Investing our most valuable asset
Spend your time working on things that are meaningful to you.
Most people my age are currently in the process of entering the real world. We're trying to figure out where we'd like to invest our most valuable asset, time. Specifically, where we would like to spend the bulk of our professional lives.
Personally, I'm pretty sure I want to join an early-stage startup or start something of my own. The thing is, there are literally so many things I could be doing to reach my goals. I could be pursuing one of the dozens of startup ideas in my Notion workspace, but I have no idea what to pursue — or even if I should at this point in my life!
What are you optimizing for?
I think it's all about what you are personally optimizing for. It's different for everyone. For many people, this could be money. For others, it could be impact, influence, learning, or personal growth.
For me, I'm want to learn how to build a successful software business from an engineering and product perspective, which is why I decided to join a high-growth startup this summer. If I was optimizing in the short-term for money or influence, I'd probably dedicate my time to something else, like building a profitable business or growing my personal brand.
On startup ideas
The other day, I was catching up with my friend Mihir Garimella, where we chatted about our tendency to "overfilter" ideas, where we often dismiss ideas because they aren't "the one". In a world where there's so much opportunity, how do we decide what and why to work on something? At what point do we go all in? In other words, how do we generate absolute conviction?
My short answer is that I don't know, but it has to be something worthwhile —
At the end of the day, you've got to be doing something that is meaningful to you. Otherwise, there's no point and you're probably wasting your time.
note: a lot of people say that it's never too late to start / join a startup early. to some extent, I agree, but my personal risk tolerance and ambition (and therefore potential upside on anything I do) is probably something like 2-3x higher in my 20s as opposed to my 30s (family life, etc.), which is why I'm thinking about this stuff now, even though I'm still in school.