Daniel Vassallo

Daniel Vassallo quotes on systems thinking

Building a portfolio of small bets. Quarter-time with Gumroad. Building userbase.com. Creator on dvassallo.gumroad.com. Ask me anything at daniel@hey.com.

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1

The idea that anything is possible if you work hard enough is unfortunately a very dangerous delusion. Life is more random than it seems, and favorable outcomes are more often attributable to making good bets rather than a good work ethic. Don’t sacrifice more than it’s worth.

2

Hard work, works... but you know what's better? Realizing that a fraction of the effort gets you most of the results, and recognizing what fraction to focus on. Then you can use the remaining time to do whatever you want, w/o being beholden to anyone and w/o consequential risk.

3

Hard work, works... but you know what really works? Realizing that a fraction of the effort gets you most of the results... and recognizing what fraction to focus on. Then you can use the remaining time to do whatever the heck you want... without any obligations.

4

How I learn: I try to do it. I usually can’t learn without the thrills of being exposed to the consequences of my actions.

5

The most effective way for me to learn something complicated (one that doesn’t come with an instructions manual) is to be personally exposed to the consequences of doing it wrong.

6

If you’re working from home in a creative profession, here’s a little secret your boss will never tell you: Results are decoupled from effort in your profession. You have to opportunity to work a lot less than 8 hours a day, and not upset anyone.

7

Something imperfect that works has the potential of working better when perfected. But perfecting something that won't work will never make it work.

8

I rarely get what I want by pursuing what I think I want. More by knowing what I don't want, by exposing myself to chance encounters, by waiting for opportunities to arise, and by pouncing on any great opportunity. Many times I don't know what I want until I see it.

9

A few things you can do for audience building: - Share your knowledge (actions + results, consequences) - Reveal behind the scenes (business decisions, financial details) - Entertain (jokes, memes) - Share a journey as it happens (starting a business, creating something)

10

What you do is much more important than how you do it. Doing something really well is useless when applied to the wrong thing. First priority is discovering what works (what you do). Efficiency (how you do it) comes later. The order matters.

11

If you want to take a risk, first figure out how you’d recover from the worst-case outcome.

12

Doing business is nothing but a conjecture that an idea might work. Don’t attach your self-worth to the outcome.

13

Judge your decisions not by what actually happened, but by everything that could have happened. Outcomes are a poor measure of success. An imprudent risk that happened to pay off is not success. A sustainable process that will almost certainly pay off, is.

14

One of the traps of demotivation is the expectation of linear progress. You may work for a month and go nowhere, but then something comes to you in a flash. That’s unless you get disheartened by the empty results and give up before the reward.

15

In highly unpredictable situations (new project/business, etc), it’s unreasonable to expect linear progress. You may work for 6 months and go nowhere, but then something comes to you in a flash. Progress can come from an increase in optionality rather than from direct results.

16

The problem of goals: When we obsess on trying achieve X, we suddenly become blind to the infinite options that are not conducive to X. Alternative: Start moving towards something, but be ready to change course at any time. Make decisions opportunistically, not per plan.

17

If you squeeze all uncertainty out of life, you also remove all the upside. The highly predictable life track can at best go according to plan, and at worst unravel because of hidden risk. But add a bit of unpredictability, and things can go better than you expected (upside).

18

Success brings with it an insidious downside: It raises the bar of what we consider satisfying. Achieving X can be very satisfying. But achieving X after achieving a bigger X can be extremely disappointing. This phenomenon can lead a successful person to a miserable existence.

19

The fun comes when you try something with low expectations, and it ends up succeeding anyway, “beyond expectations”. Curb your expectations. Make small bets. Farm luck.

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