First, master fundamentals. Then, play infinite games.
What I do
I try to simplify the mastery of complex subjects:
- I pick a skill I want to be good at.
- I research and experiment to uncover its principles. I question assumptions behind its conventional teaching. Best practices are often suboptimal.
- I get my hands dirty. Because the "difference between knowledge and wisdom is experience,” and I need experience to teach others.
- I rewrite until I have a handbook that is effective, interesting, and concise.
- I release the handbook for free. Each one takes approximately 1,000 hours.
Handbooks instead of books
Surprisingly, books are a relatively poor medium for education and discussion:
- Books become outdated, whereas I update my handbooks a few times per year.
- Books lack audio and video, which are at times critical for effective teaching.
- Books contain boring filler to reach page count requirements.
- Book excerpts can't be linked. So, people rarely return to re-read.
My startup is Demand Curve, a Y Combinator-funded training program that teaches companies and individuals to become expert marketers. Our clients include Microsoft, Imperfect Produce, Perfect Keto, and hundreds of others.
I also write a marketing column for TechCrunch and occasionally appear on podcasts to talk about marketing, including Indie Hackers and Mixergy.
In my free time, I write handbooks and blog posts on Julian.com. I'm grateful to say they've been read by millions.
Before Demand Curve, I started NameLayer, a domain name inventory that sold domains to startups and Fortune 500's. After our launch, I wrote the guide that startups consult when choosing a name. NameLayer was later acquired by Techstars.
I also created Velocity, a popular animation library used by Samsung, Uber, WhatsApp, and thousands more. I published a book on it via Pearson. Velocity was awarded the Stripe Open Source Grant. I was interviewed about my open source work on Forbes.
- It's said that one's character is revealed at their lowest point. If true, most people are not good (as we typically define goodness). We're moral insofar as we want others to think we are. Or because it's the least frictious way to behave socially. However, as supported by The Holocaust and slavery, the majority is morally corruptible.
- Children should be inspired by action, not by heroes. Heroes are a recipe for disillusionment. (See the prior point — or facepalm at Elon Musk's Twitter feed.) Instead, we should study and admire one's virtues, habits, and accomplishments. Separate those from the individual and reverse engineer how they were developed and how they work.
- Humility should not be a virtue. This misguided notion of humility is a holdover from religion's moral reign. Certainly, you shouldn't be a boastful jerk. However, exist halfway there: Proactively share your awesome achievements so they inspire others to do great things themselves. That's how the human spirit thrives. (See the prior point.) When sharing, focus on the awesomeness of the achievement, not on the awesomeness of yourself.
- Always talk to multiple doctors. Doctors do not spontaneously gain integrity upon earning an MD. (See the first point.) They're like everyone else. Because there's no scoreboard to assess a doctor's competency, treat doctors like salespeople: shop around and compare. Why? Doctors flub procedures regularly. They knowingly over-prescribe drugs. They knowingly prescribe without proper diligence. They knowingly practice outdated knowledge from medical school 20 years ago. You are not necessarily in good hands. "What do you call a medical student who graduated last in their class? Doctor."
- Free college is beside the point. Some people shouldn't go to college in the first place. It's four years of your life. If you (1) don't need a degree for your desired career path and (2) are a self-starter who doesn't need to be cajoled, it's possible you shouldn't go. Instead, recreate its benefits in a way that gives you more freedom, more results, and less debt: After high school, move to a new city. Recreate yourself. Consume online education and buy textbooks. Expose yourself to community: have roommates, socialize, and join clubs. Be in control of your educational trajectory and wholeheartedly lean into your passions.
Rick and Morty
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