This article is aimed at startup entrepreneurs / wannabes / employees, but the points extrapolate to anyone trying to do meaningful work.
When I was graduating ~4 years ago, I was the only student in my university to go straight into building a startup.
Everyone else was finance, law, consulting, etc. 😴
But now…everybody has their own sh*tty little startup.
Running a startup is “cool”.
Running two startups is even cooler.
And if you want to be really cool, stick one of them on stealth mode 😉
(Wouldn’t want someone stealing your unoriginal idea!)
All these sh*tty…
Gandhi is good. Sadam Hussein is bad.
But didn’t Gandhi run an Epstein-esque ring of naked child masseuses?
And didn’t Hussein promote free education for Iraqi women?
So perhaps some of Gandhi’s actions were good, and some were bad. And the same for Hus.
But what’s good and bad?
Child marriage is still the norm in Nepal.
Selling your underage daughter to a wealthier family is inhuman to us, but to many Nepalese, it’s a smart way to reduce family food shortages and gift your daughter a brighter future.
Perhaps we’re right and they’re wrong. …
I run a social enterprise called UniRise — we help disadvantaged students get into top universities. Mentors, personal statement reviews, course recommendation algorithm, etc.
Everything is 100% free and we’ve helped ~9000 students so far.
But this year we want to 10x to 100,000 users! And launch a bigger, better, more bad*ass tech platform.
No more Typeform, Zapier, Teachable. We want something custom-built.
But when we reached out to developers, the lowest quote we got back was £25,000…
So now I’m building it all myself on Bubble.
Today I mocked up the designs in Figma (the most intuitive but…
My mum is the most ruthless bad*ass I know.
When I was 10, we bought a laptop. I spilled hot chocolate on it — no insurance.
PC World politely told us to f*ck off. But she refused.
7 hours of arguing later we were on the phone with PC World’s UK Manager and a £1200 refund was issued + vouchers for our next purchase!
Amazing! But that’s just the start…
She’s sued everyone who’s ever screwed her over: from big corporations like BMJ to our dodgy Irish builders…and won every time.
I’m not a big fan of ruthlessness but there…
Risk is the probability of a bad thing happening.
Go skydiving, for example, and the risk is your 0.001% chance of death.
But jump back to real life, and we only think about financial risk.
Seems sensible: if you didn’t make enough money to feed your family in 1921, you would literally die or hit extreme poverty. Worrying exclusively about financial risk was smart.
But we’re not in 1921 anymore.
Things have moved on: social security, free healthcare, etc. …
Age 0 to 16 you make (almost) zero important life choices.
Except for what TV show you watch after school, it’s your parents or teachers telling you what to do.
Then you hit 16 and suddenly all you do is make important life choices…
What A Levels do I pick? Which universities do I apply to? Job or masters? Which job? Which masters? Which partner? Etc.
It’s a disaster 😵
You can’t expect kids who’ve never learned how to make important life choices to make good ones…
And asking adults doesn’t help either.
“So what should I do?” …
Are you 18, dead-set on investment banking?
Are you 26, engaged to your first-ever Tinder match?
Are you 30, putrescently rotting in a law career you spent the last 12 years chasing?
School. Exams. Grades. Choose random major. Choose random career. Choose random partner.
Life rushes us into high-stakes investments without a second’s breath to reflect: are we making the right decision?
And how can you know if you’ve never had the chance to explore your options…
This is the insidious problem of premature optimisation.
It’s a computer science concept — a warning against prematurely optimising a piece of code…
A couple years ago, I decided to read every book on happiness available on the internet.
I had just recovered from quite an intense depressive episode and was determined not to let myself slip back into it.
A funny thing happens when you read a dozen or so books on the same topic…
You realise every author is literally saying all the same things with differentiated vocabulary.
One of those things that just kept on coming up was gratitude ❤️
And after hearing it from the Buddhists, the Harvard professors, Mo Gawdat and the rest of the happiness gurus, I…
You’ve probably heard the news.
Social media is eating your brain. Notifications are hijacking your consciousness. And Mark Zuckerberg controls your soul.
But how do you actually escape the magnetic tentacles of social media?
Or at least get to a point where it’s not negatively impacting your mental health.
After 24 months of experimenting here are the 6 things that work — reliably and consistently, without turning you into a social recluse.
As a former social media crackhead, addicted to dating apps and posting Instagram stories, these 6 tips have honestly transformed my happiness and productivity.
Use this alarm instead:
My favourite movie is Mary & Max.
It’s a weird film. Like really weird. About a xenephobic British girl who finds an autistic American penpal.
It’s also a bittersweet film.
It features extreme loneliness, attempted suicide, untimely death and worse.
And when you’re watching the movie, you vicariously experience all these “negative” emotions.
And yet, it’s still my favourite movie…
The same with most movies.
People love the hearbreak of Titanic, the terror of The Joker, the hopelessness of the Pursuit of Happyness.
We’re somehow able to enjoy these deeply negative emotions. Emotions & events that in our own lives…