Learned this week | 1
hacks & insights from the past week
I’ll divide my insights into sections for ease of navigation and clarity. The names are partially borrowed from Naval.
about work principles/hacks
North Star metric - your core direction within a specific venture that guides everything that you are doing.
“Everything that you are doing in life and especially with your company should lean in one direction. That is the North Star. Everything you do can then be evaluated against that metric.” (Josh Baek)
Pulled some examples from this article. It’s a very neat way to orient yourself towards the bigger goal. I think it’s relevant in personal life, not only business.
about building a powerful network
Write every *important* email as if it’s going to change your life (Josh Baek)
When cold emailing, aim to be as relatable as possible -remember that in order for the personal to respond, they need to see a reflection of themselves in you. This will make it easier for them to empathize with you. (Josh Baek)
Value of alumni connections- I only really understood the value and purpose of “networking“ very recently. Networking for networking sake is probably too much of a gamble for an unknown potential upside. So without actually understanding what true networking is and why you are really doing it, you can’t do it effectively. During my time in NYC, I’ve been reaching out to a lot of people. Although I do get responses from non-Vanderbilt people, the rate of Vandy people responding is significantly higher. Alumni feel a strong sense of relatability (see point right above) and they genuinely want to help you. I was literally offered direct ways to connect with almost anyone within their companies, internships, and a job. I feel like I appreciate Vanderbilt network more now that I have actually tapped into it.
With that, people who are not connected to me in any way but feel some sense of unity with me (either they are a female entrepreneur, or international founder) gave me their time very generously. The stronger the emotional tie between you, the more generous they will be. Being a female/immigrant founder is a huge part of those people’s identities, whereas being in the tech startup scene is a bit too general and non-personal. We want to talk to people that we can relate to.
“It’s all about the people you know” - this statement is true if you made it work. Otherwise, it’s all going to be about people you don’t know.
Only meet with people who will give you unique specific knowledge - if there is any other way to learn what you want to find out, do that. Meeting with someone is a pretty laborious process (virtually or in-person), so it should be really worth it. Also, the more background research you can do to cut out simple Q&A, the better; that means you can ask questions that haven’t been asked before.
I liked this concept from Josh Baek
Gain a connection at every encounter you have
Meaning, to actively expand your network, don’t miss a single opportunity to meet someone new.
about physical health
Drink a glass of water when you wake up
Eat a light, low-carb lunch for retaining energy in the afternoon
Playing a favorite sport for joy (from Gregory). I can 100% confirm that with ultimate frisbee. A social activity coupled with intense physical exercise is a very efficient high-quality experience.
The riches are concerned with longevity - I have been listening to this podcast called Pod of Jake with interviews from VCs, investors and entrepreneurs. A recurring theme is longevity, so seems like once you get rich, the next question is how to live longer to compound your wealth. My friend Kayla introduced the Blue Zones to me: areas in the world with the longest-living people. It’s hard to commit to extensive research, but reading a bit here and there about longevity seems like a solid use of one’s time.
💧Peace of Mind:
about mental health and emotional mastery
Power nap during the afternoon slump - Not everyone is able to take this nap due to their circumstance, but in a way it restarts your day and makes you fresh. Sometimes I feel guilty for taking a nap in the middle of the working day, so I have to keep reminding myself that these 30 mins are making me work better for the rest of the day. If I don’t do this, I’ll probably still waste 30+ mins on being slow.
Physically activating the body in the morning with a run/workout/yoga/stretch -makes me feel confident, strong and ready for the day. It has been hard to implement the habit: although I know it’s beneficial, I keep wanting to get to work. The hack is to start very small, like just do 20 pushups and gradually edge up to something more solid. Also establishing a no-choice mentality makes it eventually easy to stop questioning this decision every morning. Apart from the physical benefits, I’m mainly concerned with the mental clarity this brings me.
Planning the day the night before - sometimes I slide and I do it in the morning but it gives me a clear sense of direction for the day. It’s also great to wake up with a feeling of knowing what exactly I am up to. Again, it takes time to start doing this. The hack is to get yourself to a place where you see how helpful it is, which will align your incentive to do it.
❤️House of Love:
about meaningful relationships
Meaningful relationships and meaningful work- I keep coming back to the quote by Ray Dalio. Also hear it from a lot of entrepreneurs: when you have so little free time, you invest only in the long-term meaningful relationships. Even if there are only a few of them, they are substantial enough.
Personal CRM tool-I first learned about this from my friend Anjay who wanted to code up something similar. The problem is that social media or even LinkedIn don’t have features for reminding you to stay in touch with some people. Also a CRM tool is a way to catalog your personal network and be more intentional about it. Although there are a lot of alternatives online I didn’t find one that was free and met my needs. A Vandy alumni Chris Raroque made this app. For now I’ll just go with Apple Contacts.
Have a great week,