This is the Monday Medley, a newsletter that goes out, you guessed it, every Monday. I republish it here for sharing and referencing, but if you'd like to sign up you can do so right here:
Thanks for all the feedback on the audio version of the Medley. We're going to keep it going, so you can listen to this Medley as a podcast by searching "Nat Chat" in any podcast player.
Not too much new this week, but I added my notes on The Power Broker to The Brain. It's a great book, but I think you have to have spent some time in NYC to really appreciate it. I'm also not sure how much I actually liked it vs. feel like I have to have liked it considering how insanely long it is. Kinda like how I feel about Infinite Jest.
Alright, on to the Medley!
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👼 I really liked this article from Tucker Max on "Why I Stopped Angel Investing." I started doing some angel investing last year, and Max points out a lot of very real issues with angel investing in general.
The reason I do it is because I've seen how much I can test ideas and products through this newsletter, and it gives me very early insight into things that could do well. That's why I'll pretty exclusively invest in things I know I can share here. Which is an idea he references in the article, too: "Let me be super clear about this: all the great deals I got into were because of my social network. That’s it. No other reason."
But he also makes a really good point that a great product is not enough for a company to become successful, the team behind it has to be strong enough too. This is quite a bit harder to evaluate from the outside, especially early on, and is something I want to think about figuring out how to assess a bit better.
I've thought about starting to write short blog posts about the things I'm investing in and sharing my reasoning on them. I think that'd be really good personal accountability for thinking things through instead of just being impulsive like I normally prefer to be.
❄️ Speaking of early stage investing, this is a great breakdown of when you should exercise your options at an early stage company. I didn't realize what a massive tax benefits there was to doing it as early as possible.
📈 For personal wealth building, Nick Maggiuli published a good piece on the best income producing assets for growing wealth. One thing he included I hadn't heard much talk about before is buying song and other royalties, which sounds kinda fun. Though I'm still very much in the "I don't want to invest in things I can't affect the outcome for."
👏 If you're into the whole startup VC investing world, this was a nice roundup of great tweets and lessons from Startup L Jackson on Twitter.
🤯 And for a case study in what turned out to be an insanely great investment, check out this memo from Bessemer Venture Partners on their decision to invest $7mm in Shopify 10 years ago when it was worth $20mm. Today Shopify is worth a bit over $100b.
🙏 I've been working on getting more into YouTube, and have been getting some great advice and tips from Ali Abdaal and Thomas Frank.
📹 One thing I've been doing in some of my free time this week is working through Ali's Skillshare course on Final Cut Pro X for YouTubing. It's a great intro to Final Cut for someone like me who has no familiarity with it, especially since it's an overwhelming tool at first glance.
🏹 I published my first video since starting to follow his course this morning, about my first day practicing archery. This felt insanely awkward and weirdly vulnerable to me, probably because I feel so inadequate with video editing compared to writing. But I know it'll just take a lot of practice and time to get good enough to feel happier with my work.
🏋️♂️ This is the first writeup I've seen of Peter Attia's great concept of the "Centenarian Olympics." As you get older, instead of training in abstract, you should train for the kinds of things you'd like to be able to do when you're 100 years old. Attia gives a few examples:
Get up off the floor without support.
Pull yourself out of a pool.
Pick up a child that’s running at you.
Walk up and down three flights of stairs with 10 lbs. of groceries in each hand.
Lift a 30 lb. suitcase and put it in the overhead bin.
Everyone's list will differ based on what's important to you, but it's a fantastic idea for what to train around if you're older and don't have concrete fitness goals.
💬 I keep coming across this idea of faking the language, or babbling, which relates back to my Improving Idea Flow piece.
I feel like reducing our tendency to babble about topics we don't actually know that much about is one of the best things we can do for improving our intellectual honesty, and for developing a higher integrity reputation.
It is exceptionally hard to do though. It is so tempting to start talking about things I only know a surface level amount about, because it always feels like enough. But it's always better to say "I don't know enough to have a strong opinion on that." Whenever I hear that in a podcast it's so refreshing, especially since it's so rare.
🤣 If you haven't heard it, Bill Burr has a hilarious quotation calling Joe Rogan out for this on his podcast:
"I'm not gonna sit here with no medical degree, listening to you with no medical degree with an American flag behind you, smoking a cigar acting like we know whats up better than the CDC."
🏙 This is a remarkable piece on how Tokyo has managed to keep housing prices reasonable. The secret? Don't stop building, and let people build whatever they want:
"...in 2002, it passed the Urban Renaissance Law. The law stripped municipalities of the ability to control private property. As a result, owners can build a variety of uses on their land, regardless of resistance from local bureaucrats or neighbors. “If you want to build a mock-Gothic castle faced in pink seashells,” writes Harding, “that is your business.” "
And it's pretty remarkable just how much more they're building:
"As FT's Tokyo bureau chief Robin Harding wrote in the article, the city had 142,417 housing starts in 2014, which was “more than the 83,657 housing permits issued in the state of California (population 38.7m), or the 137,010 houses started in the entire country of England (population 54.3m)... Compare this, also, with the roughly 20,000 new residential units approved annually in New York City, the 23,500 units started in Los Angeles County, and the measly 5,000 homes constructed in 2015 throughout the entire Bay Area."
Maybe if major US cities matched this pace we wouldn't have such insane price increases in places like NYC and SF. And we wouldn't have all the homelessness that comes with it.
🤔 I do wonder, though... what happens to real estate investors? Wouldn't you lose money on your investments?
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Have a great week,