26 Things I Now Know at Age 26
My Annual Reflection
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Tuesday is my 26th birthday!
I’ll officially be closer to 30 than 20—yet I still feel like a dumb teenager screwing around on the internet!
It’s been a year to remember: moving to NYC, getting engaged, publishing my first book, going viral, growing the newsletter 500%, and a lot of wild internet adventures. Cheers to another year of screwing around on the internet!
26 Things I Now Know at Age 26
Determination beats natural intelligence. You take a determined person with low intelligence, they’re still gonna get rich doing some waste management company or something. You take a naturally intelligent person with no determination and you get an unemployed philosophy major. Most of the time, the answer to why a project isn’t working isn’t because you’re not intelligent enough, it’s because you’re not working hard enough.
“You should believe your opinion is greater than the opinions of every other person around you.” — David Senra. Trust yourself and your opinion over anyone else especially with decisions about your life and bank account. My friends, my ex, and my parents all told me not to drop out of college to work in tech, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. That was about the time when I stopped asking people for advice and instead just trusting my instincts, doing shit, and then telling people about it later. There’s a Latin term I learned relating to this “Fait Accompli", meaning an accomplished fact. “Sorry I didn’t tell you, it was fait accompli…” It was already decided. Try using it in a conversation, it feels absolutely badass.
Writing is how I learn. “Writers do not, as a rule, learn by listening and reading. They learn by writing,” explains Peter Drucker. Wait, so you’re saying I’m not an idiot because I can’t learn from lectures, videos, or audiobooks? Holy shit, I thought I was just a dumbass with a bad memory. But that never made sense because I have a great memory for things I write about. Like I can remember any random history lesson I write about, but I could watch a 30 minute history video and not remember a thing. It all makes sense now. I learn about new ideas and concepts by writing about them. 🤯
There’s nothing wrong with obsession over your goals. Embrace obsession. Follow it. Chase that shit and don’t let anyone stop you. Obsession is a good thing if channeled into something healthy. In the words of David Senra again, be a “maniac on a mission”. Maniacs on missions are the people who succeed big-time.
“Creatives need time to do nothing” — Greg Isenberg. Sometimes taking a nap or sitting in the park is the best thing you can possibly do for your work. Doing nothing gives you time to think.
Watching TV and movies isn’t a waste of time for artists—it’s education. This year, I stopped feeling as bad about loving TV and movies. Hustle culture tries to make you feel bad about TV and movies, but I’m an artist and I gotta study the greats in action, right? TV and movies are a cheap masterclass in storytelling, character development, and world building. Fun fact I learned this year: Andy Warhol watched multiple sets of TV while working.
Haste creates waste. Anytime I rush on content, I end up deleting it. If I spent a longer time on it, it could’ve been a banger. My grandpa always said “measure twice, cut once.” I’m trying to be a lot more thoughtful this year and delete less posts. We’ll see if that happens.
Patience is power. When you’re in a rush to get paid or make something happen in your career, people can sense the desperation and move away. It’s like how girls don’t like thirsty desperate guys. When you’re ok working hard and playing the long game, things will un-intuitively move faster. People will be more willing to give you what you want because you’re not desperate for it. Weirdly, people will give you money more when you don’t need it than when you do.
Responsibility is good. Take on more responsibility and you’ll grow into it. The single biggest shift in my life came from getting my dog. It taught me how to be responsible for more than myself and forced me to have to think about someone other than myself. You don’t wanna go out in the cold? Too bad, dog’s gotta pee. Now I’ve got a fiancée and that’s a whole new level of responsibility. Ya boy is growing up. By the time I do this birthday reflection next year, I’ll be married! As a friend once told me: “Get a plant. If it survives for 6 months, get a dog. If the dog survives for 6 months, get a girlfriend.”
“You can tweet your way onto a yacht” — Jeremy Giffon. I wouldn’t believe this if it didn’t happen to me. I legit tweeted my way into a late night cruise with founders and VCs. I’ve tweeted my way into parties and companies I have no place belonging in on paper. If you do it right, building a reputation online can get you in any room.
You can be the life of the party even when you’re sober. I’ve been going to a lot of parties this year. I’ve realize I’m a lot more fun sober than I was high. I also have more fun. I can have better discussions. I can think straight. I’m not always looking for weed or cheetos. My party life is better now sober than it was in college.
Cringe is the new cool. To do anything cool, you must risk being seen as cringe. If you want to go make funny videos, go make funny videos. If you wanna go make serious content, go do that. There will always be some douchebag out there who call you cringe because you’re doing what they’re afraid to do. In last year’s reflection, I wrote “people will think you’re crazy until you’re rich.” This year, my vibe is “people will think you’re cringe until you’re rich, then they’ll call you a genius.”
There’s not too many podcasts, newsletters, etc. That’s a psyop by lame people who don’t understand the great online game. If you build an audience that connects with YOU for you, then you can do anything and there will be people out that who connect with you. As Jack Butcher says, “Build distribution, then build whatever you want.”
NYC is the best city for serendipity. I run into friends on the street, at events, whatever. I meet people in tech and VC wherever I go whether it’s at a social event or my kickball league. Also underrated benefit: friends and family from across the country sometimes just hit me up because they’re in town doing NYC things. That doesn’t happen when you live in New Jersey like I did.
VR is dying, AR is the future. I’ve never met someone who bought a Meta Quest and 6 months later said “Oh wow this was a great financial decision”. Seriously, never. Everyone’s curious, they try it, and then they’re like yeah I’ve got other shit to do. With Apple Vision Pro coming out soon, I think AR is the future. Can’t wait to get my hands on one.
I enjoy talking to ChatGPT Plus on walks (sometimes more than people). In a world where you can talk voice-to-voice to ChatGPT, you’re only limited by the quality of your questions. The solution? Ask better questions. Some of my favorite questions I’ve asked recently: “What are 10 quotes by Kurt Vonnegut?” and “What are the most famous war strategies?” Excited for Apple Vision Pro plus ChatGPT. I’d love to ask about the history of buildings I’m seeing.
If you think someone is shady, trust your gut and walk away—even if that means turning down money. I did a paid consulting call for $120 for someone and could tell within a few minutes he was shady: he was working in crypto and wouldn’t say what country he was in. He wanted to hire me for a $5,000/month ghostwriting project, but I didn’t trust him so I turned him down. That felt great, I knew I was doing the right. And I felt even more vindicated when 2 months later, he pulled some shady shit and disputed the $120 on Stripe—so I lost the $120 and 30 minutes of my life I spent talking to him. I was right! Imagine if I started working with him and he refunded $5,000!!! Trust your gut on this shit. If someone seems shady, walk away before they hurt you and take your money/time. Nothing feels better than saying no to money you used to have to say yes to.
Work with people working on their life’s work as much as possible. As a general rule, I try to only work with people who are also working on their life's work. I find they're happier, more positive-sum, long-term mindset people. They're also far more trustworthy because they put so much effort into building and maintaining their reputation. They're playing the game for life, not 5 years to get rich and exit. Look for people who are building their life's work and surround yourself with them as much as possible.
Sitting with boredom is the superpower of the super-creative. “Boredom is good,” says Timothée Chalamet. "Boredom got a new best friend," raps Tyler, the Creator. Robert Greene says the ability to sit with boredom is the dividing line between success and failure. Get better at dealing with boredom and you’ll be able to create more and better output. How do you get better at dealing with boredom?Meditation helps, breathing exercises help, practice working for long hours helps. Writing a book, learning a skill, and starting a company aren't all fun and excitement; it's a lot of boredom. Learn to make boredom your best friend and you can do anything.
I could write a book. I always thought I could, but I tried a few times in my teens and never could finish one. So I definitely felt discouraged and like I wasn’t capable of it. This time, I did it with Memes Make Millions. Tbh I came up with the ultimate hack: I launched pre-sales before I even finished the book—that way I HAD to finish the book and deliver to the 200+ cutomers who ordered. Write a book before you think you’re ready—you become ready by researching and writing it.
You’re not alone, unique, or weird. There are millions of yous out there: people just like you all over the world. By making content, you turn into a magnet for them. There are online communities for everything from hamster fans to memelords. This is your weekly reminder to go make some internet friends.
Consistency is a skill in itself. You improve at being consistent by being consistently consistent. The skill of consistency is often more important than the skill which you’re practicing. ie. Being consistent at lifting weights is more important than being good at lifting heavy rocks.
“Keep the main thing the main thing” — David Senra. It’s ok to have side things but always keep the main thing the main thing. Don’t replace the main thing with a side thing otherwise it’ll never come back to being the main thing. In fuckboy terms, you can’t make your main girl your side girl and expect her to ever come back.
You’re not too busy. There’s always time. Stop being lazy and making excuses. If you want it bad enough, you’ll make it happen. Maybe you just don’t want it that much—and that’s ok. But don’t lie to yourself and everyone else and say you’re too busy when you’re not.
You can make a lot of money from silly things. Twitter. Photoshop. YouTube. Shitposting. Memes. All the goofy stuff I’ve loved since I was a kid now pays my bills. Wild. Monkey business is the new big money business. There’s a lot of money to be made for silly internet people.
Trust the process of exponential growth on the internet. Everything starts small whether it’s a YouTube channel or a newsletter. Trust the process. Like building a fire from scratch, it’ll be really slow at first to gather the sticks kindle the fire—but after a bit of work, you’ll have a massive fire! Cheers to making some s’mores and sitting around the fire with all my nerds.
Goal: build the #1 corner on the internet for cyberpunk creatives:
🐭 This laptop from the 90s came with a baby mouse built-in. You need to see it to understand how cool this is.
📁 If you love bringing digital to real life as much as I do, check out this wallet that looks like a Mac OS Folder.
MEMES OF THE WEEK
One year ago today, the mass layoffs of tech workers began and the industry has never been the same
— Luke Metro (@luke_metro)
Oct 28, 2023
i’d still use it
Gonna make a version of these but for vapes
— The Middle Market Man (@middlemarketllc)
Oct 27, 2023
me and who?
couples costume idea
— Kevin Finnerty (@timeimmemorial_)
Oct 23, 2023
Thanks for reading nerds.
Create some cool shit this week.
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