Start To Quit
Happy Friday, everyone.
After a longer than planned summer break, I’m back with some fresh ideas and new discoveries.
Today At A Glance:
⚡️ Start To Quit
🖼 Generative AI
🎧 Business Breakdowns
🏋️♂️ What To Do Differently As A Second-time Founder
One Idea: Start To Quit
Last month I gave a talk at Reflect Fest in Cyprus on the topic of reinventing yourself.
The idea that resonated most with people was that quitting is not bad. On our world, quitting is often associated with failure, but I believe it’s a healthy habit and allows you to focus your time on energy on things that you are good at and that you truly enjoy.
Over the past few years, I've started and quit many things. I started companies. I started a podcast, but stopped after two seasons. I started an online course, but dropped it after the first cohort.
I start things to explore a new idea and see how it feels. Instead of overthinking it, I just dive in and see if I enjoy doing it. My litmus test is whether I can see myself doing this in the next 2-3 years. If the answer is no, I stop and try something else until I find something where my passion and skills match better.
Life is short (I was recently painfully reminded of that) and what’s most important to me is that I do things that are meaningful to me and that I enjoy doing. That’s all that matters to me.
By the way, I was very impressed by the emerging tech ecosystem in Cyprus and believe it has a good chance to become a European tech hub.
One Obsession: Generative AI
2022 has been wild for AI; it seems like a new breakthrough is made every two days. The technology has evolved, and I believe AI is the new technological paradigm that will bring wild product innovations in the next decade.
It’s still early, and here are some of the most interesting or weirdest applications of Generative AI I’ve seen recently:
An AI-generated conversation between Joe Rogan and Steve Jobs.
Battlepromts: An AI twitter game where you create your own monster fighter with a prompt (e.g., “incredibly powerful steel mechabot with poison lasers and unpiercable armor”). Then you battle against another fighter, and an AI narrates the fight and decodes who won.
SALT: The world's first fully AI-generated multiplot film. The story plays in a 1970s lo-fi sci-fi universe and the plot is created by the community.
Prompt-based work flows in Google Sheets, e.g., to sanitize data, write thank you cards, summarize product reviews, or categorize feedback. If you've spent a lot of time with Excel like I have, it feels like magic.
Lex: A word processor with artificial intelligence baked in, so you can write faster.
Many more crazy things going on like complete Twitter threads or to-do lists written by AI.
📣 PSA: I want to invest more into AI-first companies. If you're building one, let's chat.
I love businesses, so I was excited when I discovered the Business Breakdown podcast, hosted by one of my favorite podcast people, Patrick O'Shaughnessy. In this show, Patrick invites a guest to break down a business. Patrick's curiosity paired with an expert guest is a clear recipe for success.
They have discussed prestigious companies like Goldman Sachs, iconic tech companies like Block, and sports leagues like the PGA Tour.
In this episode, Patrick chats with Hodinkee co-founder Benjamin Clymer about the history and business of Rolex. A few things I learned:
Rolex is owned by a non-profit organization.
Rolex's production is fully vertically integrated, from ownership of raw materials to production. The company has only four suppliers that it fully owns.
Rolex is committed to quality and excellence. They even build machines to test their machines that make watches.
I liked that Benjamin Clymer shared what makes Rolex so special to him. He believes that continuity in design is one of the most important factors in creating an iconic product. He loves the fact that he's able to buy his daughter a Rolex watch that looks a lot like his father's (or her grandfather's) watch. I like that thought, too.
I really liked Ankur Nagpal's (founder of Teachable) tweet about what he's going to do differently as a second-time founder. Almost every founder I know fantasizes about what they would do differently at their next startup, so it's fun to read this list.
One More Thing
I went on my first big open sea sailing trip this summer, and I really enjoyed reading "Swell: A Sailing Surfer's Voyage of Awakening".
In Swell, Captain Liz Clark tells her story, embarking on a multi-year journey in her 40-foot yacht, Swell, sailing through the South Pacific.
Liz describes her journey in vivid detail in this memoir, sharing tales of sailing in rough seas, of solitude and surprises, of finding connection to the earth and dedication to living in harmony with it. The stories are overflowing with wild waves and constant challenges, at the whim of the weather, of relationships sweet and sour, of nature's marvels and colorful cultures.
As someone who recently got caught by the sailing bug, this book is full of inspiration (although I will never never be as brave as her).