddhist psychologist. Some great options here that can be downloaded in podcast form to help you get started. The main differentiators are the time duration.


  • Podcast Interview with Kevin Rose and Trey Ratcliff. Trey is an established photographer who has amassed millions in social following. He has recently teamed up with Kevin Kelly of Wired to blow up the influencer media market. 1) One experiment he ran was on buying followers and reaching out to brands for free products, luxury trips and money with that account. He made an account for his handsome assistant and with a few 100 dollars they bought 100K followers quickly. 2) Instagram influencers have a practice called "Podding". They create "pods" on whatsapp where it's a group chat of 20 or so of these influencers and they promise to comment, like etc.. on every new post made by each member. There are specific rules of pods like word count, the requirement to repost or like within 5-10mins etc.. If you don't follow the rules of "give and take" then you are off the pod. Google results will reveal 100s of these pods and many are actual facebook groups that now range to 1000s of members. With the growth of members, people end up being on their phone for 10hrs+ per day to stay in the pod. Though unethical (i.e. scripted and manufactured content), this has become a requirement to get your business afloat on social channels. Trey has been working with IG's security team to fight this but there was response was to just delete a number of those groups on Facebook. Fascinating though how the currency of followers and likes have become so tainted but with an expected $10Bn to be spent in influencer marketing in the coming years people are riding this train.


  • "Making plans for the future is only useful for people who know how to live in the present" - Alan Watts


  • Buffet and Munger sharing wisdom on investing. The principles of investing are quite simple if you were to consider opportunity cost. Aesop said "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bushes". This is only true once one considers the opportunity cost of time and interest rates. If you knew you'd get two birds in five years that would be a 14% compounded rate, then one need only consider the interest rate or other opportunity he'd forgo if he made such an investment.