The Long Game 7: Blood Testing, Giving, Finding the Truth, Social Audio, Bruce Lee, Charter Cities, the Idea Maze
🤖 To Be a Machine, Digital Nomads, Emir Kusturica, Crafting a Narrative, John Collison, and Much More!
Hey there 👋🏼, and welcome to The Long Game — my take on health, wellness, and better living.
Welcome to the new subscribers since the last episode! If you're reading this but haven't subscribed yet, it's easy! Just sign up 👇🏼, sit back, and enjoy!
My first days in Belgrade are going well! It's been rainy, so I couldn't explore the city as much as I wanted, but I like the energy of this city.
If you missed the past episodes, you could catch up here, otherwise, let's dive into all the exciting content this week had to offer!
St. Mark's Church is a Serbian Orthodox church located in the Tašmajdan park in Belgrade, Serbia. It was built in the Serbo-Byzantine style by the Krstić brothers, completed in 1940, on the site of a previous church dating to 1835. It is one of the largest churches in the country.
💉 Blood Testing and Health Optimization
I see a lot of people, myself included, do many things for their health: supplements, diets, exercise, you name it. What I see very few people do is to find accurate ways to monitor what they are doing.
When you take the preventive approach to health, you try to improve your health and avoid the problems that can be avoided. Every one of us is very different. There is no one-size-fits-all approach that can work for health optimization.
So the approach is to understand what's wrong, address it and monitor it to make sure you improved. How can we do that without accurate tracking? We can't.
That's why changing diet without monitoring your blood glucose levels, or taking supplements without monitoring your blood biomarkers leaves a lot of room for future problems.
It's still complicated now, but ideally, only accurate tracking of health metrics should suggest the interventions you try.
This problem is one of the reasons we are currently building a solution to help people optimize their metabolic health through blood glucose tracking.
This week I did a full blood test for two reasons:
Make sure everything is ok.
Find the areas where I could improve on, and do something about it.
My first reaction after getting the results was that it's really hard to do it by yourself. Most of the doctors and people in healthcare are oriented toward fixing something that's going wrong. It makes it hard to find resources if you want to improve something that's not yet a problem.
After a week of research, I still find it hard to read a blood test and to transform it into an action plan to improve your health.
I see this both as a problem and a huge opportunity. The knowledge exists (and it keeps improving), but it's not easily accessible. On top of that, the operational aspect of having to plan frequent blood works and health tracking is something that prevents many people from embarking on the preventive health journey.
All these problems are something that gives me even more motivation to build the product we are currently building. More on this soon!
👥 Focus on the Others
Most of the time, when we try to improve our life, our health, our wellbeing, we put ourselves at the center. What if leaving yourself alone for a little bit could make you feel fantastic?
Being other-oriented is one of the keys to happiness, according to Laurie Santos, cognitive scientist, and Professor of Psychology at Yale University.
Finding the right balance between the things we do for ourselves and those we do for the others is key to find meaning and purpose in life.
🧠 Better Thinking | ✍🏼 What I Wrote
I’ve been concerned recently about how hard it has become to find the truth. I wanted to learn more about the problem and the solutions, so I wrote an essay about it.
Let's go back in time a little bit. We're in January 2020.
A new virus just appeared in China. What is going to happen in the following months will reveal everything that is wrong with one of the pillars of our societies: Truth.
The COVID-19 crisis showed our society isn't equipped with the right systems to find the truth. Our current model is broken, and we need to reinvent it!
I explore why truth matters, the problems with our current institutions, and the solution of an iterative model of truth the Github way.
⚡️ Startup Stuff
💡 The idea maze, by Chris Dixon
There is a general belief that a startup is all about the idea behind it. In response to this misconception, it has become popular in the startup community to say that ideas don't matter, and "execution is everything."
This thoughtful piece explains that, in reality, ideas matter a lot.
Good startup ideas are well developed, multi-year plans that contemplate many possible paths according to how the world changes. Balaji Srinivasan calls this the idea maze.
Here are a few places a founder can look up to assess his idea:
📚 What I Read
🎙 Social Audio: Connection over Community, by Jack Gecawich
If you want to understand the future of audio products, this piece is what you need!
From Clubhouse to Roadtrip - the two new big players in this category were launched during COVID and are seeing great feedback.
Social Audio is a new space; it opens new possibilities to connect and meet people.
"I truly believe that this new world will optimize for connection over community -- at least with audio apps."
"There's a lot to be done in the audio space, and the person who builds for the creators in this space will undoubtedly be very successful. "
For more about this, check out Alex Danco's piece on "The Audio Revolution." 👇🏼
Charter Cities Institute is a nonprofit dedicated to advancing human flourishing by building the ecosystem for charter cities worldwide. What's a charter city? It's a new city with new rules.
This piece is an introduction to their concept, and it's worth a read. They take the "preventive approach" but for cities. The goal is to find the right way to build a city and to govern it before the problems appear.
Building a new city on greenfield land allows charter cities to establish a streamlined and high-capacity administration largely autonomous from the pre-existing political institutions of the host country. Such high capacity will in turn allow the charter city administration to provide both the rule of law and the public goods necessary to support well-functioning markets—differentiating it from the low state capacity that pervades the Global South.
💻 Enter the era of the digital nomad, by Karoli Hindriks
Estonia has recently become the first country in the world to create a digital nomad visa — and others would be wise to follow suit.
While the US just suspended their H1B visas, it could be an opportunity for other countries to ease the visa process and attract more skilled workers.
When we surveyed those 1,200 digital nomads two years ago, 87% of them said a simpler visa process would affect their choice of destination. This is where anyone interested in bringing skilled talent into their country should definitely be paying close attention. The highly-skilled mobile workforce is ready to leap at the opportunity to settle in your country for a while — and boost the economy with their combined spending power and skill sets. The first countries to give them a way in will reap the benefits.
From the martial arts legend to the pop culture icon, everyone knows and loves Bruce Lee. This great piece takes a deep dive into his life and his legacy and tries to understand what's behind the icon we all love.
Lee’s widespread impact—in realms as disparate as political protest and video games—is simply a reflection of his life’s vision.
Each depiction capitalizes, in some way, on Lee’s indestructible legacy, but it’s not always clear when it’s the man or the myth being examined—and whether that line may have been lost at some point.
This book explores transhumanism and radical life extension, two topics I'm genuinely interested in. O'Connell interviews prominent figures of this movement to understand their motivations and their philosophies. The book also examines the risk of artificial general intelligence. It's a good starting point if you want to know more about these topics!
For more on this topic, Transhumanism: Meet the cyborgs and biohackers redefining beauty is a great complementary article!
🍭 Brain Food
Kusturica is a famous Serbian filmmaker, actor, and musician. While I'm here in the Balkans, I want to explore the local culture. Here are a few films that made Kusturica famous:
Life Is a Miracle, 2004
Promise Me This, 2007
🎙 Podcast Episodes of the Week
John is the co-founder of Stripe, and with his brother and co-founder Patrick, they are famous for being exemplary founders. This episode didn't disappoint!
Here are the main ideas of this episode:
People sometimes forget that there are many massively successful non-tech companies experiencing incredible growth (Domino's Pizza for example)
"If you are operating a technology business, you would be mad not to study all the companies that have come before you" – John Collison.
It's easier to get work done quickly in a small team than a big one. Stripe tries to keep its teams to 5-10 people.
Stripe puts a high value on good writing.
A good writing tip: Have someone read your writing and ask them to tell you everything they remember. Then delete everything they can't remember.
"Commerce is very culturally nuanced, and a business in Indonesia is not going to buy from an American company who thinks that they can swan in without taking into account the local considerations." – John Collision
For comprehensive notes on this episode (it's worth it)👇🏼
Bethany is one of the best investigative journalists in the world. I loved this episode because it echoed to my interest in the Truth this week.
Here are a few highlights:
In politics, you can get two sides of every story pretty easily. In the business world, you can't, because skepticism about business tends to travel in a very small circle.
There's this idea that the business world is hard and cold and rational, and it's not. It's incredibly emotional.
“You would think that the visionary sat at one end of the spectrum and the fraudster at the other end of the spectrum, but I think it's one of those many things where they actually meet in the circle. I sometimes think the only thing that separates them is that the visionary gets lucky, and it all works out, and the fraudster gets caught in the middle.”
You learn more from your failures than you do from your successes.
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🔧 The tool of the Week
If you need to bring some good vibes while you work, relax, cook or else, check out Poolside.fm! It's a retro oasis for your summer!
🪐 Quote I'm Reflecting on
“Life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear the future.” – Seneca
Thanks for reading!
I will see you next week. As always, if you're finding this newsletter interesting, give me your feedback, you can respond to this email or tweet at me!
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