Take control

While feeling all the uncertainty and sadness that’s coming from the elections results all around the world, I’ve been wondering just how much I’m impacted by it all.

I think that politics is an important aspect of our life and that people that go out there to truly serve their communities are heroes, but for some types of people this path just isn’t interesting.

It’s just like working in a big corporation.

Why in the world would you go to work for a huge company, owned by no one, where you have zero influence over it and which has all the influence over you?

But many people do, and many people like it. And many people like being in politics and only being able to change one thing every decade.

But that’s not good enough for the kind of people I’m thinking about.

Entrepreneurs don’t like it when a random majority of people decides for their future.

We like to take control of our own destiny. Make our own mistakes. And then learn, fast, to not make them again.

This, I think, is the reason why entrepreneurs feel this weird feeling of sadness even if they don’t really like or care about politics.

They don’t like the thought of not being in control, and having other people decide for them.

Well, luckily we can take control of most aspects of our life:

  • We can decide where we live, with whom we spend time with, where we work, on what and with whom.
  • We can decide how our mental cycles are spent, what we want to learn about, and how to use that knowledge.
  • We’re in control of what we buy and who we buy it from.
  • We’re in control of our financial life, of our emotions and ultimately of our future.

So, don’t think about politics — leave that to people who enjoy it — and take control of what you have the power to change. It’s more than you think.

Take control

Reflections and learnings as I turn 30

Today I turn 30. I’m not really sure why, but having revolved 30 times around the sun seems to be somewhat of a milestone. I’ll still take the opportunity to reflect on life so far, and what I want it to be in the future.

Sam Altman shared some really good stuff when he did, and I don’t plan on competing. I also don’t plan on releasing 1200+ slides like Ryan Allis did, even tho you should really check them out.

At 30 I find myself very happy in a period of total uncertainty, and wonder how I got here. My life certainly didn’t go according to plan till today, but I must admit I’ve had an unfairly easy time for now.

What I’m happy about is that I don’t have any regrets whatsoever. I’ve always taken decisions very fast and mostly based on gut feeling, and I think this is how I’ll continue to take them in the future.

From not pursuing a Masters degree, moving to SF, getting married, having a kid, moving to the mountains.. if you don’t take the decision, it will not happen. And if you wait for the perfect time or reason, it will never happen.

I found that inertia has to be actively fought, but that life gives you the right clues which are very evident. You just have to act on them.

The regret minimization framework

During these last years, I’ve questioned more and more what I do to make sure that it actually aligns with what I want to be doing and what impact I want to have on the world. I think this shows in the portfolio of Mission and Market, and in the motivations that led me to start Kickpay.

What I’ve found most useful to make these and other decisions is the very simple and probably obvious “regret minimization framework”, illustrated by Jeff Bezos when he explained how he decided to found Amazon.

Up to today, this has made it very easy to answer a lot of questions.

  • Would I regret marrying my wife so young? Hells no.
  • Would I regret having kids at a young age? Nope.
  • Would I regret burning my life working and not spending time with my amazing wife and family? Most definitely.
  • Would I regret trying to move to the mountains and live more in harmony with nature, even if it would mean saying no to a lot of cool business and work proposals? Definitely not.

And so now I’m once again left with the question: what would I regret (not) doing when I’m old?

What I’m starting to think more and more is that I would regret a lot not being more active in helping protect the planet from our own uncontrolled growth and consequent devastation.

Leaving a worse planet to my kids than the one I found seems to be too much of a burden to have when you’re old.

As much as I think government will be the #1 driver of change in this matter, I do believe that startups have a lot to say and do about it.

So given that this is all that I’ve been doing for the past years, I think that I’ll have to be more involved in finding, helping, investing in, founding, startups that have a clear goal to preserve our natural resources.

Fortunately this is getting easier by the day with amazing technological innovations happening all around us from nano materials to biotech, AI, financial technology, logistics, and more.

What I’ve found is that investing in companies like Aspiration, Clara Foods, Vitro Labs, has made me more proud than anything else I’ve done and thus think that this could be a clear indication of the path to take.

We’ll see where it leads.

Bonus: some random thoughts on different aspects (some of these are more reminders for myself, but maybe they can be helpful for others.):

On relationships:

  • Marry the smartest woman you can find. The advantages are so many more than the disadvantages.
  • Marry someone that is not like you but that likes the same things you do, and more importantly values the same values that you hold.
  • Nurture your relationship every day, it’s so easy to give it for granted and let it all slip until it eventually breaks. And you do not want that.
  • You only have two parents. Spend time with them and care for them. You’ll soon be in their position.

On money:

  • The best way to make more than you spend, is to spend little money in the first place.
  • The saying that money doesn’t buy happiness is a myth. Unfortunately our world still revolves around sovereign debt money, and to pay for what makes you happy you will need to have sovereign currency.
  • This is very different from saying that materialism produces happiness, quite the contrary — but in my opinion you need more than your basic needs to be happy.

My experience has been that happiness comes from:

  • 1) loving other people and being able to provide for them (money enables this).
  • 2) Having the freedom to live wherever you want and freedom to do whatever work you want (this is also usually enabled by financial security. Ingenuity is a part of it but without money it has too much risk for most people)
  • 3) Experiences: travel, sport, food with friends, etc. (all of which are enabled by money).
  • In short, money (not a stupid amount of it, but enough) buys happiness for me, but the line is short. Having said that, it’s better to not have much money rather than being miserable trying to make a lot of it.

On kids:

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