Daniel Vassallo

Daniel Vassallo quotes on taking action

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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Career success in big tech is mostly attributable to timing. Being on the right project at the right time. And the most important skill is probably the ability to recognize a lucky situation and take advantage of it.


If you want to promote an idea, live it.


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.


Most important lesson I learned about entrepreneurship: You can’t predict the future. You can’t predict what will work. You can’t predict what will last. So the only viable strategy in all this uncertainty is to survive long enough to stumble on good opportunities.


Stop forcing yourself to build good habits. Start wanting to do something. The good habits will follow automatically. And it's much more fun this way. No fighting with yourself.


Consistency works, but it's extremely unpleasant. You're constantly fighting yourself. If you want it to last, trade consistency for intensity. Do a lot when inspiration strikes, and take long breaks in between. It might not be as effective, but who cares?! It's more enjoyable.


Recognizing an opportunity you aren't expecting requires plenty of idle time, wandering about, tinkering, trial and error, long walks, randomized attention, and other "inefficiencies" of that sort.


If you’re trying to learn a new skill, skip the theory and study the practitioners. Unsuccessful practitioners don’t practition for long, so the ones that remain can show you things that work (regardless of the theory). Then, most importantly, become a practitioner yourself.


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.


When hard work stretches you to your limit, you try to eliminate all idle time. But that idle time is actually slack in your system. And by removing all slack from your system, you also eliminate the capacity to immediately explore and pounce on opportunities when they happen.


If you hate doing something, you’ll likely never do it again. Many “productivity hacks” ignore this. Only enjoyable activities last. As soon as you can afford to, optimize for enjoyment (with some exceptions).


Productivity isn’t about keyboard shortcuts or dual monitors. It’s about finding the motivation to do something for its own sake.


When you’re creating something and it stops being exhilarating, it’s usually time to wrap it up. It shouldn’t feel like a weight off your shoulders when you’re done. Otherwise it’s almost certain you’ll never do it again.


Opportunity is perishable. If you can’t afford to stop and think, you’re going to miss your opportunities. And to benefit from luck, you must first recognize luck. When an opportunity emerges, you can’t just put it on the shelf. Be ready to abandon the plan, and adjust course.


"How do I validate that my validation technique is valid?!" 🤣 Stop validating, and start shipping. Make small bounded bets, then take what works, and ignore the rest.


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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