Category: Ideas and Mental Models

  • Angel Investing Learnings

    In this post I’ll share some advice and learnings from my experience angel investing for about 10 years to help others get started or improve their own process. In general, I’d advise investing in companies where you have some asymmetric advantage – either because you know the founder(s) well or because you know the space […]

  • A Virtual Funeral

    My great uncle, Taher, passed away this weekend at the age of 98 years old in my childhood home in Mombasa. He was more like a grandfather to me, as I grew up in the same house as him and saw him every day and my paternal grandfather died many years before I was born. […]

  • Seeking Leverage

    Leverage allows us to amplify the impact of our creations and decisions. If we apply leverage to these things we can create more value for the amount of time invested. Leverage is not easy to attain, and the different forms of leverage either don’t scale easily or require specialist skills and the ability to distribute […]

  • Physically Distant, Socially Close

    I don’t love the term ‘Social Distancing‘ that’s being thrown around by the media as it implies that isolating ourselves will leave us devoid of meaningful social interaction. I’ve been physically distant from my family for over a decade – I live in NYC, my parents are in Mombasa (Kenya), and my sister lives in […]

  • Mental Models for Giving

    I’ve been developing my own mental models for giving time and money away. This is a deeply personal subject and each person will think about it differently. I’m sharing these mental models to learn from others and record my thoughts at this point in time. I gravitated towards Peter Singer’s work on Effective Altruism (if […]

  • Manage Energy, not Time

    I read the HBR article in 2009 called ‘Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time‘ and it really resonated with me. I’d felt similarly for a long time but did not have a framework to describe it. I’ve since shared this article and this method of thinking with dozens of colleagues and friends and many have […]

  • Advice for my Younger Self

    I enjoyed Garry Tan’s 3 lessons at 32 years that he wished he knew when he was 16 years – I often refer to them and it inspired this post for me. Here are a few things I’d advise a younger me, – some re-enforcing existing behavior and some to change behavior: Compound learning: Optimize […]

  • Predictions for the Future

    The goal of this post is to opine on some things that 20-30 years from now (our children) would be surprised that our generation thought was ‘normal’. I am looking forward to reading this later in my life and seeing how it plays out! I’ve broken this up into two categories – predictions where I […]

  • Unbundling your Job

    Why do we have jobs? Jobs provide us with a bundle of many things, which is why they’ve been around for so long: Predictable cashflow: cover lifestyle costs, plan for the future. Benefits: 401k retirement accounts, health and life insurance, paid time off, access to new capital such as mortgages. Purpose: creative outlet, sense of […]

  • Gut -> Data -> Gut

    I usually split decisions into ‘reversible‘ and ‘irreversible‘ (or very hard to reverse) decisions. For reversible decisions, it makes sense to experiment and test things out incrementally but for irreversible decisions I really like the gut->data->gut framework which I first heard nicely articulated by Sukhinder Singh Cassidy here. Whenever I’m at an irreversible decision, I […]

  • Insight from independent sources

    In my opinion, one of the hardest parts of product and general management is drawing insight from the right sources to determine ‘product health’ to identify where to focus, especially when managing multiple product lines. In my experience I try pull data from three independant, uncorrelated sources to inform where I should focus my effort – […]

  • Investor updates for startups

    I’ve invested in about 30 companies over the last 6 years and received a lot of different investor updates. Some companies send few, sporadic (often too detailed), updates whereas others send updates with a fixed structure and on a predictable schedule. I think the sweet spot for many micro vcs with a portfolio is quarterly […]