Big Decisions and Creative Constraints

Your weekly 5 things from the mind of Miles Lasater

Happy Saturday! Here are your 5 things from the mind of Miles for this week.

  1. Moats and Powers. Before you decide to found or invest in a startup, think about competition. If possible, you will want to build a moat or deploy one of the 7 Powers. Unfamiliar with the 7 Powers? The Acquired Podcast has a fun episode on it. But also read the book. The coolest part of the book is the attempt to quantify the value of the powers.

  2. 80,000 Hours. Before you take your next job, here is something to think about. I mentioned the 80,000 Hours podcast last week. I also wanted to share their career guidance. They help you discover which career next step will be fulfilling and likely to do the most good in the world. Not that I agree with everything but they do provide a valuable service.  

  3. Try Out Career Paths. Don’t just imagine your next job.  Try it out in a low commitment way or at least shadow someone who is doing it. If you live where you grow up and the jobs in your future are like the jobs in your parents' generation, it is natural to get up close experience with the jobs around you. But today when jobs are being created, there is more variety and shadowing doesn’t necessarily happen naturally. When I was 18, I did some shadowing, interviewing and low commitment work. I explored careers as a doctor or actor and decided not to do either. I am so grateful I figured that out before college rather than afterwards. I also did it for entrepreneurship, venture studio and startups and got pretty excited. Have you done anything like this?

  4. Pre-Marriage Questions. A friend is close to getting engaged. It provoked a discussion among a few of us about how much you should talk about with your beloved before getting married. One friend argued that the future is unpredictable and you will both grow and change so it is difficult to make too many plans. I argued that talking about religion, how many kids to have (roughly) and love languages are all worth doing. When Liz and I got engaged we discussed a whole list of things. Something like this one. What’s your approach?

  5. Thing Explainer. For fun, I offer a children’s book for all ages. “In Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words, things are explained…using only drawings and a vocabulary of the 1,000 (or "ten hundred") most common words. Explore computer buildings (datacenters), the flat rocks we live on (tectonic plates), the things you use to steer a plane (airliner cockpit controls), and the little bags of water you're made of (cells).” (The book is a great example of the creativity that happens when you have constraints. Dr. Suess’ Green Eggs and Ham is another one.)

Until next week,

Miles