Reid Hoffman's Masters of Scale podcast is a must for any would-be-entrepreneur. Recently came across his two part series on being being an Infinite Learner with Barry Diller. I highly recommend checking it out. Below is a sharing of their "Rules To Live By (and break!) for Infinite Learners" I found highly useful. Full credit to Reid Hoffman, Barry Diller, Nancy Lublin, Mark Pincus, Alexa Christon, Amit Keren, Micah G and the Masters of Scale team.

  • You are best when you know nothing.
  • Revel in your ignorance.
  • Start from a blank page of paper.
  • Nothing is sacred, you just get to start.
  • Learn everything you can about what interests you, and use it to question everything.
  • Don't expect to reach a steady state of mastery; learn constantly on the job. 
  • Whatever your interests, get on the widest road, not the narrowest road.
  • When you see someone else do something really smart - grab it, celebrate it and elevate it.
  • Don't copy anyone else's success. Break down what worked, and take a hard turn in a new direction.
  • Don't be afraid to tear things down when you need to.
  • Find a counterpoint to conventional wisdom.
  • Embrace exhaustion; it's when creativity starts.
  • To succeed twice, learn how to unlearn. Let go of what first made you successful.
  • Embody a beginner's mindset - stay curious, nimble and open to new ideas.
  • Don't just look for shortcuts. Do the hard work of both deep learning and quick unlearning.
  • In every job, ask "what can I contribute?" and "what can I learn?" side by side.
  • Separate your winning instincts from your losing ideas; it's easy to confuse them and fight for the wrong thing.
  • Hire people who are inexperienced for the job you give them.
  • Trust people first and see where they lead you.
  • Listen to your elders, and your juniors too.
  • The young can teach us as much as the old.
  • Be respectful. be empathetic. But don't be afraid to ask: "Is there a better way?"
  • There are no true masters of scale - only infinite learners.

To-Go Bag

Soooo….shit went down and you have to get out of dodge. You’re in a state of panic with adrenaline coursing through your brain shutting down your pre-frontal cortex (that thing you once heard about in science class that is the source of your so-called “intelligence”) leading to impaired judgement. What do you grab? You’re handy Emergency-To-Go-Bag-you’ve-spent-a-small-fortune-putting-together-while-your-family-and-friends-laugh-at-you-for-being-a-paranoid-crazy-person of course!

Realizing I do not have said bag, I reached out to my combat veteran friend Michael Conaway for advice. I told him I decided on a GR2 as my pack and needed help building it.  I'm rationalizing a to-go-bag in the event of a fire or natural disaster (neither of which are unfathomable).

Upon mentioning this side-project, many friends asked for me to share Mike's thoughts. Below, with his permission, are his words of wisdom. Happy prepping! 



So to start, the most important weapon you have is YOU. You will need items to keep your body properly protected from the elements, and those items need to be able to function properly for potentially weeks or months without a wash or major servicing. High-end utility clothing is highly useful for protecting the body from the elements, and should help you get where you need to go without being overly miserable, which degrades performance at the objective.

I would recommend having 2 complete sets of the following items, 1 stacked next to your ruck for immediate wear, and the other packed in your ruck for daily rotations.




Other clothing items you will probably want to accumulate for differing seasons as ready items:



You'll eventually die without water, so a good filter is a must have:

Katadyn Pocket Filter

Katadyn Pocket Filter

As well as something to carry the water. You could put a camelback bladder into your ruck if that fits your needs.



MRE's are pretty great for preparedness. You can purchase entire boxes of MRE's from military surplus stores or online. There are alternatives like dried foods and camp stoves, but you will likely be able to acquire food items like that after a few days on the go anyway. MRE's are usable without any additional end-items required and can be stored for decades before use. If you are going to purchase MRE's though, open every MRE bag and field strip all of your MRE's so they are ready to go. That means removing all of the inner boxing and most of the redundant items that come in each pack. You can essentially pull out all of the foil packs with actual food in them within each MRE, recombine and streamline them as you see fit, then bundle your completed meal builds together with a thin band of duct tape. Each of these compact food balls is then much slimmer and lighter than the original MRE, which will allow you to carry more usable calories. (You also probably only need 1 or 2 of the MRE spoons even if you are carrying 10 meals. They are pretty durable spoons.)  There are a number of other benefits to carrying MRE's, most notably that they are scientifically formulated to give you a shitload of calories and all the normal vitamins and nutrients you need to actually survive.

Also, don't plan on eating three meals a day. Under survival conditions, you should try to ration yourself to a single meal per day in order to keep functioning for as long as possible while searching for additional food supplies.  It will suck, but you will survive just fine.  You even get used to it after about a week.



You wont function well if you can't sleep, so you will probably want the following items:

(With the above combo you will never need a tent! Just wrap your ruck in your poncho to protect it from rain, and you ball up in your waterproof 1-man cocoon.)

And you will probably want a weather proof bag to protect all the items in your ruck in case you need to keep moving in the rain.




In the modern era, electricity is important for keeping your gizmos functioning. The longer your gizmos work, the more likely it will be that other people's will not work, thereby placing you in a positional advantage by default. If you are traveling on foot, it may be helpful to bring a passive charging kit in your ruck to keep your gps, nightvision goggles, and any advanced sensors or optics working. I personally have, and would recommend the following:


As a general note, try to streamline all of your devices to use the same battery type like AA, then you can carry a set of rechargeable AA's for the solar panel.

Nightvision (https://tnvc.com/shop/tnvpvs-14-itt-gen3-pinnacle/)

GPS (Go with a water proof stand alone, or put an offline GPS app on your phone like Oruxmaps. Oruxmaps will let you download basemaps to make an offline map)

Compass (http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-GENUINE-US-MILITARY-LENSATIC-TRITIUM-COMPASS-MODEL-3H-by-CAMMENGA-JAN-2017-/251153166631)

Radio (http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/0777.html)


Innovation for Dummies


In 5 seconds, while listening to an interview with Derek Sivers, I heard the best innovation advice in all my years practicing and reading about the topic.

If you want to build a successful company, service, or product...

  1. Find a need that people are proving they're willing to pay for and,
  2. Find a profitable way to solve that need for them.

That's it. All of those books, articles, famous quotes, classes, canvases, and tools are an attempt at how to do it. Because, as it turns out, it's really...really hard. This is in large part because, contrary to popular belief, the human brain is not designed for thinking making us prone to cognitive biases that lead us astray. Countering these biases and looking to accomplish the two goals above led me to practicing and honing my skills in three activities.


Activity one: Frustrated and Desperate

Find these people. Innovation is about creating value for people, not novelty. Find people whose only alternative is your solution or nothing at all. People who would gladly use your crappy MVP because even in its incomplete stage is a painkiller and not a vitamin. Without clear evidence that you've found a real need don't move forward. If you are wrong about this, nothing else matters. The goal here is to discover need. 


  • Use surveys to discover need
    • People are really bad at telling you what they need or predicting their hypothetical future behavior
    • Surveys can be a powerful of way to validate need, but should not be relied upon to discover it in the first place.
  • Use focus groups to discover need
    • Groupthink is very real and, combined with your confirmation bias, can quickly lead you to false conclusions.


  • Learn ethnographic research methodologies
  • Learn Design Thinking
  • Learn Lead User Research by Eric Von Hippel from MIT
  • Learn Journey Mapping


Activity two: Assumptions. Assumptions. Assumptions.

Really good chance this is your team.

Really good chance this is your team.

I believe the number one reason new ventures fail is because of a disconnect between assumptions and reality. Therefore, spending resources to (a) uncover assumptions and (b) stress test those assumptions is of the utmost importance. Constantly get in sync about what is true and what to do about it. Ask yourself "Is it true?" How do you know? Recognize that conflicts between assumptions and reality are essential for high-preforming and innovative teams (i.e. teams that regularly create value).

Tools like the Business Model Canvas, The Value Proposition Canvas, The Environment Canvas, etc. are at their heart methodologies for uncovering assumptions in your customer segment, value proposition, and business model. Learn to make use of these exercises.


activity three: Experiment

I believe companies adept at using data to drive experimentation will win. Nature uses multiple strategies rather than a monoculture to solve problems. The diseases that threaten us constantly mutate, changing their tactics, making discoveries, hitting on breakthroughs, finding ways to disarm our drugs. Nature's research and development is based on billions on billions of experiments. It is a resilient, decentralized, and widely diverse scheme. Take a cue from nature.

"If it disagrees with experiment, it's wrong!"

- Richard Feynman

In my own work, recognizing alignment between need and solution is most crucial, I've used a modified Javelin's Experiment Board. It's a hybrid between the Value Proposition Canvas and Javelin's Experiment Board.

80% in 5 Minutes

Get really good at finding the frustrated and desperate, uncovering your assumptions, and experimenting to accomplish two goals:

  1. Find a need that people are proving they're willing to pay for and,
  2. Find a profitable way to solve that need for them.

With that you've learned 80% of what innovation is all about. All of those books and materials on the subject will add nuance and color. Good luck!




Accelerated Learning

How can we learn faster? Recently sat in on a panel to discuss how breakthrough technologies like VR/AR, simulations, and neuroscience are impacting education and corporate learning in coming years.


Experiential Technology?

Experiential Technology (XTech) is technology that directly improves the human experience. XTech products combine digital technology with advances in neuroscience to improve human performance. XTech products are impacting several $100 billion+ industries including health, wellness, learning, training, sports and entertainment, creating new growth opportunities. XTech is fusing new digital technologies with evolving neuroscience principles to achieve improvements in human performance in fundamentally new ways.

Relevant Technologies

  • Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality
  • Artificial Intelligence & Deep Learning
  • Experiential Sensor Technologies (i.e. EEG, galvanic skin sensors, eye tracking, etc.)


Accelerated Learning

This panel discusses how the latest advances in neuroscience, XTech, and gaming are being used to accelerate learning and improve the emotional and cognitive performance.

A few time marks:

  • 16:30 - Competency Based Education & New Business Models in Education
  • 41:16 - Micro-Credentialing & Online Talent Platforms
  • 54:30 - The Neuroscience Behind Learning & Applied Skills


After analyzing 30 million users worth of data Christian Rudder, co-founder of OKCupid, concluded that "people are vain, predictable, kind of stupid, and kind of racist...but they are also very nice, smart, and all the other things that are the opposite of those things. Basically, they're just very complex."

I too find people confusing, often times irritating, and sometimes absolutely wonderful. We are social animals that need to bond with others. Below are a few guiding principles in my pursuit for connection. 

  • Smart people talk about ideas, normal people talk about events, dumb people talk about people
    • A person is likely to mind their own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, a person takes their mind off their own meaningless affair by minding other people's business
  • When you treat people like children, you get children's work
  • Contrary to popular belief the human brain is not designed for thinking
  • People are terrible at predicting their hypothetical future behavior
  • You can't change the people around you but you can change the people around you
  • People are more scared of loss than they are motivated by gain
  • Have faith in those who claim to be searching for the truth, doubt those claiming to have found it
  • People who know what they are talking about don't need PowerPoints
  • The more convinced someone is that they're right, the less they probably know
    • There's a correlation between how open a person is to differing perspective and how much that person actually knows about any given subject
  • People want to do business with someone they like. If people like you, they're going to want to do business with you.
  • If weak ties do favors for us, they start to like us
  • People who can't trust, can't be trusted
  • If you say you'll do something and then don't, you will lose a person's trust. And it's really hard to win that back.
  • People will resent you if you always try to be right
  • Picking fights and holding grudges will make you miserable
  • The more you try to argue with someone else, the less likely you are to convince them of your perspective
  • There is always someone better than you
  • When someone asks "hey, how's it going?" They don't actually want to hear all of your problems.
  • It's not about you, so shut up and listen
  • It does not matter what you say, only what people hear
  • People buy why you do it, not what you do
  • The more you try to impress people, the less they'll be
  • How to like people
    • Assume it's their last day. Listen to them. Learn from them.
    • Be who you'd be when alone.
    • Make new friends
      • As you grow and change, old friends and family will be unintentionally invested in maintaining you as you were before.
      • Let go of people that don't welcome and encourage your change.
    • Avoid harming the relationship
      • For long-term relationship success, it's more effective than seeking the positive
      • A friendship that may take years to develop can be ruined by a single action
    • Act calm and kind regardless of how you feel
    • Don't try to change them.
      • Stop trying to change people who don't think hey have a problem
    • Find wisdom in your opponents
      • Really engage those who think opposite of you
      • You already know the ideas common on your side
    • Purge the vampires
      • Get rid of people that drain you, that don't make you feel good about yourself
      • They make you hate all people



For those seeking creativity, the following are practical action items (i.e. directives) from Adam Grant's book Originals. The first steps are for individuals to generate, recognize, voice, and champion new ideas. The next set is for leaders to stimulate novel ideas and build cultures that welcome dissent. 


Individual Actions

Generating and Recognizing Original Ideas

  • Question the default
    • Instead of taking the status quo for granted, ask why it exists in the first place. When you remember that rules and systems were created by people, it becomes clear that they're not set in stone - and you begin to consider how they can be improved.
  • Triple the number of ideas you generate
    • The best way to boost your originality is to produce more ideas.
  • Immerse yourself in a new domain
    • Originality increases when you broaden your frame of reference. One approach is to learn a new craft. Another strategy is to try a job rotation: get trained to do a position that requires a new base of knowledge and skills. A third option is to learn about a different culture, like the fashion designers who became more innovative when they lived in foreign countries that were very different from their own.
  • Procrastinate strategically
    • When you're generating new ideas, deliberately stop when your progress is incomplete. By taking a break in the middle of your brainstorming or writing process, you're more likely to engage in divergent thinking and give ideas time to incubate.
  • Seek more feedback from peers
    • It's hard to judge your own ideas, because you tend to be too enthusiastic, and you can't trust your gut if you're not an expert in the domain. It's also tough to rely on managers, who are typically too critical when they evaluate ideas. To get the most accurate reviews, run your pitches by peers - they're poised to spot the potential the possibilities.

Voicing and Championing Original Ideas

  • Balance your risk portfolio
    • When you're going to take a risk in one domain, offset it by being unusually cautious in another realm of your life.
  • Highlight the reasons not to support your idea
    • Start by describing the three biggest weaknesses of your idea and then ask them to list several more reasons not to support it. Assuming that the idea has some merit, when people have to work hard to generate their own objections, they will be more aware of its virtues.
  • Make your ideas more familiar
    • Repeat yourself - it makes people more comfortable with an unconventional idea. Reactions typically become more positive after 10 to 20 exposures to an idea, particularly if they're short, spaced apart by a few days, and mixed in with other ideas. You can also make your original concept more appealing by connecting it with other ideas that are already understood by the audience.
  • Speak to a different audience
    • Instead of seeking out friendly people who share you values, try approaching disagreeable people who share your methods. Your best allies are the people who have a track record of being tough and solving problems with approaches similar to yours.
  • Be a tempered radical
    • If your idea is extreme, couch it in a more conventional goal. That way, instead of changing people's minds, you can appeal to values or beliefs that they already hold. You can also position your proposal as a means to an end that matters to others. And if you're already known as too extreme, you can shift from leader to lightning rod, allowing more moderate people to take the reins.



Leader Actions

Sparking Original Ideas

  • Run an innovation tournament
    • Welcoming suggestions on any topic at any time doesn't capture the attention of busy people. Innovation tournaments, therefore, are highly efficient for collecting a large number of novel ideas. Instead of a suggestion box, send a focused call for ideas to solve a particular problem or meet an untapped need. 
  • Picture yourself as the enemy
    • People often fail to generate new ideas due to a lack of urgency. You can create urgency by implementing the "kill the company" exercise. Gather a group together and invite them to come up with strategies to but the organization out of business - or decimate its most popular product, service, or technology. Then, hold a discussion about the most serious threats and how to convert them into opportunities to transition from defense to offense.
  • Hold an opposite day
    • Divide people into groups, and each chooses an assumption, belief, or area of knowledge that is widely taken for granted. Each group asks, "when is the opposite true?" and then delivers a presentation on their ideas.

Building Cultures of Originality

  • Hire not on cultural fit, but on cultural contribution
    • When leaders prize cultural fit, they end of p hiring people who think in similar ways. Originality comes not from people who match the culture, but from those who enrich it. Before interviews, identify the diverse backgrounds, skill sets, and personality traits that are currently missing from your culture. Then place a premium on those attributes in the hiring process.
  • Ask for problems, not solutions
    • If people rush to answers, you end up with more advocacy than inquiry, and miss out on the breadth of knowledge in the room. Following Bridgewater's issue log, you can create an open document for teams to flag problems that they see. On a monthly basis, bring people together to review them and figure out which ones are worth solving.
  • Stop assigning devil's advocates and start unearthing them
    • Dissenting opinions are useful even when they're wrong, but they're only effective if they're authentic and consistent. Instead of assigning people to play devil's advocate, find people who genuinely hold minority opinions, and invite them to present their views. To identify these people make someone responsible for seeking out team members individually before meetings to find out what they know.
  • Welcome criticism
    • By inviting employees to criticize you publicly, you can set the tone for people to communicate more openly even when their ideas are unpopular.



Some of the best principles I've come across from around the web, blogs, and books on the topic.



  • Innovation is not about novelty, it's about creating value
    • R&D is about spending money to create knowledge, innovation is about using knowledge to create value
  • Innovation efforts fail when there is a disconnect between assumptions and reality
    • Invest heavily in making sure the two are aligned
    • Look for disconfirming data
  • To be effective, an innovation has to be simple and it has to be focused
    • Effective innovations start small
    • Eliminate the nonessential distractions, listen to what is essential
    • If you could only do one thing, what would it be?
    • Exercise the power of choice
  • Innovation is work rather than genius
    • If I fail more than you do, I win


The Entrepreneur

  • The role of the entrepreneur is not to build a product, it's to reduce the uncertainty in the business model
  • Entrepreneurship is the practice of systemic innovation
  • Be completely obsessed with the problem, not married to the solution
  • Live where luck strikes
    • Live where everything is happening,
    • where the money is flowing,
    • where careers are being made,
    • where your role models live.
    • Once there, be as in the game as anyone can be
    • Be right in the middle of everything
  • Say yes to everything (at first, this changes later)
    • Meet everyone
    • Pursue every opportunity
    • Nothing is too small. Do it all.
    • Follow up and keep in touch with everyone
    • Once successful, you need to switch strategies
      • Change yes to "hell yes!" or no
      • To get successful you had to say yes to everything
      • Now if you continue to do that, you'll drown in all the opportunities
      • Now say no to anything that makes you say anything less than "hell yes!"
  • Learn multiplying skills
    • Speaking, writing, psychology, design, conversation, 2nd languages, persuasion, programming, meditation/focus
    • Not pursued on their own, they're skills that multiply the success of your main pursuit
      • A pilot who's also a great writer and public speaker
      • A chef with a mastery of psychology, persuasion, and design
    • These skills multiply the result of your efforts, and give you an edge over others in your field
  • Pursue market value not personal value
    • Do not be the starving artist, working on things that have great personal value to you, but little market value
    • Follow the money. It tells you where you're most valuable
    • Don't try to make a career out of everything you love
  • Be the owner, not just the inventor
    • It's tempting to try to be the ideas person, having someone else do the dirty work of making those ideas happen
    • Ideas don't make you rich. Great execution of ideas does
    • A rule of capitalism: whoever takes the most financial risk gets the rewards
    • The biggest rewards will always go to those that fund it and own it
    • To get rich, be the owner. Own as close to 100% as possible


Entrepreneur Looking To Innovate

  • 10x improvement
    • Your solution should be at minimum 10x better than anything else available. 
  • Competitive markets destroy profits
  • When a team with a reputation for brilliance takes on a business with a reputation for bad economics, it's the reputation of the business that remains intact
  • Start small and monopolize
    • Start with a very small market. Always err on the side of starting too small
  • Don't disrupt
    • Start small and craft a plan to expand into adjacent markets, don't disrupt: avoid competition as much as possible
  • Underdo your competition
    • Do less but better. Be part of the stripped down, focused mission.
  • Outside money is plan Z
  • The best business strategy is a people strategy
    • Pay for the person, not the role
    • You cannot buy loyalty
    • A players like to work with other A players, which means you cannot indulge B players
    • Talent draws capital but capital does not draw talent
    • Be ridiculously selective on talent and quickly remove people who hold the team back
    • Shamelessly imitate success
      • Imitate the best strategies of your competitors
      • The market doesn't care about your personal need to be unique
      • It's selfless and humble to use the best ideas regardless of source, to create the best service or product for your customers
      • Get great at executing other people's ideas as well as your own
    • Doing is better than perfect
      • Launch now
      • Ignore the details early on
      • Good enough is fine
      • Move. Develop and improve. Don't fight for perfection when it's not necessary
    • If something can be done 80% as well by someone else, delegate
      • Delegate to learn how to make sure of other people's talents
    • Separate thinking and execution to execute faster and think better
    • Benefit from human nature
      • Instead of complaining about the downside of human nature, find ways to benefit from it.
      • Instead of complaining about the rules, learn the game, then play it
    • Sales matter just as much as product
    • Press releases are spam
      • Forget about The Wall Street Journal, niche media is more relevant
    • Building to flip is building to flop
    • The most important and difficult job is never to find the right answers, it is to find the right questions. 

    Future of Assessment

    Think of assessments in education, and you probably think of end of term tests, where kids sit in rows of desks, with a set time to answer identical questions. But in a world that increasingly values what you can do and not just what you know, this model of testing is outdated.

    It is widely known that end-of-year assessments are an important way to help teachers understand how their students are performing. However, these grades are only one part of a wider toolkit of resources that teachers need in order to support student learning. What if we could find a way to accurately reflect student progress while learning is still happening, so that teachers could support their class in an even more targeted way? And what if we could make some assessment all but invisible by building it into an educational game?

    In this video, colleagues at Pearson explore how developments in digital technology can help us support teachers in evaluating how students are learning through real-time, ongoing assessment, giving relevant support and feedback that helps learners understand and improve their performance. 




    Hundreds of bright-eyed 14-year-old faces in their newest clothes herd around the registrars’ table in the courtyard. One by one class schedules are picked up with either sadness or absolute excitement that his or her middle school crush will be in the same classes.

    It was my first day of high school and within minutes of picking up my schedule my soon to be arch nemesis Eugene Choi asked to see my schedule. Briefly scanning it, he then proceeds to laugh out loud yelling “Haha, I have more honors classes than you!” I knew little about academic tracking or advanced placement at the time but all I thought was “goddamn Eugene Choi; I’m going to have more than you!” With that began years of competition and ultimately a path towards self-improvement.

    • You're not entitled to anything...ever
    • The pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change, the realist adjusts the sails
    • To improve is to change, to perfect is to change often
    • Understand and develop a growth mindset
    • Intelligence is hard work
    • Don't say or believe "it is what it is"
    • Where there is a will there is a way
    • The more afraid you are to fail, the more likely you are to fail
    • The more something scares you, the more you should probably do it
    • Your goals are overrated
      • Habits are more important
    • You are the sum of your habits
    • Be deliberate about the habits you create and eliminate
    • Align your habits to your intended life outcomes
    • Ego, an emotional reaction that prevents you from accepting reality, is your enemy
    • Pain + Reflection = Progress
    • Improve through subtraction
      • You are more likely to improve by eliminating habits than trying to add new ones. The same applies to finances (i.e. you are better off eliminating expenses than increasing income) as well as new product development. Subtract to improve.
    • Your worldview is seriously flawed
    • You don't have forever to find and pursue your passion
    • Complacency is your enemy
    • You'll never have it all sorted out
    • Becoming an adult is not some magical transformation
    • Take advice from people who are living the life you want to live
    • Stay hungry, stay foolish
    • Anything that annoys you is teaching you patience
    • Anyone who abandons you is teaching you independence
    • Anything that angers you is teaching you forgiveness and compassion
    • Anything you hate is teaching you unconditional love
    • Anything you fear is teaching you courage
    • Anything you can't control is teaching you how to let go

    A Minimalist's Guide To Bartending

    There comes a time in life when mixing coke and rum does not suffice. For young 20-something year old men this involves over investing in bar furniture, bottles of liquor, and cocktail making accessories.

    Facing this moment I asked a minimalist bartender friend advice on starting a home bar to which she replied...

    "You don't need much. You need whisky for people that like whisky. You need gin for people who don't like whisky, and you need tequila for getting drunk."

    Words of wisdom. She was then kind enough to give me the following recipes. Enjoy!



    Drink: Old Fashioned

    Bottle: Old Overholt Rye Whiskey

    What You’ll Need:

    • Double Old Fashioned Glass
    • Wood Muddler
    • Big rock ice maker
    • Jigger
    • Regans’ Orange Bitters
    • Angostura Bitters
    • Raw Cane Sugar
    • Fresh Lemon

    When To Make: When you ask your guest if they like whisky and they say “yes.”


    • Add 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 dashes angostura bitters, 2 dashes regans’ orange bitters, and 0.5 oz water into Double Old Fashioned Glass
    • Muddle until you no longer hear the sugar crunching
    • Add big ice rock
    • Add 3 oz whisky
    • Add a few lemon drops
    • Stir



    Drink: Gin Gimlet

    Bottle: Hendricks Gin

    What You’ll Need:

    • Coupe Glass
    • Shaker
    • Jigger
    • Ice cubes
    • Fresh lime
    • Homemade simple syrup

    When To Make: When you ask your guest if they like whisky and they say “no.”


    • Add to shaker:
      • Ice
      • 0.5 oz fresh squeezed lime
      • 0.5 oz simple syrup
      • 2 oz gin
    • Shake well
    • Pour into coupe glass



    Drink: Shots

    Bottle: Don Julio Blanco

    What You’ll Need: Don’t get shot glasses, unnecessary. Use the Coupe or Double Old Fashioned glass from above recipes.

    When To Make: You’re looking to expedite the inebriation.

    Recipe: Pour into Coupe or Double Old Fashioned glass.

    Why You Should Rank Your Relationships

    In Relationships I claim you should reject the first 37% of people you date. This concept came from a wonderful TED talk by Hannah Fry on the mathematics of love. In it she outlines how to apply Optimal Stopping Theory in choosing "the one."

    I recently sat down with Lee Noto on her show My Whole Life to talk about dating, rejecting 37%, and why you should rank your relationships. Check it out below along with access to the spreadsheet to try it out yourself. Enjoy!

    My Whole Life with Lee Noto - Episode 3: Why You Should Rank Your Relationships

    Ranking Spreadsheet (Note: Watch Video First)


    1. Click on the spreadsheet image below and make a copy to edit

    2. Edit only YELLOW cells

    3. Start with FORMULA tab and add your categories/percentage weights

    4. Add relationships in column c of RANKING tab

    5. Score 1 - 10 for each relationship/category

    6. Adjust categories/weights/scores as needed

    Student-Centered Learning

    In Death of Education, Birth of Learning I outlined how technology is enabling paradigm shifts in curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

    In order to realize these paradigm shifts, This Will (Not) Revolutionize Education focused on how pedagogy must come before technology.

    This piece is an example of the above principles. Here at Pearson, our Future Technologies explored student-centered learning (SCL) and asked ourselves:

    • What could we offer that would help teachers bring student-centered learning into their classrooms and help students delve into areas of passion and discover new ones?
    • What are the needs, the obstacles, and the gaps we’d have to address if we want student-centered learning to flourish?
    • Can we put natural learning the classroom that engages everyone, while still linking activity to what teachers are being held accountable to?


    Student Autonomy vs. Teacher Accountability

    Early into our research it was clear that teachers implementing SCL activities experienced a natural tension between student autonomy and teacher accountability. The more standardized the school the greater the tension. Mandated curriculum, to which teachers were being held accountable, had to be covered. Deviations from this were seen as a risky luxury. We often heard comments like “If I let my students do what they want, then they will just play,” and “How do I know they are learning what they are supposed to?”

    Learning from and working with these progressive practitioners we built Fiona, a web-based application to alleviate the tension between student autonomy and teacher accountability in implementing student-centered learning.




    Fiona starts with the belief that the role of the teacher is to spark and nurture student curiosity through strong relationships.


    Scaffold student-led inquiry

    • Support the inquiry process: Fiona leads students through stages that support an effective inquiry process, such as prediction, production, feedback, iteration, and reflection.
    • Formulate questions: Fiona supports students’ transition from answering other people’s questions to learning to formulate their own.
    • Manage chaos: Students learn more when they learn together, plus they develop social skills, collaboration, and communication. But for all its strengths, group learning also suffers from some common pitfalls. Left to their own devices, students might stray off task. Fiona structures a process so that self-directed inquiry can be effective.


    Maintain teacher accountability

    • Link to curricula: When students choose what to pursue, it’s hard to tell whether the required curriculum is being covered. Fiona allows you to upload your own curriculum and shows who’s covered which topics and where there are gaps. It also suggests ways to link unique student interests to the curriculum.
    • Integrate assessment: With Fiona, assessment is integral to the process, not a separate activity. Fiona tracks student processes and products all along the way, from their question formulation, to their pursuit of their inquiry, to their contributions to others’ inquiries, to their deliverables.
    • Convey skill development: Teachers need concrete evidence of learners’ skill development. Fiona identifies the skills being practiced, and displays students’ progress towards mastering them. It highlights strengths and points out weaknesses — and ways to address them.

    Fiona is still a prototype but we’re always looking to connect with practitioners. If this is of interest to you shoot me an email.

    This Will (Not) Revolutionize Education

    “The motion picture is destined to revolutionize our educational system and that in a few years, it will largely supplant, if not entirely, the use of textbooks.” -  Thomas Edison 1922

    In the 1930’s radio was predicted to revolutionize education. The idea was to beam in expert knowledge directly into the classroom thereby improving the quality of education for more students at lower costs.

    In the 1950’s studies were conducted to determine if students preferred watching a lecture live or sitting in an adjacent room where the same lecture was being broadcasted on a television.

    In the 1980’s computers were the revolutionary solution to our educational woes. While limited in capacity, their future potential was obvious.

    By the turn of the century, smart boards, smartphones, and tablets began entering classrooms only to meet the same fate as technologies of the past.

    Today, advances in artificial intelligence promise to revolutionize education by bringing personalized learning to all. A digital tutor of sorts. Side note...personally I don’t like the term “personalized learning.” All learning is personal. What most people seem to mean when they say “personalized learning” is individualized education. A different concept altogether.

    Each wave of technology promises to improve the quality of education for more students at lower cost while requiring fewer skilled teachers. A theme common to all the proposed educational revolutions. Aspiring entrepreneurs promise “this will revolutionize education,” yet to no avail. So why has this been the case? I believe it is because many efforts have placed technology before pedagogy. The opposite should be the case.


    Pedagogy Before Technology

    By and large, students are still taught in large groups by a single teacher as the sole arbiter of information. If you view the role of the teacher as a distributor of “knowledge” (i.e. content), then technology in the classroom has faced a natural friction. Two entities competing for the same role.

    So what is an alternative relationship with technology as an educator? I believe it is one of symbiosis. One in which the natural strengths of teacher and student relationships are combined with technology’s speed and breadth in personalized content delivery. Pedagogies that support this model do exist, yet they are not the norm. Look at the following image.

    Immediately it’s clear that technology plays a supporting role to relationships and learner curiosity. NuVu Learning Studio in Cambridge Massachusetts has an incredible environment where technology is used to support the teacher’s role of mentorship and problem solving alongside students. In this context, I do believe many technologies have the power to bring alternative learning pedagogies to scale.

    The role of an educator is to spark and nurture curiosity. To build strong relationships and scaffold student ownership of learning. It’s the teacher’s job to point young minds towards the right kinds of questions. Technology in this context can be incredibly powerful. So long as you understand an evolution is happening, not a revolution.

    10 Books That Changed How I Saw The World

    I know it’s not what the cool kids like to do, but I like to read non-fiction. Lots of nonfiction, and my favorite moment reading nonfiction is when a book slaps my brain and completely alters my view of the world. I love it. It’s like entering the woods with nothing more than a journal and a child-like sense of wonder. In no particular order, here are 10 books that convinced me I knew nothing.



    What it's about:

    As humans, we are inherently biased against noticing both the number of random events in our lives and the impact these events have on us. Taleb calls these events Black Swans. Black Swans, due to the exponential scaling of technology, are becoming more common. Therefore, we should build up systems (and ourselves) to be “antifragile,” that is to construct our lives and infrastructures in a way that benefits from the volatility of major events.

    For example, stress on a manmade machine will deteriorate the machine. In contrast, a lack of stress on the human body will deteriorate the body. As a such, you should frequently seek out stressors to improve any system including you as an individual.

    If this book could be summarized in a picture, that picture would be:

    Natalie Portman, in her black swan costume, tripping you on the treadmill with an evil smile as your face heads straight for the wall.

    Read this book if:

    Your workout consists of running on the treadmill, using the elliptical, or any other such machine.



    What it's about:

    Advice and musings of an incredibly successful venture capitalist on what does (and does not) make startups successful.

    If this book could be summarized in a picture, that picture would be:

    A screenshot of an empty bank account because, recalling all those soccer trophies you won as kid and your mom telling you were special, your “amazing” business idea turned out not to be.

    Read this book if:

    You hear the siren call of silicon valley.



    What it's about:

    How the most effective leaders communicate and why companies like Apple gain cult followings.

    If this book could be summarized in a picture, that picture would be:

    Justin Long standing next to John Hodgman.

    Read this book if:

    People stop listening when you start speaking.



    What it's about:

    The reason established companies talk a lot about innovation but fail to deliver.

    If this book could be summarized in a picture, that picture would be:

    Bill Lumbergh standing over your cubicle with a coffee mug telling you the company needs to be more innovative.

    Read this book if:

    You decided to make the “responsible” decision by working for The Man, are now working in a cubicle, and are secretly envious of your friends working at startups.



    What it's about:

    How humans are merely summations of their habits. Duhigg makes a very compelling case for understanding habit loops and developing a framework to alter them.

    If this book could be summarized in a picture, that picture would be:

    Looking at your credit card statement and seeing a pattern of Dunkin Donuts charges next to your gym membership fee.

    Read this book if:

    You suck at New Years resolutions.



    What it's about:

    How we as humans inaccurately judge what made us happy in the past, what will make us happy in the future, and even what is making us happy right now.

    If this book could be summarized in a picture, that picture would be:

    A dog named “Humanity” chasing it’s own tail with a big slobbery smile.

    Read this book if:

    You find yourself in credit card debit because that new dress was "such a great deal!" 



    What it's about:

    Challenging social norms around sexuality, marriage, compatibility, and lifetime monogamy. It makes a strong argument for how lifetime monogamy, established through marriage, is actually a recent human development.

    If this book could be summarized in a picture, that picture would be:

    A 5 year old holding a one dollar bill in the right hand and snickers bar in the left, staring longingly in the candy isle, while his mom tells him he can only pick one.

    Read this book if:

    You have ever questioned the institution of marriage or monogamy.



    What it's about:

    Why thinking is so hard.

    If this book could be summarized in a picture, that picture would be:

    A kid huddled over his laptop reviewing the SparkNotes version of The Great Gatsby at 1 am.

    Read this book if:

    You make terrible life decisions.



    What it's about:

    Why people give in to fanaticism, fundamentalism, or extremist ideologies.

    If this book could be summarized in a picture, that picture would be:

    An open hand, heading straight for your face.

    Read this book if:

    You think you are always the “rationale” one.



    Note: This is not officially a book. Nevertheless, it’s a must read and can be downloaded for free by Googling Ray Dalio’s Principles

    What it's about:

    You have no idea what you believe (i.e. principles) and people who spend time to critically articulate and challenge their principles are most likely to get what they want out of life.

    If this book could be summarized in a picture, that picture would be:

    Mike Tyson punching the crap out of a training bag called your Ego.

    Read this book if:

    If you think you know what you believe. You probably don’t.

    Death of Education, Birth of Learning

    We are witnessing the death of education, but the birth of learning. I’ve always loved this sentence. It captures both the frustrations and future hopes in decades of reform.

    Kids are bored. A lot. Education does not always bring out the best in them. Somehow, they manage to get through it. There are people who can easily sit down for eight hours, take notes and then two weeks later say what they wrote, but for many, the system is broken. There is a huge population of extraordinarily talented and engaged people who can’t learn that way. They are made to feel like something is wrong with them.

    It’s crazy when you think about it. We take kids and force them to adapt to this really complex bureaucracy instead of adopting the system to them. This is especially crazy in a world full of surprises. Surprises of the economy, of society, of invention and technology. Everyday is going to be a surprise. Education prepares you to cope with certainty. There is no certainty. Learning, however, prepares you to cope with the surprises of the world.

    I want to see environments where kids are restless until their need for learning is satisfied. Where kids are allowed to pursue their curiosities and taught to solve interesting problems, not to memorize answers. These pedagogies do exist. What is new, however, are the technologies that have the power to shift the paradigm. To kill education and give rise to learning, but only when you place pedagogy first. So what are some of those shifts?

    Curriculum: A shift from content-based to skills-based curriculum

    Knowing something is probably an obsolete idea. You don’t actually need to know anything. You can find out at the point when you need to know it. We are going to see less and less of education as the conveying of content because that is going be a commodity. A lot more of what we think of as education today is going to go back to its roots of teaching. Where the instructor engages in dialogue with the student and helps them develop thinking skills, problem solving skills and passion for a discipline. The rise of models like General Assembly and coding bootcamps are indicative of a growing movement towards curriculum focusing on employability and applied skills (i.e. critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity etc.).

    Instruction: A shift from teacher-centered to student-centered learning

    The role of the educator is to spark and nurture student’s curiosities. To build stronger relationships and scaffold student ownership of learning. It’s the teacher's job to point young minds towards the right kinds of questions. A teacher doesn’t need to give any answers because answers are everywhere. The maker learning movement, Sugatra Mitra’s SOLE model, and school like AltSchool are leading the way in creating learning environments where students take ownership.

    Assessment: A shift from summative high-stakes to formative low-stakes assessment

    Education has been very, very slow to look at data effectively and determine what is actually happening in the classroom. In large part, it’s because a lot of assessments today are focused on lower order thinking. What the student knows or does not know. There is a lot more potential in the process of learning, and in those moments giving the right feedback. If you watch a gifted instructor in the classroom that’s exactly what he or she is doing.

    If we think of the purpose of assessment as being able to provide information to teachers about what to do next, high-stakes summative tests don’t give us enough actionable information. What is needed are more sensitive ways to measure and support low stakes formative assessments. Advances in artificial intelligence and companies like Knewton are starting to unlock new ways of measuring what the student has learned.


    These are signs we are at the death of education right now. The structures and rules of school, learning from 9 to 3, working on your own and not working with others, is dying and learning is just beginning. Stay tuned.



    "Very handsome!" said the lady at the tailors. I was bursting with confidence having just picked up my first custom-tailored suit. I stepped out into the promenade deciding to wear it home. It was 75 degrees and perfectly sunny.

    Within seconds of walking, I noticed something that had never occurred to me before. EVERY single woman (including grandmas) was gawking at me. Now let's be real. I'm a handsome guy, cute even. Add some wit, charm, glasses, a tuxedo and let me woo you with words now I'm a solid eight for sure. Both confused and elated I continued to indulge having my confidence serenaded with attention. "I should have gotten my suits tailored sooner!" I thought.

    My shoelace came undone. I crouched to fix it, and then I saw...him. Walking in perfect stride behind me was a 6-foot male Adonis. Let's call him Chuck. Chuck too had a perfectly tailored navy suit, but unlike myself, he had an aura about him. It was in the details. Polished brown oxfords, slim knit tie, white pocket square, silver tie click, large rimmed glassed, perfectly groomed hair, a Saks Fifth Avenue bag with flowers in the right hand, and a Kurt Vonnegut book in the left. Simply put, Chuck was muy dapper. 

    Having never forgotten what it was like to walk in Chucks shoes in the 3 minutes between the tailors and my shoelace coming undone, I've learned the following about being dapper. Dapper is more than clothes, it's a set of principles that guide your actions. Note: Ladies, apologies if it's geared towards men, but please do feel free to share with your soon to be dapper man.

    • Simplicity in your wardrobe is the ultimate form of sophistication.
    • Rebel from business casual. Burn your khakis and wear a suit.
    • Have a cobbler, a tailor, and a barber.
      • It's better if old men cut your hair.
      • Cobblers will save your shoes.
      • Get your suits tailored.
    • Own a tuxedo before the age of 30, then stay that size through your 30's.
    • No clip ons.
    • 90% of dressing well is having the right fit.
    • Never take an ex back. She tried to do better and is settling with you.
    • Date women outside your social circle. 
    • When in doubt kiss the girl.
    • Don't use the word "closure" or ever expect it in real life.
    • Find a Times New Roman in the streets and a Wingdings in the sheets. She exists.
    • Eating out alone can be magnificent. Find a place where you can sit at the bar.
    • Tip more than you should.
    • Be a regular at more than one bar.
    • When a bartender buys you a round, tip double.
    • Learn to bartend, but keep it simple.
    • Drink outdoors. And during the day. And sometimes by yourself.
    • You cannot have a love affair with whiskey because whisky will never love you back.
    • If you are wittier than you are handsome, avoid loud clubs.
    • Become your own curator of information.
    • Read more. It allows you to borrow someone else's brain.
    • The best public restrooms are in hotels.
    • If you believe in evolution, then you should know something about how it works. Approach life similarly.
    • No selfies. Aspire to experience photo-worthy moments in the company of beautiful women.
    • Take more pictures. With a camera.
    • There is always another level. Be grateful knowing that you are still better off than most who have ever lived.
    • Do not use an electric razor.
    • Throw parties. Pay for the liquor and food.
    • Always bring a bottle of something to the party.
    • Measure yourself only against your previous self.
    • When you admire the work of artists or writers, tell them. Then spend money to acquire their work.
    • Staying angry is a waste of time.
    • Stop talking about where you went to college.
    • No one cares if you are offended, so stop it.
    • Don't gamble if losing $100 is going to piss you off.
    • Always carry cash.
    • You use your cell phone too often and at the wrong moments.



    "Well then, it looks like you'll just have to go hungry!" yelled my mom over the phone 3,000 miles away in sunny California before hanging up the phone. It was my sophomore year of college, and I stood mortified at the Cold Stone cash register having both my campus dining and debit cards rejected. Not only rejected, but immediately followed by a friendly Bank of America text notifying me I'd accumulated $200 in overdraft fees. 

    Panicked, I called home not realizing it was Mother's day, forgetting to say, "Happy Mother's Day," and instead asked for money. As you might imagine mom was infuriated and being the wonderfully fierce woman I've come to admire she wanted me to suffer the consequences of my stupidity...through starvation. 

    Bless my dad's soul, however, bless it indeed. An hour later, I get a call letting me know he'd transferred funds into my checking account. "I'll tell you, for being so-called 'smart' that was pretty stupid. Call your mother to apologize, start a budget, and for goodness sake set a calendar reminder!" Wise words. Since then I've learned the following:

    Earning Money

    • Money is really, really hard to earn.
    • The path to wealth is driven by mindsets and habits. Not get-rick-quick strategies.
    • Invest for the long run.
      • I prefer index funds with really low fees. Read The Intelligent Investor for more.
    • Use compound interest to your advantage

    Spending Money

    • Live below your means
    • Make budgeting a habit. I follow a 50/20/30 rule of thumb...
      • 50% on essentials (rent, groceries, utilities etc.)
      • 20% of financial goals (IRA, emergency fund, student loan repayment, etc.)
      • 30% on discretionary (restaurants, movies, shopping, etc.)
    • You are broke if every dollar you make is being spent, regardless of income.
    • Beware of lifestyle inflation
      • Without awareness of how you spend, you'll find you're spending $80,000 at the same rate you spent a $40,000 paycheck.
    • Cutting expenses is more powerful than increasing income.


    • There is no such thing as good debt.
    • Debt will haunt you.
    • Prioritize debt repayment. Always pay more than the minimum monthly payment.
    • Net worth is the only number that matters.

    Money & Happiness

    • Money is a thing, that makes possible the acquisition of things. A lot of things, however, are not going to make you happy.
    • Money doesn't buy happiness, but a lack of money does guarantee misery.
    • Have a lifestyle goal, not just financial goals.
    • Financial awareness is spending your hard-earned cash on purchases that add value to your life.
    • Spend on experiences.
    • Some people are so poor all they have is money.


    "It's not you. It's me." She said while sipping from her In'N'Out cup. "We can still be friends, maybe even date when we're older." She then grabbed her Kate Spade purse, pushed the half eaten double-double with cheese and extra animal sauce away and walked out the door only to step into her new boyfriend's used Honda Civic waiting in the parking lot. Greg. Goddamn Greg. 

    With that, life slapped me across my 16-year-old face (twice) and would for many years to come haunt many of my future relationships. First "loves" tend to have that effect. Since then I've come to believe the following:

    • Don't seek happiness in relationships
      • Pursue others out of earnestness and not out obligation or desperation
      • Don't take rejection personally
      • Be comfortable in your skin
      • Choose to see the world in terms of compatibility and incompatibility. Then take it as your job to find the compatible.
      • Being an emotionally functional human adult is actually a difficult endeavor
      • But if you want to date an emotionally functional human adult, then you need to be an emotionally functional human adult
      • It's a radical idea, I know
    • Don't seek love in relationships
      • There is more to love than people
      • There are different kinds of love
      • While love can exist and be greatly heightened as a result of a relationship, it should not be the source of it
      • Seek self-love first
      • If love must be about a person then know this...
        • A relationship based on love is one in which each partner allows the other to be what he or she chooses, with no expectations and no demands. It is a simple association of two people who love each other so much that each would never expect the other to be something that he or she wouldn't choose for him or herself. It is a union of independence, rather than dependence. 
    • Meaningful relationships are difficult to maintain
    • Date...a lot
    • Reject the first 37% of people you date
      • Watch TED Talk below on "Optimal Stopping Theory" applied to dating (start at 7:25 mark). After watching the video and if interested in applying the theory check out this post.
    • Do not expect a single person to fulfill all of your needs
      • Likewise, do not enter a relationship with a person who expects you to fulfill all of their needs
    • Act on third order consequences
      • 1st Order: You are attracted to the other person
      • 2nd Order: You are attracted to the other person and you are compatible
      • 3rd Order: You are attracted to the other person, you are both compatible, and you are clear about why and what you hope to gain from entering into a relationship
    • Do not confuse attraction for compatibility
    • Be clear about why and what you hope to gain when entering into a relationship
      • Too often, people get into relationships simply out of convenience 
    • The best way to meet someone else is to not need to be with someone else
    • Learn to end relationships when they need to end
      • Do not prolong a relationship, remember that time is your most precious resource
    • You just got dumped...(borrowing from Mark Manson)
      • Feel the pain like a sprinter feels the burn of a last lap. Feel it! Accept its presence. Yes, it exists. Yes, it's intense.
      • Your mission is to prosper without him or her, to be independent. The way you handle this will determine if it becomes a great personal story of overcoming adversity or a permanent emotional scar.
      • Accept it 
        • You should never accept someone who doesn't want to be your partner
        • Your worth has nothing to do with their approval of you
      • Do not blame yourself
        • Guilt over the past and worry over the future are both useless emotions that inhibit our ability to live today in relaxed confidence
      • Preserve your attractiveness 
        • Public enemy #1 is to overreact
        • Most people will behave out of anger or anxiety; both forms of unearned worship
      • Be cool and focus on what's in your control 
        • Not what they're doing
        • It's not about them anymore, it's about taking care of you
        • Success here is defined by the degree they don't affect your emotional state
        • Don't interact with them until you can be relaxed and confident about it
      • Do not chase 
        • Not only does this drive them away, but it reveals a neediness and desperation
        • He or she is who they are, and you shouldn't try to change them
        • Respect their choice, and don't be deluded into acting like they are the only one for you
      • Do not be jealous 
        • Don't compare yourself to the people they talk to and date
        • Their choices reflect only on them, not you
        • Your self-worth is more important here, how you feel about yourself for yourself, not compared to some random other sap
        • Jealousy is a result of allowing something out of your control to dictate your emotions


    The pursuit of happiness is often this illusory journey riddled with buyer's remorse, drunken nights, and regrettable mornings. Much like that cat chasing after the laser dot. Yes that is you. However, instinctively we all know that extra beer or the dress in blue will not make us happier. What then, you may ask. Over the years, I've come to believe the following will. It is by no means definitive nor complete, simply the musings of a young man in pursuit.

    • Love yourself
      • Take care of yourself
      • Exercise and eat well
      • Sleep well at night
      • Work hard and plan ahead
      • Be social
      • Eliminate bad habits
      • Speak about your ideas without inhibition and expect nothing in return
      • Share things based on the simple pleasure of sharing
    • Do not search for happiness, but appreciate the things that make you happy
    • Happiness is not the same thing as pleasure
      • Pleasure is correlated with happiness, but does not cause it
      • Ask any drug addict how their pursuit of pleasure turned out
    • Happiness is not the same thing as positivity
    • Create your purpose
      • Do what you like doing
      • Do what you are good at doing
      • Do what you can get paid for doing
      • Do what the world needs you to do
    • Follow your curiosities
      • Play is essential for this, play sparks exploration
    • Invest in experiences
    • Invest in relationships
    • It's not about you
      • The world does not care about you, but you need to care about you
    • There is no secret to happiness

    Core Principles


    Over the years, I’ve sought people who work for themselves, not for what others want them to do. Who come up with the best independent opinions they can muster to get what they want. Who stress-test their opinions by having the smartest people they can find challenge them, so they can find out where they are wrong. Who remain wary about being overconfident and figure out how to effectively deal with not knowing. And finally, people who wrestle with their realities, reflect upon the consequences of their decisions, and learn to improve from this process.

    Surrounding myself with individuals like this, I learned how important and how liberating it is to think for myself. A lesson leading to reflection and questioning of my beliefs. Through this iterative process, a few key principles have remained true, despite constant stress testing. I call these core principles.

    Core principles are foundational beliefs that are the basis for every decision in your life. They serve as a North Star and ultimately, I believe, affect your ability to get (or not get) what you want out of life. I challenge you to do the same. Here are mine.

    1. Time is your most precious resource, use it deliberately.

    This is by far my most important life principle. It originates from a cost-benefit analysis view of the world. Every choice you make will prevent you from pursuing alternatives. But at what cost? Understanding that basic idea has helped me create healthy habits and processes directly aligned to my goals in life.

    2. Truth - more precisely, an accurate understanding of reality - is the essential foundation for producing good outcomes.

    I believe that most initiatives (whether projects, products, or relationships) fail because of a disconnect between your assumptions of the situation and reality. Therefore, in order to successfully achieve your intended outcomes one must spend significant energy stress testing your assumptions to ensure they are aligned with reality. It’s hard, really hard. Most people do not do this, and therefore most people fail at what they aspire to accomplish. Also, look up “First Principles.”

    3. Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.

    Einstein was supposedly famous for saying, “Any fool can complicate things. It takes a genius to simplify them.” I wholeheartedly believe this. You’ll find more success eliminating bad habits come New Year's resolution that creating new ones. Try it. Try improving your life through subtraction. Start with your wardrobe.

    4. You are a product of your own expectations.

    If you think you can or you cannot, you are correct. Simple as that. Set high expectations.

    5. Be antifragile.

    This comes from Nassim Taleb’s book Antifragile and to borrow from Mark Manson:

    • Often the most influential events in history are, by definition, the least anticipated. These are called “Black Swan” events.
    • As humans, we are inherently biased against noticing both the number of random events in our lives and the impact these random events have on us.
    • Due to the exponential scaling of technology, Black Swan events are becoming more common and influential than ever before.
    • Therefore, we should build up systems (and ourselves) to be “antifragile,” that is, to construct our lives and our societies in such a way as to benefit from major unanticipated events.