Builders and Creators, Effective Entrepreneurship, Small Bets and the Resonance Test

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Sep 14 2020 | Entrepreneurship

A collection of 100 things on the future of work and the startup of you.

Part I

The Future and Now

Azeem Azhar's Exponential View is a weekly guide on the future of accelerating technologies, business and society.

Dazed Media's created a thought-provoking, trend report The Era of Monomass on youth culture, branding and media in 2020.

Patrick OShaughnessy's Twitter crowdsourced, most interesting business essays that were read in 2020.  Out of that list, this Andreeson and Horowitz essay on moats stood out.

Superintelligence is coming. It's like Inception. Hard to wrap your head around and what it'll mean for humans.

ARK Investing's Big Ideas gives you a picture of what the future of tech could look like and the areas with deep opportunities.

As a society, we don't have much of a clue of what we're doing or where we're going. Tim Urban on being wise in the world of 2020, says we'll have to keep reinventing the wisdom wheel.  

As an individual, how should you make sense of constant uncertainty? It might be worth reading the eye-opening 12 Rules for Life by psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson for answers. Or you can read my full summary of it.

Builders and Small Giants

A post-pandemic world will look very different to the pre-pandemic world.

The 2020s will be the Remote Work decade.

Here's 7 Builders Who Will Thrive In The New World according to Brianne Kimmel.

The future of work. The passion economy. The creative economy. These macro trends all point to the seismic shifts in the ways we work and live. Li Jin, a venture capitalist in that space writes about the passion economy and how work is decoupling from employment.

If you are a creator in this new economy, your job is to Find 1000 True Fans.

Not every business wants to be the biggest. Small Giants is about companies that choose to be great instead of big.

Sahil Lavingia, the founder of Gumroad, an online platform that enables creators to sell products directly to consumers shares his thoughts on how to monetize creativity and solo-preneurship.

What are you tending to? What are you taking care of? The internet is home to more and more digital gardeners and virtual librarians.

Gamification doesn't just apply to games, it's used widely in marketing, products, and platforms. That's a great thing, otherwise there wouldn't be avatar social networks like Eternal.

How to Build the Future

There are plenty of boring, difficult, complex problems in the world to solve and people with the funds to invest in you if you try solving them.

Those taking on such problems are building the future.

Blake Scholl, Founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic is doing just that. His company is tackling the boring and difficult problem of slow air travel by building the world's fastest airliner. Innovation of this kind is so exciting.

On a slightly different note, National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen on what it takes to succeed in the business of doing difficult things.

Peter Thiel and Blake Master's Zero to One is a classic read for the entrepreneurial. It's filled with unconventional wisdom on startups and how to build the future. I wrote a very short thread which summarizes the book's key ideas.

Part II


How can ambitious and entrepreneurial people create opportunities for themselves? Paul Graham's advice is to make what people want.

There are massive opportunities in second order thinking and inventions.

What's better than solving problems? Preventing them.


When it comes to business success, the market a company operates in matters. So does the amount of demand there is for a need to be met. It matters for startups and funds, small businesses as well as product teams.

The Law of the Mind, from 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing states that it's better to be the best in mind than to be the best in market.

Here's Elizabeth Yin's take on why marketing is eating the world.

Pandora's product prioritization system which captures 70 million monthly active users is one worth knowing about.

Why the Impossible Burger sells so well, according to Impossible Food's former Head of Global Sales.


Great products stand out from the crowd. Here are a few that I enjoy.

Ungrabbed - the idea behind it is brilliant.'s email experience is light and sleek. Say hello, I'm at

Roam Research is amazing. I use it for work and writing every single day.


When it comes to information, there are 8 qualities that are better than free.

What makes a good story? How do titles from a magazine like the The New Yorker tell captivating stories in one liners?

The key is to think in headlines.

A copywriting tip from Harry's Marketing Examples: "No one cares what you can do, everyone cares what you can do for them."

Looks Like You Need Iceland is what we all need from Iceland's official tourism site.


Writing is thinking on paper. And good writing is underrated.

Paul Graham is not only an investor in companies like Airbnb, Reddit and Stripe, but he is also a great writer.

80% of good writing is to write simple.

An essay that's worth writing is one that you care deeply about.

In his classic On Writing Well, William Zinsser famously said that "Rewriting is the essence of writing well."

A simple heuristic for content - if it's novel, useful and memorable, then it'll transform people.

I use the ABCD Framework to edit my own writing. It stands for what's Awesome, Boring, Confusing, and Didn't you believe.

Product Management

I go to Shreyas Doshi for all things Product Management related. As a non-PM, I find that the principles can be applied to other areas as well.

Here's Product Management in one tweet.

A list of things you can do to get better at product. Whether you're a Product Manager or not, you can take this and apply it to any role and work.

Empathy is a valuable skill to have in Product Management. And there are different types of empathy to know.


Being effective is better than being productive. Effectiveness means you're getting the results you're after, instead of doing work for work's sake.

Naval puts it elegantly: Time spent has nothing to do with job done.

The LNO Effectiveness Framework is the best I've come across for identifying the tasks that will have the greatest impact on your work.

Another framework for effectiveness is 'WAYRTTD', which stands for 'What Are You Really Trying To Do?'

Strive for High Agency. It's better to be a go getter than to be a cog in the wheel.


Naval's Twitter popular 'How To Get Rich' is a tweetstorm of timeless principles on how to build wealth without getting lucky.

George Mack, another person who shares valuable mental models with the world. His thread on Josh Waitzkin's 5 mental models has my favourite mental model: Internal locus of control.

John @elamje makes dense summary threads of the best Twitter accounts - I guarantee you'll learn something reading any of them.

Part III

The Startup of You

People are entrepreneurial by nature. As an individual, you can apply the same principles of building a startup to yourself.

Your career is a game. Play it well. The odds of you succeeding matter.

A movie producer's principles on whether a film project is worth pursuing also apply to creating and investing in businesses.

Concepts that have incredibly high ROI for your career.

Invest your time like you would invest your money.

James Clear on working your way into the top 10% in any skill. Takeaway: It doesn't take as long as people think to get there, but most won't do it.

It might be advantageous to not to speed through the early stages of anything, especially your career.


Lenny Rachitsky asked on Twitter, What's the best career advice you got in your 20s? Of all the responses, one stood out: Don't be the best; be the only.

To be a linchpin means being indispensable.

Have a spiky point of view or two. The more the better.

David Perell on building your own Personal Monopoly. To take that further, build personal credibility instead of a personal brand.

Once you've built credibility, people will start listening to you.

By the same token, people with believability are those whose subject matter opinion should count more.

How to have your skin in the game? Try answering your own question.


How should you build a solid foundation for your career? Start small and be consistent for a long time.

Take small bets where your chances of succeeding are high and the downsides are low.

Creating something from what you've learnt might be the most effective way to learn.

Soft skills are as technical as hard skills. Learn to sharpen them.


Having an audience is an asset.

Don't start 50 side projects and not finish them.

Anti-goals are the things you dislike and want to avoid. Mine include managing people and hosting events.

Knowing what not to do with my time is as important as knowing what to do with it. That's why I keep a not to do list.

People gravitate towards transparency and personal stories. Alex Llull says they work. And Daniel Vassallo shows they work.

Jack Butcher's tiny goal to change your life: Make $1 online. Have any ideas? Let me know.


Daniel Vassallo on why Only Intrinsic Motivation Lasts.

Nat Eliason uses the resonance test to make trade-offs between which projects to work on as an entrepreneur.

According to Robert Greene, there are two versions of time - alive time and dead time. Alive time is when you're actively growing and learning. Dead time is when you're sitting around waiting for things to happen.

There's such a thing as good procrastination. It's when you do something that's more important than the thing you're supposed to be working on.

Anyone ambitious has to face the question "What's the best thing you could be working on, and why aren't you?"

Occasionally, I enjoy what I'm doing so much that I don't notice the time passing. It's one of the best feelings one can have.

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