July 10, 2019 - Existential dread, screen time, drugs and venture capital.July 11
Thank you for subscribing to Smash Notes podcast. This week's episode is one of the best to date.
Here is what's included.
Happiness: Sahil Lavingia is the founder of Gumroad, a company that helps creatives make money from their passion. Sahil has gone from being the second employee at Pinterest, to being featured on Forbes 30 Under 30, to living in a small town in Utah with a failing startup and fading glory in hands. All of that has taught him a thing or two about life, and the universe. Conclusion? Life is a series of distractions from existential dread.
Startups: Jonathan Sposato is a Seattle-based entrepreneur, and the only founder to have ever sold two companies to Google. He has been a local investor and leader for a number of years, and at one point decided he would only be investing in women entrepreneurs.
What makes women entrepreneurs so special?
Related: How do you get the best deals in venture capital?
Education & Parenting: How much screen time is too much for your kids? There has been a lot of articles lately talking about screen time, how awful it is for the kids, and how rich people actually don't let their kids do any of it. But, one successful millionaire has a very different view. David Heinemeier Hansson thinks it's okay to let kids have as much screen time, as they want. He might be right, what do you think?
Health and Fitness: Did you know cigarettes are really bad for you? Yup, cigarettes give you cancer! But did you know that coffee can kill you too?
Please don't try this at home. It won't be good for my subscriber statistics.
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And now let's dive right in.
First up is Courtland,
Interviewing So he living yet on Indy Hacker podcast?
If you haven't heard the whole episode yet,
I highly recommend you check out smash notes and then figure out which parts you want to listen to.
There's a ton, a ton of good jams in there, and the one I want to share with you right now is one. Where is the hell talks about the meaning of life, the universe and everything
you tweeted about a week ago?
That life is a series of distractions from existential dread.
Is that what come road is for you?
it was a little bit of Ah,
hopefully a little bit of,
sarcastic sort of tweet by.
I think I think it is true in a large sense that,
like at the end of the day,
the problems that plague us have plagued humanity since before technology in before software and probably before money and writing on those problems will stay the same and and be the same.
Even when we have,
a Dyson sphere around some star and we're all you know,
we have invented teleportation and stuff like we're still gonna be like crap.
What are we doing?
What? What's the point of all of this crap? But I think that's yeah. I think it's just sort of this acknowledgment that, like we all suffer from sort of the same demons that we all deal with the same rough problems and and, you know, we can distract ourselves, and it's okay to call them distractions, because I think of the day like, you know, gum wrote an apple. And Microsoft and Facebook are all just tiny, tiny, tiny things in the in the span of the universe, or the multi verse or whatever scientists have discovered so far. And to me,
it's it's a sense of freedom to be like. It lowers the stakes in some sense, and it lets me kind of do what I feel like doing instead of trying to, like, solve the world's problems. And, you know, I'm sure some people disagree with that. But I think for me at least, it's like, look like we can really get riled up about all of the things that plague our society and spend every waking second trying to fix that and getting everybody to vote and doing all of these sorts of things. But I think at the end of the day there's like I think it's important to recognize that, like the world looks the way it looks and it will roughly look the way it looks 50 years from now and these things will change certainly. But I don't know. I feel like we have a lot less impact on them and then we think I think that Steve Jobs didn't mend the iPhone. Someone else would have been like we can care about these problems,
what we should care about them and work towards them in a way that helps ourselves and like makes sure that we are feeling fulfilled and happy and doing things for our own sake as well, because everything is a distraction. I think from the shore of the Corps lived experience, which is happening on our deep sort of subconscious. I think we're not that different from ants in that sense. Like we look at Anson, sure, they're doing stuff, but like, they're sort of playing a role in a larger thing. And I think at the end of the day, like humans, humans believe that, too. And and I think actually, one of the that's one of the things I really picked up,
I think living in Provo, which is, you know, as you mentioned, 89% Mormon and even they believe, sure, you know, like they believe and actually much more significance to the mortal realm because they believe it has, like, a very important purpose in the grand scheme of things. But also they believe in the insignificance of it. Because if you think of eternal life like this 70 80 90 years you have on this planet, it's gonna be nothing. I mean, compared to any of that stuff, you know,
And so I think it gives it I think I copied a little bit of their perspective to which is, like, you know, do the best you can and hopefully there's something on the other side and that side is gonna be way better than anything we have here. It doesn't mean you should just, like, sit around and wait to die or something like that. But, you know, it's like do what you can and do what you feel is right and what your conscience approves up. And if we all sort of do that, I think the world's gonna be as good as it can be. But, you know, true, killing yourself over something is gonna do.
Not much more, you know. So if you want to kill yourself over something because you want to learn a lot or because you want to really help somebody, that's great. But just sort of, I think, just for me it was it was about perspective, um is about Yeah, I can totally kill myself, but but it's It's really important to just yeah, to keep everything in perspective as well and be present in the moment and and, uh, and take a break and like, you know, not over optimized every single thing that I do with my life. It's okay to just watch Netflix for an hour or two.
This, you know, it's another distraction. You know. Everything is distraction. I think it sort of levels the playing field. It's not like going to the gym versus Netflix versus doing a startup, and I have to priority stack everything. These are all just the same sort of thing. There are a lot closer together than we think we just are. So that's all we see on DSO. They look really different, but if you sort of expand your mind a little bit, I think they're there. They're all basically the
same interesting perspective,
We might think we're so different from each other from the way we were 102 100,000 years ago.
But if you think about it deeply,
if you really think about what we do in day to day basis,
it's not all that different.
if you need to pause this podcast for a little bit and ponder that segment for a couple of minutes,
I totally understand it's really hard to continue anywhere once you've discussed the meaning of life.
But since we're really talking about existential challenges,
I figured I'd bring up another one.
And that's female entrepreneurs who are not getting nearly as much attention and start world as white male dudes.
that's starting to change.
And as more women enter intra premiership and become,
more and more female entrepreneurs are getting funded.
And there's an investor here in Seattle who a couple of years ago took a hard stance and said that he's going to invest just and female entrepreneurs. His name is Jonathan Sposato. Here's Jonathan talking on what fuels your podcast, about the reasons that he chose to invest solely in female entrepreneurs and where that sector is going in the future. So the things that lead me were that yeah, like less than three. It's 2.7% of all venture capital funding is allocated to female founded startups. There are clear differences, and we have to acknowledge it. Equality doesn't mean that men and women are the same. It means that they have the same opportunity. So so the thing that we have to acknowledge is that Harvard thing, where if you're the same identical pitch deck, the same business, same startup company. If a man is pitching it versus a woman to man,
a 68% more likely to get funded than a woman, right? And it has to do with Carol Gilligan in a different voice stuff. All that research that goes back 25 years, about how boys and girls we buy for Kate at an early age in terms of how we communicate and somehow in society, we buy us towards a more mail communication as being more authoritative as being more leader, like as being more trustworthy. So So it's that stuff that I was trying to highlight and to also
solve for when you're also saying
this is a problem. And also there's a direct correlation between success and having a woman either on the board or at the helm as far as yes, a lot of fat. Yeah, they're just Just adding three women to your board of directors increases your profitability by 26%
of those numbers alone. I mean,
you're not doing this for from a social work perspective, you know,
because you're an investor.
It I would say it's both.
I think that I am getting both.
I think long term will prove out a higher return on my investment because I think,
first of all,
I'm a bit of a contrarian investor anyway,
and I think that's consistent with the way that I've talked about my life.
That's more Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby.
You do the thing that's kind of a little more unexpected or outside,
so so I think that there's going to be some interesting results in a few years.
I hope they have.
One thing that I want to sort of get off my chest recently is is I hate it when people speak in platitudes and everything's,
It's it's because it's not right.
Um, if I had one thing to get off my chest, it is this sense that look, I'm doing what I'm doing because I believe in it. I have no. And if you're cynical about that, I'm sorry. You're saying move along. Nothing to see here. I'm not trying to be patronizing. I've had I have that some You know, Uh, this isn't a very minor. It's like, you know, I'm thinking 1% or something,
but but smart, educated white women tell me it's really patronising to see a man talk about these issues. It just is patronizing. There are days when when it, you know, it's funny how your subconscious works. There are days when the phrase no good deed goes unpunished, pops into my head, and by the way, I get it that it's optically it looks like, Oh, if you don't read my book and if you don't know anything about my back story, it looks like it just appears like Here's a man who's maybe privileged and I've never defined myself that way as a non white that there's an outside. But here's a man who's privileged who somehow mansplaining to women what they can do better. That is not what I'm doing. I'm telling you,
I'm talking to the men. I'm talking to the 97% of all CEOs who are male. I'm talking to 93% of all board board members in corporate America who are male to the 88% of all elected officials who are male. I'm talking to them about how they can make more room and do better. Isn't a fascinating you could be honestly trying to do the right thing and you still get in trouble because people question your motives about doing the right thing and maybe tried to stop you from doing it by questioning your judgment to your motives, et cetera. It's it's fascinating, but you know what? I think Jonathan is right for doing what he's doing from both human, social and investment perspective. In fact, I think I can back it up. Here's a quick segment from a podcast called the Knowledge Project. It's an interview between Shane Parish and Josh Wolff and just Wolf. He's a co founder of LAX Capital. Josh is sharing his secret on finding the best deals in venture capital.
You operate him one of the most competitive markets in the world. Everybody wants to get an edge, and understanding, like everybody, is that they're trying to do that like, what are you doing? That's different.
Part of it is understanding. First of what is everybody else looking at? And then you try to find the white space where people not looking at and I would argue public markets about a lot harder because you have a universe of companies, those that universe of companies is known, and then people are basically diagnosing whether something is undervalued, overvalued. If there have higher expectations than what the fundamentals support and and and that's relatively, you know,
inefficient market in venture capital. It's a really inefficient market because there is no known universe. You and I could be
talking in a private room,
and we could decide that we're going to start up a company tomorrow,
and nobody else knows that information.
And in fact,
if you accept the premise that the best way to predict the future is to invent it,
the people who are inventing it,
our asymmetrically distributed.
So there's a scientist or a group of scientists in a lab.
Or there's an entrepreneur who teams with a scientist,
and my job is to find those people and persuade them that I'm the best partner as they persuade me that their science envision Israel before everybody else does.
And so we always say,
even in venture capital,
you could argue is the most lemming like feel that there is right.
one company gets done and then there's 100 followers.
We're trying to find something that we think nobody else has discovered are found,
and we actually, even though we view ourselves contrarian, we want us. We want people to agree with us just later. There you go. You heard it here first. The key to success is not to have people agree with you now, but it's to do something that's going to give you an edge and have everybody agree with you that that was the right thing to do later. Which reminds me, You know it's gonna be really cool in a couple of years from now. Smash notes. When you able to get all of your podcasts in the written form and get just the best bits that right for you now that's going to be really special. So here's our last for you, my listeners. If you were truly enjoying this and you've heard your favorite podcast or a new podcast that you really liked, could you let them know on Twitter email over ever,
you interact with those podcasters. Just tell them that you heard about them on smash notes, and you really enjoy that, and you'd like to have more of their segments transcribed on smash notes. And, of course, if there's a podcast that you know is awesome, but I haven't covered yet on any of the episodes of smashing ALS. Please email me feedback at smash nose dot com and let me know, and I'm gonna try to listen to some episodes and get them on the show. And now let's switch gears and talk about education and health and dude, dude, T o t o do do do
This segment goes out to all the parents are there who are wondering how much screen time is good for their kids. Here's D H H David Hannah, my Hanson, the inventor of Ruby on rails and base camp, talking about his kid and what David thinks is a good amount of screen time for the kids.
According to DHH, his kids can have as much screen time as they want because scarcity only builds desire, and once he's let kids watch all the TV and to play all the video games, they got bored and found other activities. The key here is to have other activities available so that once kids are ready, they do have something more interesting to do than just play games or to watch TV.
I pretty strong believer,
sometime to moon detriment of my happiness in the short term of letting kids figure out their own limits.
So another sort of parenting thing is like,
how much screen time do you allow your kids to have?
How much time can they sit in front of an iPad to do it?
And my general principle there is you can sit in front and I play it as long as you want.
And until you're tired of it and know what happens,
they get tired of it.
At least that's what happened in the case of my son,
Like when you first got that,
he was like,
This is the greatest thing ever.
And he was on it for,
I don't know,
three hours before hours a day far beyond the limit of what clever people supposedly say.
You should have let me do a screen time to one hour a day. Why would I wanna build up a sense of scar City that, like this is scarcity overvotes it, right? Yeah. More valuable. I'm gonna want to do it more when I can have it less. Yeah. So our strategy, at least in the in the broad sense of it, have been You just play your iPad as much as you want. And what happened? There was an intense face off using the iPad Aton. And then there was the face of realizing action. I'm done with this. I'm bored. Let's play with some toy cars built in Lagos. So maybe
it's actually not that bad.
Let your kids have some screen time.
I really like David's point about scarcity and how restricting screen time on Lee builds value and more demand for that experience,
while is if you let them over saturate Ah ah on video games of screen time that eventually they get bored and the key there at the very end.
I don't know if you got it,
but the key is to have something else available.
Wants to get bored,
that they can switch over books,
something that will be more enticing to continue with.
after listening to this segment,
my wife brought up a very important point that this works in theory.
But current viewing experiences,
YouTube or TV or games are designed more and more to draw kids in and to never let them out of that experience.
So maybe in simple games, the ones we used to play 20 years ago we would get saturated and stop and move on. But the important question is, does it still happen or ah, this new experiences really designed to never let our kids out of the Matrix? That's something to ponder on. I was hoping to switch the gears and thinks I'm happy thoughts, but we're just getting more and more existential in here. In which case, why don't we just finish with drugs? I e coffee and cigarettes. So this next episode is about how cigarettes kill you in case you didn't know fun fact, cigarettes, costs, cancer, or as much as we know they dio. And here's exactly how it happens.
how does all this work?
Why your cigarettes so bad?
what are they actually doing?
I think we should go in a little bit of,
even though it might be a bit of a drag.
So you light up a cigarette,
you take a match,
you inhale deeply and that oxygen and that flame,
that causes the tobacco leaves to ignite.
Releasing the smoke as you breathe it in,
down the smoke goes posture.
Lips your tongue,
your mouth down the back of your throat deep into your lungs. Smoke carries with drugs like nicotine that get absorbed through the lung and into the blood and sent to the brain where it triggers a pleasurable, desirable response. It's done its job, the job for which it was intended. I am in flavor country, but wait that smoke also contains thousands of other chemicals. So other than just causing pleasure, thes chemicals can also cause cancer and do lots of serious damage. The chemicals seep into the cells locally, but they also permeate into the blood. They attack your D N a. All over your body, causing errors called mutations, and the cells will they try to repair themselves. But the chemicals they just keep attacking,
and over time, this can lead to cancer, not just cancer of the lungs, the cancer of the tongue, the mouth but through the kidneys. Generous skin. Everywhere you see, you've sent those chemicals all through your body and not just cancer. The skin gets damaged from the reduced oxygen supply and the construction of the vessels, causing rapid, premature aging with deep wrinkles called smokers skin that makes people look sick. And all decades before their time. It goes to the heart, where it constricts blood vessels and accelerates the production of plaques that can rupture and kill the heart in a heart attack to the Penis with a damage control, vent the patient from getting an erection, the ovaries where it reduces fertility.
It causes COPD chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This is where the lung tissue itself gets big holes in it and scarring the damaged lung doesn't work properly. It can't exchange oxygen, the physical smoke particles of court by cells called macrophages and sit for years as the body tries to digest them but often fails. This produces dark lung tissue. It once bright, healthy tissue resided. In the end, many smokers need bottles of oxygen with them wherever they go. Just the work of breathing becomes enormous. For them, it takes so much energy that they become thin and frail. You see, smoking doesn't just detect the lungs. It attacks the whole person from the inside out on That's tobacco.
Well, that was fabulous. Doesn't sound like a very pleasant way to kill oneself. This was an episode cold up and smoke from one of my favorite podcast called This one hurt a bit as usually confined on smash notes. But seriously, though, if you need to kill yourself, smoking sounds like an awful awful way, and there's a much faster, ah, more exciting way that they sell its Starbucks. It's cold drumroll coffee. Yep, turns out coffee can actually kill you. So here's another episode from this one hurt a bit on caffeine, and what's the most dangerous way to consume coffee?
Standard eight ounce cup of coffee has about 100 to 200 milligrams of Kevin and then a five hour energy.
That tiny little bottle that's got 215 milligrams.
Then there's a really strong cup of coffee.
It's called Death Wish Coffee,
so you can imagine so eight Answers of Death Wish coffee has wait for it 440 milligrams,
so more than twice What a standard cup of coffee.
But you know,
the most dangerous way to consume caffeine is pure caffeine powder.
One tea spoon has 3200 milligrams.
That's approaching the lethal dose.
So that's like 10 or 20 cups of coffee in one little taste.
and you could just buy this online.
my name is David Teats, and I'm an emergency department pharmacist at the Cleveland Clinic, so the recommended max is around 400 milligrams, but the toxic amount in adults is 10 to 20 grams, or the equivalent of about 100 cups of coffee to high doses. Can actually be fatal, so it takes a lot of caffeine to kill you. But it's pretty easy to get to that level of caffeine with these highly concentrated caffeine patters that's actually unregulated because it's considered a dietary supplement by the FDA and well, tended 20 grams may sound like a lot. That's actually only about one tablespoon of that powdered form to be fatal. That's right. One tablespoon can kill you. That is. That's insane. I can't even go into
target without getting carted to buy Nike Will. And you can buy this stuff online. Well, they're kids. You're hurt is one teaspoon of sugar makes the medicine go down and one tablespoon of coffee can kill you.
But seriously, please don't do this at home. It could seriously impact my listening in numbers. And I like you folks, so please stick around. Well, at least till next week. And this concludes this edition of smash notes. If you like this episode, please tell your friends podcast about it together. And lastly, you can actually listen to any episode of Smash knows that you haven't listened to yet and it would sound just like you give it a try. All right. See you next week. Seriously, don't do that. Caffeine powder. That sounds awful. Goodbye,