September 3rd, 2020
August 2020: Biggest month in Starter Story history in terms of traffic, revenue, new email subscribers, and content published.

Last month, we had over 120k unique visitors (+19% MoM) according to Google Analytics. Our other analytics tool (which is less prone to ad blockers) is reporting 263k visitors.


This growth is directly the result of our intense focus on experimenting, producing, and scaling our content machine. We published 198 new pieces of content in August. We will continue to grow this number by 20% every month.

This is continuing to pay off as we are seeing big growth in traffic from Google search. Here’s a look at Google search impressions over the last 6 months. Yesterday, we had 139k impressions, the biggest day we’ve ever had:


We are constantly testing and experimenting with new forms of content that will drive traffic to the website. For example, our business name ideas experiment is really starting to pay off.

Here are some more types of content we are experimenting with:

  • Business Ideas for [Insert Niche] (we now have over 1.1k business ideas in our database)
  • Startup Costs Pages
  • Business Ideas in [Insert City]
  • ...and many more

Many of these experiments do not pay off though. For example, we have been working hard on our start a business guides, but we’re not seeing much growth. Our goal is to quickly identify winners and double down, while moving on from the losers (easier said than done…)

Once we find something that works, we build processes and automation around it so that we can keep publishing more content in the future. 

We also added a new team member, Anjali, to the content team. We now have 6 people working at Starter Story, crazy!

Revenue: Our revenue (on accrual basis) for August was $12,714, the highest all time, and a 3% increase over last month.

Premium subscription: We grossed $11,432 in August. Unfortunately, that’s about a 20% decline over the previous month. I think this was due to us taking away the “lifetime deals” and that August may be a slower month in general (summer?).

Email list: Our email list is now at 22K+. We added 2.7k net new email subscribers in August (+39% MoM). We converted 2.66% of unique visitors into email subscribers. I’m excited about how much the list is going to grow as we keep increasing the top-line numbers. Still so much room for improvement in that conversion number too.

The new format of the newsletter is working, too. We have seen open rates increase from 17% to 27%, and click rates from 3% to nearly 6%.

Last month we saw our best month in terms of clicks inside emails:


August Numbers

- Monthly revenue (accrual): $12,714 (+3%)
- Traffic: 120k unique users (+19%) (this is a GA number, i think
- Content published: +198 (+70%)
- New email subscribers (net): +2,700 (+39%)
- Email collection rate: 2.66% (-15%)

Plans

(micro)

Just like last month, we will continue to laser focus on content: Experimental content. New content. Scaling content.

Our goals for this month: 

- Publish 240 pieces of content
- Execute content experiment around creating an LLC in [insert state]
- Implement an internal tracking system so we can understand how changes to our content are affecting our ranking in search engines (going to be epic)
- AB test lifetime memberships vs. first-year discount
- Come up with more data points for businesses and business ideas (market size, startup costs, etc)

(macro)

Over the next few months we’ll put our heads down and drive towards our goal of hitting 500k monthly uniques by the end of the year.

This is a very ambitious goal but I do think it’s possible with our current strategy. We have a better grasp than ever on how to grow to Starter Story through content and we’ll continue to iterate on this strategy.

For the next few months, we’ll be less focused on monetization and more focused on growth of the top line. We have a lot of runway and we plan to invest a lot of this back into the business.

Recently I wrote a bit about my vision for Starter Story: the tl;dr is that we are building a media machine that will one day rival Forbes and with technology & data angle like Crunchbase, with an angle on small business. 

Eventually, we will hit 1M monthly users and then 10M/month, just gonna take some hard work and a bit of time :) 

As the world keeps changing and more people go to start their own online business, we’ll be the best resource on the internet to help them with that. Let's do this!

Thanks for reading!


September 2nd, 2020

Two days ago, my dad told me I was a good writer. A few days before that, my mom called me to tell me how much she liked one of my posts.

A girl IRL told me she Googled me, found the blog, read it (oh god), and then told me I was a good writer.

Sometimes my writing gets shared on Twitter. Sometimes, I get emails from readers saying they like the blog and that I’m a good writer.

It feels bizarre when people tell me that I’m a good writer because I don’t identify as a writer at all, let alone a good one…

It is validating to hear this feedback. It’s the main reason I write every day: to become a better writer!

I've only gotten better because of daily practice. There is no magic here. I've written every day for 10 months now. I spend 1-2 hours per day writing. I feel mental anguish before, during, and after I publish. I cringe at my old posts.

BUT I know how much I still suck at writing. I have so much more room for improvement…

I want to write down what I’m excited about for the future. Here it goes:

  • I want to write essays with conviction like Paul Graham
  • I want to write something that gets shared like wildfire, something so good that people read it and immediately share it with all their friends.
  • I want to write stuff that's timeless, stuff that gets shared over and over again, even years after I’ve published it.
  • I want to write stuff that inspires. Stuff that makes people quit their day jobs, follow their dreams and change their lives.
  • I want to write controversial things, where people get really mad at me. I want to get canceled.
  • I want to write about with more honesty and transparency. I want to write about my deepest insecurities.
  • I want to write about philosophy. I want to write about the meaning of life.
  • I want to write about random things. I want to be more funny in my writing. I want to write about really mundane things, Larry David style.

Lastly, I want my writing journey to be different. I don’t have a traditional blog, and I don’t have a newsletter. This daily writing thing is different, and I love that.

I don’t know where all of this will go, but I will keep writing every day, right here.

September 1st, 2020
Prediction: The global pandemic will trigger an existentialist movement.

Over the next couple years, people will more question their existence and the meaning of life. People will think more about their purpose.

In 1 year, existentialism might become trendy. In 3-4 years, it might become mainstream.

I think this will happen because people are no longer going into “the office”.

In some ways, the physical office provided a place for people to validate their purpose. Every day, they commuted into an office to work with a bunch of people who were also validating their purpose. It’s kind of like a cult/religion: "if other people are doing it then it's OK, right?".

Also, Powerpoints and spreadsheets *feel* a bit less important when you don’t dress up in fancy clothing and sit in *important* meetings with *important* people.

But now that’s gone, and people are sitting at home with not much to do. They are, of course, wondering if these PowerPoints and spreadsheets even matter! Existentialism!

The same goes for college, and universities. Many students are deferring enrollment and taking gap years. These kids don’t want to go to school when there’s no physical campus! Maybe college was never about your degree, but so much more about the experience of going to college?

Over the next few years, more people will explore the arts. They will explore philanthropy and politics. They will build their own businesses. They will work less.

I see this in my own friends. They’re talking less about their jobs and their careers. They’re talking about their depression and anxiety and the meaning of life! They’re also talking about wanting to travel, and move to remote locations, and live out of a van.

Although the pandemic is a horrible thing, I think it might give many people what they needed: a reset on life.

We are in the middle and the end is not in sight. We are waiting, which is among most people’s least favorite thing to do, when it means noticing that you have taken up residence in not knowing. (source)

August 31st, 2020
I used to want to be cool and different and interesting and unique.

And I thought I could achieve this through external things, like my career or my material possessions, or what city I lived in, or how much I traveled.

One “unique” thing about me is where I’m from: I’m from a famous small town in Wyoming. Everyone has heard about it.

When I tell people where I’m from, sometimes I feel like this “tricks” people into thinking I’m more interesting than I actually am.

But this is obviously wrong. Sure, it might make me seem more interesting for a few minutes and give us some things to talk about, but once that’s over, I’m no more interesting than the next guy.

Where I’m from doesn’t have anything to do with me as a person. 

My Profile

When you sign up for Facebook, they ask a bunch of questions like:

  • Where are you from?
  • Where do you live?
  • Where did you go to school?
  • What do you do for a living?
  • What religion do you follow?
  • What’s your best photo?

When people visit your profile, it’s displayed in some widget like this:

.

I wonder what our profiles would look like if you stripped away all of these questions and answers. 

Without it, are we still cool and unique and interesting?

I think too many people live their life for these line items on their profiles. 

For example, some people cheat and pay their way to get into Ivy League schools. And some people work jobs because it will “look great on their resume”. Some people doctor their photos. The list goes on.

Instead of where I’m from, what school I went to, etc, I’m trying to answer more of these questions:

  • Am I being a good person?
  • Am I giving more than I’m taking?
  • Am I being a good listener and being genuinely interested in others?
  • Am I being supportive and compassionate and nice to my friends / family / SO?
  • How am I going to help people today / this week / this year?
  • Am I making the world a better place from my work?

^^ I want the answers to these questions to define me as unique and different, rather than my resume or my Twitter account.

These answers are so much more important than looking good.

August 30th, 2020
I put myself out there. I said what was on my mind. For this, I got hurt.

But you know what won’t ever hurt me? The regret of what I didn’t say!

Because I said it all, and that’s all that matters.

The hurt from what you don’t say is dull but lasts a lifetime.

The hurt that comes from what you do say is sharp but is only temporary.

I always regret the things I didn’t do, or didn’t say. Over a lifetime, those hurt 100x more than a quick blow to my ego. 

Just say it!!

August 28th, 2020
A few months ago, I did 20-30 customer interviews for Starter Story. 

I talked to readers to find out what they needed help with.

What I discovered was unexpected. Nobody needed help. They knew all of the steps to starting a business. Most of them had a great business idea and some had even already gotten started.

So what did they need help with? My conclusion: commitment.

I came to this conclusion because I kept hearing these same two questions over and over: 

  1. "How do you know when you have the right idea?” and
  2.  "How do I know when it’s time to go all in?”

What are the classic reasons businesses fail? Run out of money? Cofounder conflict?

I believe the biggest reason a business fails is a lack of founder commitment.

Commitment might be the single most important trait of a successful founder. Why? Because a committed founder will do everything in their ability to succeed. No matter what.

I am by no means a good case study on commitment, but I do remember my commitment to making Starter Story work in the early days.

Let me try to explain what this “felt like” in the early days:

“I am going to make this work. No. Matter. What. Maybe this isn’t the billion dollar idea, but this is something that is WORKING. This is all I can think about. I can’t focus at my day job because I’m thinking about this all day. I’ll wake up at 5am every day to put the work in. This weekend is Labor Day? Great, a full day I get to work on my business.”

This was probably not totally healthy, but it was a necessary evil to get the business off the ground in the first 2 years.

I’m not saying you need to be like this, but this was what commitment meant to me.

If that is commitment, what’s it mean to not be committed? Not being committed is not solving all the problems of your business. Not finding solutions. Not seizing all the opportunities. Not taking action every day. Overthinking. Talking about things you want to do, instead of just doing them.

If you’re not committed, it’s obvious to see. Uncommitted people are Indecisive. If you’re indecisive, it will show in your leadership. People won’t want to work for you. People won’t want to invest in you. People won’t believe you will succeed.

It’s not just in business, but in all aspects of life. It’s the difference of actually making plans with someone versus saying “let’s do something next week”.

Being committed is attractive - you will be like a magnet. A magnet for money. A magnet for people. And a magnet for success.

Internally, living a committed life is also just more fun. You will have more confidence. You will have more conviction. You will be more present.

Don’t be that guy that keeps starting over!  I’ve been that guy.

The life you have right now is the best one. It will not become better by changing the things around you (work, people, location, house). It will ONLY become better by being committed to changing YOURSELF into a better person.

If you commit to yourself first, all the other things will change in your favor without you having to work for it, because you’re a magnet! 

August 27th, 2020
As founders, we all have some sort of vision and questions and goals, but I think it’s important to write it out sometimes. This isn’t formal, just some of the thoughts in my head today.

The goal for the end of the year is to get to 500k users/month.

We have steady revenue streams and a lot of runway, now is time to focus on building channels of growth.

And by growth, I mean, how can more people find the website? How can we find new “sectors” of people that are interested in starting a new business? Maybe it’s people from India? Maybe it’s people that are looking for business ideas? Maybe it’s people stuck in their corporate job?

How can we find more people that are interested in starting their own businesses that don’t even know a resource like ours exists? How can we demonstrate that we have all of this value? How can we get them to come back? How can Starter Story continue to help them throughout their business journey?

I think that SEO is the most important thing we should focus on right now. There is still so much more potential for us here. I think we can grow it 100 to 1000x. The thing is, SEO is something that grows beautifully over time. We are working our asses off today, and seeing some good results, but I have a feeling it will pay off like crazy years down the line.

If we just focus on SEO, I am confident that one day we will reach 10M uniques/month. It will take years, but look at Hubspot and look at Crunchbase.

We have a business model that works right now, and we have dozens of business models we could explore in the future. Courses, more advertising, paid products, etc, all of it built off of the backbone of a massive organic channel.

But for now, what we have is working. Just time to focus on GROWTH.

What’s the goal of Starter Story? Simple. To help founders with their business. Whether they have a business yet or not, we make content and features to enable them. 

What we have done very well so far is our interviews with founders. We did it in a way that was better than nearly all other written interview content on the internet. 

Interviews are maybe 1% of the potential of an online media business. There are many more different kinds of content that we will be exploring over the next few years.

What about people in the idea stage of their business? We will help them find business ideas. What about people that want to come up with a name for their business? We will help them find a name. Looking for a manufacturer for your products? We help you find one. What about people that need legal paperwork and formation stuff? We will help them set up their business.

^^ And that’s just four examples. There are hundreds of more things we can do.

Starter Story will be a big brand name like Forbes. It will also be full-featured and full of data like Crunchbase. We will monetize like The New York Times. 

We will be focused on small, online, work from home businesses. In the next 10 years, these kinds of businesses will explode in popularity. Everyone and their mom will be starting their own business. More people will be fed up and want to leave their corporate jobs. This is only the beginning!

Sometime in the next few years, there will be a “tipping point”, where  this “start your own business fad” will become mainstream and trendy. We will be ready for that and our business will explode.

On the internal side, Starter Story will be this new “hybrid” of a media business that I believe will emerge over the next 20 years. We are not a blog and we are not a community and we are not a newsletter. All of these blogs and course sellers will evaporate. We stand the test of time. 

We build VALUE FOR THE LONG TERM, we are a living breathing thing that evolves with the times. We are a media company not a blog!

So, how to grow to 500k/month users by the end of the year? 

Continue to experiment, build, and scale content. Go harder every month. Outsource aggressively.

It should always feel like we are “doing too much”. That is a good thing. It should feel ridiculous how much content we put out as a team of 4 people. That’s because we are doing things different. We are not a blog!

We should embrace these differences and not follow what other people are saying we should do. We are stretching the limits of what people think is possible as a very small team. One day, we will be a case study of the “new media”.

We must think “big”. How can we publish 100 excellent pieces of content per day? I know that might sound crazy, but it is possible with the right approach, hiring, business model, and with automation.

We need to implement systems and processes that enable this. And more importantly, set really ambitious goals, every month bigger than the last.

We must always focus on the integrity of the Starter Story database. It is and will be our greatest asset. Collect as much data as possible. Our data should be accurate and up to date. It should intertwine and integrate with everything else, because it allows us to build features in the future with ease.

We should never write one-off blog posts because we feel like it. We should never follow the flavor of the week’s content. We write things that last decades and will be constantly updated.

We approach content with scale. Instead of one article, how can it be 100 articles? How can we build systems around it and, for example, interview over 1000 founders that result in 1000 articles? (we already did that)

We should also focus on tweaking existing content. We still have so much to learn about SEO and what works. Don’t always focus on new content and features, how can we can get #1 on Google on our old stuff?

Last week, we had our biggest week in organic traffic, and the week before that was the biggest, and then the week before that was the biggest too. Traffic is going to grow as long as we keep doing what we’re doing.

We are already so far ahead of the game when it comes to other media businesses. We are set up for a big success. When this is all over, we’ll be worth millions.

August 26th, 2020
It's been over 8 months since I had my last drink. Here's another update on not drinking. (some past updates)

The latest challenge has been learning how to be social while not drinking. I've lived in NYC for almost two months now.

I've gone out with friends, dinners, parties, gone on dates, a weekend-long bachelor party, and even went to a wedding, completely sober.

I feel like I've learned a lot and become much better.

This past weekend was that wedding, and I can say with confidence that I had a fantastic time completely sober, and I don't think alcohol would have improved the experience!

I am saying with full honestly that I had a better time NOT drinking.

This is fascinating to me because I did not expect this! I figured that alcohol was essential for the wedding experience.

I also felt great at the wedding. More confident. Less needy. More of enjoying the moment and the people.

I still hit the dance floor, mingled with everyone, and had a great time. Being sober did not inhibit any fun.

Let me contrast this with something that happened two months ago...

I went out with a friend, his girlfriend, and another girl, who was cute. They were all drinking and I wasn't. I was hiding the fact that I wasn't drinking at first (drinking seltzers), and things eventually escalated to taking shots.

When we went to cheers the shots, the girl turned to me and asked why I wasn't drinking. I didn't have a good answer. I had to just say I wasn't drinking that night, and the girl looked at me puzzled, and kept urging me to drink with her. That was hard!

That night, I felt like I couldn't be fun, charming, or funny without alcohol. I was tense and awkward and nervous.

Now it's been a couple of months and I've tackled many different social situations without alcohol. That wouldn't happen anymore, I feel like I've come a long way!

It's funny, I actually feel more confident in social situations now that I'm sober. I'm more open to being social and less reserved than when I was drinking.

As for everything else (non-social stuff), quitting drinking has been amazing. But that's a post for another day.

.

August 25th, 2020
Every morning I walk to the corner store and buy a cup of coffee.

And every morning, the same guy is working there.

Every day, we have the same encounter:

  • I walk in  
  • I ask: can I get a large cup of coffee with Splenda & milk?
  • He pours the coffee and tells me the price
  • I put my credit card in the chip reader and wait impatiently for it to be approved
  • I say thanks and go on with my day

After many visits to the corner store, I realized I was being a robot.

On my 9th visit, I switched it up. I asked him his name.

The biggest smile came across his face, I could see it through his mask. He asked my name, and in that instant, I made a friend.

Every day, I learn a little about him and he learns a little about me. His name is Mohammed. He works every single day of the week, Monday through Sunday. He lives across the water in New Jersey. He takes the PATH to get to work. He is married.

Two years ago, I would have never done this. I would have gotten my cup of coffee and tunnel-visioned back to my laptop, thinking about work, thinking about how to be “efficient” with my time, only thinking about myself. Like a fucking robot.

This reminds me of something that happened last year in Vietnam. I went to the same coworking space every day. There was a girl who worked there and we would chat for a minute every day when I checked in.

Over a month went by, and one day she asked me out of the blue: “Do you even know my name...?”

I didn’t know her name! 

I didn’t feel embarrassed, I just felt pathetic. I was too “busy” and in my own head at that time to even want to know her name…

Asking someone’s name shows you care about them, even in some tiny, minute way.

Besides being a decent human being, asking someone’s name keeps YOU curious, and remaining curious will give you everything you want in life.

Instead of the same coffee routine every morning, my small conversation with Mohammed starts my day off with a little dose of curiosity, which I carry into my next activity or endeavor, and the next. It keeps me on my toes.

Ask their name! Stay curious!!

August 24th, 2020
Apologies if this post comes off braggadocious. It’s just a vibe right now. It comes from a good place. Today is my birthday :)

Over the past few months, I’ve had this really awesome feeling over and over.

I’m not sure how to explain it, but it’s just that life is fucking awesome.

It’s almost a manic feeling, but only the “high” part.

It’s the culmination of so many things. I’ve worked so god-damned hard over the past 12 years to get here. 

I’m blessed to be able to work for myself, on projects that I’m passionate about, people that I love, and be able to set my own schedule.

Financially, I’m in a good place. I understand how to build a business and how to make money. I live in New York City, my favorite place in the world. I have a great circle of friends.

My anxiety has mostly vanished in 2020. Overall, I care less about what people think. I have a lot more confidence.

Most days feel…. nice. The sunny days feel sunnier. Music sounds better. Food tastes better. I’m less judgemental.

I don’t care to tell people about my accomplishments. I don’t flex on social media. I do this shit for myself (for the most part).

The best part is that I can see the rest of my life being like this. I know what I want in life. It’s not money or status, it’s just to be happy and make cool shit and be passionate. To live a fucking full-ass life.

I used to be worried about “losing it all”. But dude!! I have nothing to lose!!!

^^ I think that might be the reason I feel this way.

Take away my money and take away my assets. I’ll be fine. I’ve learned I can be happy with nothing.

I only find happiness in the journey, not in the outcome.

Maybe this is just a moment. Hard times will come. I will become more critical of myself. Everything happens in waves.

But I have to appreciate this moment. 

August 23rd, 2020
The fastest way to transform yourself is to become obsessed with the truth.

Throughout our lives, there are thousands of truths, and it’s our job to uncover them quickly.

The faster we can uncover them, the more we can accomplish. This goes for everything in life: business, relationships, sports, hobbies, skills, and personal happiness.

Imagine two people in different toxic relationships. Person #1 identified the relationship was toxic and ended it after 1 month, and Person #2 stayed in the relationship for 5 years.

Who is better off? Obviously Person #1. Person #1 was able to identify the truth and move on. Then, they had 4 years and 11 months to identify more truths and make more decisions on them. 

After 5 years, Person #1 has discovered hundreds of truths, and Person #2 has discovered 1 truth.

Uncovering the truth is easy, because we all know the truth in the back of our heads. We just need to release it.

How to release it? The easiest way to explore the truth is to be curious and create things that help us release the truth.

I try to do this by writing every day. Writing has gotten me through some really hard business problems - some problems that could have been solved even faster if I wrote about them earlier.

Writing has also allowed me to identify many individual/personal truths, has made me happier overall, and given me a better quality of life, especially through the pandemic.

We hear wise people “speak the truth”, whether it’s from a quote, a TED Talk, or on TV.

Because we hear these people “casually” speaking the truth, it makes us believe that the truth is something we can “think through”. But I think this is wrong. 

All great truths come from the result of years and years of experience, creation, and writing!

August 22nd, 2020
I wrote today, but it's way too private to share.

Going to write something nice tomorrow.

August 21st, 2020
How to get out of the comfort zone?

First thing, get the fuck out of the house.

Then, go to the store or coffee shop, ask the barista their name, and how long they’ve worked there.

Introduce yourself, you just made a new friend.

Then, pick up a new hobby and/or sport - one that you are particularly beginner at. Be the worst person at that thing and experience some embarrassment and humiliation. 

Experience this once and you’ll never give a fuck about learning anything new again.

Start writing. Write every day. Learn to identify what’s in your comfort zone, and what’s not, and write about all of this. Write about your fears and insecurities, and how you’ll come to terms with them.

Fill up your day with activities. Projects. Work. Writing. Reading. Sports. Meeting friends. FaceTime chats. Go to the movies. Make a movie. Learn!

Download dating apps. Ask people on dates. Make new friends. 

Look to your right or left right now, anyone there? Strike up a conversation with that person.

Ask people to do shit. Get rejected, bailed on, flaked on, and left for dead.

Discover that rejection has NOTHING to do with you - but really just people that you used to be like - passive, “fake busy”, and living without intention.

Then think back to all those times when people asked you to do something, and you didn’t do it because you wanted to stay home and binge YouTube. Realize those people are actually you now, living life to the fullest. Make those people your new friends.

Quit your stupid corporate job. Start a business around your passion. Meet more amazing people that are also following their dreams. Meet the people that are running the world.

Discover that these people running the world had the same journey as you. You are one of them now.

August 21st, 2020
Asking for things is the biggest challenge of my life.

Asking for help. Asking a girl out on a date. Asking for a favor. Asking someone for a meeting. Asking someone to make plans with me. Asking for a raise or a promotion. 

Instead of asking, I’ll do the opposite. I’ll work really with the goal of getting people to ask me things.

People ask me for meetings. People ask me for help. And sometimes (rarely), girls ask me out.

This is the mantra of the creator or the do-er. We think that the best results will come from putting our heads down and working hard.

But this is a mental crutch.

  • For every person that asks you for help, you should ask someone else for help.
  • For every guy/girl who asks you on a date, you should ask someone else out.
  • For every easy coding task you do, you must also complete a hard marketing task.

Above are some simple examples of how to exit the comfort zone, which, in my opinion, is 100x more powerful than working hard (it’s still important but I don’t need any improvements here).

If working hard is a cup of coffee, getting out of your comfort zone is 10 hits of meth.

August 20th, 2020
No time to write today. Went out til midnight. 

Tomorrow something good, maybe!

August 19th, 2020
As creators, our obsessions with personal productivity is unhealthy.

I came across this post, going into some serious detail about the pros and cons and nuances of the new trendy productivity software, todo apps, etc.

Who. Fucking. Cares.

Being organized is overrated. Writing down “notes” is overrated. Mental frameworks are overrated. Self-help books are overrated. The Pomodoro technique is overrated. Productivity hacks and gurus are overrated.

All of this crap is a way for us to “feel” productive without actually getting things done.

People use fancy productivity systems because they forgot to set a simple goal.

A simple goal: Launch the thing. Build the feature. Write the blog post. Outsource the thing.

Once you set a goal, you don’t need a “system”. The “system” is your brain. Your brain is a smart and enterprising MF!! That brain of yours is smart enough to prioritize what needs to get done and in what order.

While you’re tweaking your project plan in some trendy todo app, someone else already built and launched your idea.

...with a todo list written on a post-it note.

August 18th, 2020
Before people find their calling in life, I believe there is “the moment”.

It’s romantic to envision this happening as some sort of sudden realization, like right when Peter Parker realizes his superhuman powers.

It’s that moment where you realize you must do this new thing for the rest of your life.

For me, it was when I built my first web app. I realized I could make anything I wanted simply by writing and modifying code on my laptop.

After this realization, nothing was the same. I only wanted more of it. I needed to figure out how I could build my life around it, and make it my career.

For some people, this happens “moment” happens early in life. Some later in life. For some people, it never happens.

People should optimize for the moment.

August 17th, 2020
We look to “wise people” for the answers.

Whether it’s Obama, Kanye, Jesus, or Buddha, we believe that these people can give us some answers.

But this is a shortcut way of thinking.

We cannot solely become better people by reading, studying, and learning from others. We can only become better people through the sum of the experiences of our entire life.

Sure, learning from these people is important, but it’s only a tiny fraction of the experiences that make up our lives.

What is the answer to life? How to be happy? 

^^ There is no answer! It can only be derived from the self, and it cannot be taught or explained!!

In this novel, the protagonist goes on a journey of self-discovery. He meets many different cultures and walks of life. He even meets the Buddha himself.

Everywhere he goes, he comes to a similar conclusion: that nobody can “teach” the meaning of life.

He continues to search. He lives in recluse. He fasts and meditates for years. He meets and lives among “holiest” people in the world. He becomes an entrepreneur. He becomes rich and lives a luxurious lifestyle. He gets addicted to gambling and booze. He has a child.

At the end of his diverse life, we realize that nobody along his journey had the answer to the meaning of life. 

So what is the meaning of life? The search itself.

August 16th, 2020
Piggybacking on my weatherman post from a couple days back.

This morning it was raining, but I didn’t hesitate for a second about my plan. I can still run in the rain!! It’s just water!!

I set out to run 13 miles and did it with ease. I ran my 3rd fastest half marathon of all time (including actual races). Crazy since I'm not even training for anything.

Usually, the rain and wind annoy me while running, but today it felt amazing. It’s all mental.