I love the idea of reinventing venture capital. Here are some great examples:
- Patagonia’s venture capital fund: invests in environmentally and socially responsible start-up companies, providing long-term, patient capital. I highly recommend reading Let My People Go Surfing by founder Yvon Chouinard.
- Y Combinator: invests small sums at the seed stage, but in large batches of startups, with hands-on mentoring. They were the first investors in AirBnB, Dropbox, Stripe, Coinbase, Reddit, and 1800+ more.
- Venture Kick: Switzerland’s largest startup accelerator program. Get up to 150’000 CHF for your project.
- indie.vc: 50% of the companies they’ve backed are led by female founders & the vast majority of them are based outside of the Bay Area or NYC
- Tiny: they start, buy, and invest in wonderful internet businesses
Know other examples? Let me know on Twitter.
As a fellow Mustachian, I am quite proud to not own a car. I save a ton of money and headaches. But I have my weak moments.
One such period was last summer. I convinced myself to buy a used Tesla Model S. I went through the whole process: research, comparison, test drive, negotiation.
Similar to this guy I wanted to approach it more intelligently. I had it all figured out: I would purchase the car through my company, gaining some tax advantages. I would share it on Sharoo to cover the expenses. I would have Free Supercharging for life. So I could use it whenever I wanted, basically for free.
But then I discovered all the hassles of owning and renting out a car:
- I’d need special insurance that covers third-party renting
- I’d need a parking space that is publicly accessible
- I’d need to install a wall charger
- I’d need to deal with all the pains and hassles of renting a car (renter support, cleaning, repairing damages, vomit incidents, …)
So I came full circle: I want to use a car, and not own one. Period.
I even sold my gasoline scooter. Today, I use a bicycle, Pick-e-Bike (use the code “kfbtm” to get 15 minutes for free), Mobility, Sharoo and Catch a Car.
Catch a Car recently added 30 VW e-Golf’s to it’s fleet. Not as cool as driving a Tesla, but still better than any internal combustion engine car. I’m now driving electric whenever I can!
I have to admit: There is a certain satisfaction in taking a Pick-e-Bike to a VW e-Golf and just driving off, without owning anything.
A passion is a “strong and barely controllable emotion”. The Late Latin word passio litteraly means “suffering” (from Latin pati “to suffer”).
Who enjoys suffering? I don’t.
The use of the word has been declining until 1980, with good reason. Then the trend reversed. It became a mantra of the tech/startup world. You’ve got to “follow your passion” and “be passionate”, they said.
That’s foolish, because passions are toxic.
Anger? Toxic. Overly intense desire for something? Toxic. Obsession? Toxic. Depression? Toxic. Anxiety? Toxic. The list goes on and on.
My aspiration is to live a good life, as proposed by the Stoics. A life in accordance with human nature and the laws of the universe. With a sense of freedom and peace of mind.
“But isn’t passion necessary to achieve great things”, you might ask. No, I don’t believe that.
You can aspire to be useful to as many people as possible. You can work hard and perform your duty. You can be fully engaged in life.
The important thing is to focus on your inner scorecard. And not be attached to things outside of your control.
Apply self-control and don’t become a victim of the emotional roller coaster. Being overly fixated on the past leads to depression. Being overly fixated on the future leads to anxiety. Avoid both.
How to innovate:
- Build a prototype, and then keep iterating.
- Each time, only change one single thing. Then you see exactly what caused the improvement or failure.
- That way you build a huge bank of knowledge, and after many iterations, end up with something unique.
James Dyson used this method to create over 5000 prototypes of his radically different vacuum technology.
What will you come up with?
It’s healthy to reflect on the nature of impermanence, especially our human mortality. The Stoics recommend to prepare for your own death every day.
During one of my daily reflections, I looked it up. Each day, 150,000 humans die. That means that in 2019, more than 50 million people will die.
It’s good to remember that one day, today will be our last day. And one year, this year will be the one on our grave stone.
Remember what Steve Jobs said:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
Happy 2019, everybody! Don’t waste it.
(I use WeCroak for daily mortality reminders.)