A Literal Rocket, Spinning Plates, and a Man in Ukraine
Hey good morning. Hope your week has been productive.
This week on the podcast I hosted Wes Gray. Wes is a former finance professor, a marine to the bone, and the CEO + founder of a company Alpha Architect. Wes is what we call a ‘quant’ - someone who invests professionally based on quantitative rules rather than qualitative rules. This means how he and his company invests are driven by metrics like valuation rather than management teams.
The reason they do this is because it works to overcome behavioral biases. Investing is hyper emotional and we dig into Daniel Kahneman’s words on System 1 and System 2 thinking which I wrote about a few weeks back.
SpaceX Launch this Week
If you missed SpaceX’s Starship launch this week, it was a sight to see. Seeing the advent and rapid advancement in rockets and all the companies being built to support activity outside of this planet gives me shivers up my spine. Hard to not be excited about what the next 20 years brings.
I’m part of an online community called ‘Portfolio of Small Bets’. The founder, Daniel Vassallo, quit a job at Amazon to construct a self supported life on ways he could make money doing what he loves. He’s sold cutting boards he built, wrote helpful guides on Twitter, sold an Amazon development ebook, and others. In the article he talks about the importance of recognizing that everything we do has value to someone. Ben Franklin was a pretty cool guy.
An interview from 2013 with the then CEO of Winmark, a franchise company that oversees popular brands like Play It Again Sports and Plato’s Closet. He has some great bits on why choosing high quality franchisees is important and incentivizing employees with ownership in the business.
Substack and Twitter are fighting right now so I don’t get the great preview, but this is a great Twitter thread from Josh Spector on systematizing content creation. Part of what has given me the ability to write this every Saturday is knowing the structure of what I’m putting out, a rough time, and what should be going out. Josh’s structure takes that to another level.
Thanks for reading and supporting my work. I send this out for free every Saturday morning, here’s how to get it:
1 Thought on Time
I’m winding down my last major semester of grad school before writing my thesis over the summer and spent a few minutes reflecting on the last 9 months.
What a shit show.
Trying to find balance between work, school, side projects, personal life, relationships, and whatever else is important at the time has been mentally and physically exhausting. A school peer of mine texted me this week as we were discussing finals:
“I’m really inspired by you.”
Why I asked.
“The workload you have with work as well as getting married. That’s a lot.”
I thought on that. And I thought some more. My conclusion was that I couldn’t even take the compliment. The last 9 months has been anything but aspirational from my perspective. I’ve done one thing (school) really well, but hindsight shows that everything else has gotten 50% effort.
Every day, we maybe have maybe 16 hours to devote use of. Since exiting the Navy in 2018, I’ve felt very flush with time, not weighed down with the prospects of 24 hour duty, weeks out to sea, and binge drinking. The newfound time freedom, sense of urgency, and hunger for success has brought on the addition of no less than 1,637 plates into my life. I haven’t realized it until the last week or so, but I surpassed my limit about 1,630 plates ago.
It’s sexy to say you can multitask. Look at all this work I can do!
The reason people get away with statements like this is because quality of work is much more difficult to measure than time. Effective time management and more importantly quality time management, is a personal observation that only you yourself will be able to make. You know when you aren’t putting out quality work.
For the longest time I’ve been a bear down and get it done person. I did it with both sets of schooling and justify it with “it’s only temporary”.
There likely will always be something painful to work through that could be done faster. Maybe I’ve just lacked patience to work through something slowly and efficiently at the same time. I think there’s merit to that lack of patience - some of the most inspiring founders and CEOs I’ve studied all have it. Maybe that’s why they end up, on their deathbed, saying they sacrificed all their relationships for their work.
I don’t want to be that person. I need to pare back my commitments which is hard. I’m scared of not being able to do all of the things I want to in this life already - doing less seems like a step away from accomplishing more. Seeing videos of SpaceX always makes me question why I’m not working on that.
Takeaway - you can’t do everything. Doing a few things well shows discipline more than doing many things half assed even though it doesn’t seem like it.
It’s a little bit cringey, but simultaneously entertaining to look back on old episodes. I find myself often caught up trying to maximize efficiency on everything, when its much more effective to just do something for a good length of time and when you have enough data, make an informed decision about performance and how to improve. This is the lifeblood of data science, but much more difficult when it comes to something you make and is highly personal.
I aim to be as transparent as possible. There are lots of ‘grifters’ online that have a persona to uphold and only want to show you how great they are and how great their business is. This is the wrong approach for two reasons:
You attract low quality people. Anyone who sees constant wins and says “I want some of that” aren’t thinking through whether or not the information being presented to them is true AND will be all the more disappointed when contrary news comes out about them.
What a freeing feeling to just be yourself. Imagine waking up every day and having to worry that people will find out you are a fraud.
I don’t think you need to have all your business out there - that isn’t for everyone. I’ve certainly leaned into that and honestly will probably be inhibited from ever running for public office because of how many compromising photos there is of me floating around in teal skinny jeans. But thats okay!
Being vocal about local lows or struggles is difficult, but its even more rewarding when it comes to weeks like this because it feels like an accelerant for your wins. It makes your fans cheer you on harder because they say “Man just last week that guy got smoked on this other problem, he deserves a win.”
The first win this week:
A tweet that I posted in September of 2022 was found by someone this week who not only had a problem, but found my content AND reached out about it was just the trifecta of good feels.
The reason this is big is because often when creating content or trying to be useful online, you have 0 idea of anything you’re doing is actually helping anyone. Your friends say “Yeah great job on that” - they didn’t read it.
This is cool. Someone who heard an episode and proactively offering to make connections to interesting stories. I am STOKED for this conversation. More to come on this.
Takeaway is keep building and creating your thing. You need a long enough time horizon for your impacts to be felt, and if/when you do feel them, keep going.
My best new readers come from people like you. If you dug this post, share it with someone who would be better for reading it. You’re doing me a favor by it, and you get to be the thoughtful person to a friend or coworker when you say “This made me think of you.”
Have a good day,