How to Activate Things. Advice for Recent TKS Alumni.
I give this advice to the select few people that want to go further and activate cool shit. Being an activator is TERRIFYING. It’s a lot more comfortable to adopt a trainer mindset. To say that you will pursue your vision, but after you get your university degree, or after you make money on a startup or in web3. But you will grow slower if you do.
For a long time, I didn’t consider myself capable of changing the world right now. I viewed myself as being still in training. I think this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
The first thing I want to address is university. There’s an opportunity cost in university. Namely that it takes so much fucking time away from your calendar. I still understand why people go to university: they have nothing better to do. University is indeed an opportunity. For most people, it’s a really good opportunity. But you need to find a way ASAP to find an even better opportunity than university. And the best way to do that is to go on a gap year and try a ton of things during your gap year.
This is already serious stuff, and you should consult a few people before doing it.
The best way to find opportunities is to surround yourself with interesting people. This is the idea of serendipity. The best way to surround yourself with interesting people at this point in your life is to colive. If you can’t find one, then be the one to start it! Ask people for advice on how to activate a coliving house. Especially people who have done the same in the past. This post also gives more info on how to find a coliving house that works for you.
Next is another trap many people fall into.
A lot of people want to impact the world the Elon way. That is, start an unrelated company like zip2 and PayPal. When that company is successful, use the capital to create the initiative you genuinely are about (SpaceX, Tesla, Boring, Neuralink, OpenAI).
This might feel like the right way to execute your vision. But I think it sucks. Many people are still working on an unrelated project for years of their life.
Larry Page started Google in 2001, and only in 2019 did he step down. If his real goal was to solve climate change, he could have done way more progress in 18 years by working on it directly.
But using Larry and Elon like this is mistaken anyways. Internet technologies were their vision. But when people say they want to be like Elon, they mostly don’t care about their startup’s vision. I think that’s a mistake.
If your vision is really that good, then go and pitch it right now. Get really good at pitching it. And eventually, get money for it. From places like Emergent Ventures or the Thiel Fellowship first, and eventually from VCs.
Another advantage is that when you activate cool shit, it becomes easier to ask for advice and find amazing mentors. It’s very clear to people when you genuinely care about something. And it also becomes possible to join amazing communities like Interact, Emergent Ventures & Thiel Fellowship.
I believe more people should quit training mode. It’s scary at first but worth it. Just do it.