Categories
Chronic Disease Startups

Day 508 and Deficit

I woke up feeling reasonably ok today. I slept well but checking my trackers I learned my recovery scores were pretty low. My HRV was dipping into 30% recovery territory and I had a low blood oxygen count. I’ve been recovering from Influenza A so it’s not a surprise my lungs are struggling. But I tried not to let some bad data psyche me out. Maybe I was ok. I told myself I just needed to stick to my routine as I can’t let myself get into a physical deficit.

So I went about my morning routine with some optimism. I got some coffee and made breakfast. I took several rounds of supplements. I did some basic grooming. I felt basically human. I was all excited to dive into work from the second I woke up. I was so excited I’ve been dreaming about the presentation I’m giving at Consensus. I literally woke up with talking points.

And then at around 10am I realized I’d used up all my functional hours taking care of myself. Fucking figures. I am already in a physical deficit from this flu. It’s scary for me to be in a deficit as my favorite coping mechanism is to engage in workaholism. I over prepare and over work and I make demands of myself that only sabotage the end result. It’s entirely counter productive. It just looks socially acceptable because of the Protestant Work ethic.

So I need to calm the fuck down and accept where I am and that it will still be good enough. I know my shit. It’s worth it. And I’ll deliver on better than the average midwit. Honestly even acting like this is kind of midwit. The real galaxy brains would just be vibing it anyway. But it really is amazing how easy it is to fall into midwit fear based patterns. Believing in the bigger broader math of your own life is really hard because so much of our own ego is rooting for us to indulge in our worst impulses. So I’m going to calm down, not worry about my energy deficit and continue to do the work. It’s not glamorous work. It’s mostly making good decisions day in and day out. But then compounding kicks in.

Categories
Startups

Day 501 and Do It Live

There must be some kind of residual high from making big decisions, as I’m feel powerful as hell coming out of Montana. I’ve committed to a life path and I am ready to do some thriving. Yes I’m referencing the meme.

unbothered. moisturized. happy. in my lane. focused. flourishing

I’ve got a deal I want to shop around even though it’s ice cold out there in venture land. I believe in the team and I believe in the market sector. It’s a bit of an unusual bet but I have total confidence in the problem space such that I am ready to spend some social capital. So hit me up if you want to get in on the deal. I feel like it’s a deal that’s absolutely in my lane and even if it’s a hard time to circle anyone to anything I may as well enjoy the thrive vibe. Let’s do some magic together yeah?

In another famous meme Fox News host Bill O’Reilly exclaims that “fuck it I’ll do it live!” And I have to say that is my current energy. None of us have a fucking clue about how things are going to go. But did we do our homework? Yes. I did the work. I ran my numbers. I’m good at what I do. I’ve got experience. I’ve got as good a shot as anyone.

So I’m going to say fuck it to a lot more. I’m confident. Because like Bill I’ve got the talent and why not fuck around and find out? This isn’t specifically about the deal I want to do (though I am excited) or the fact that I’m moving to Montana but rather that it’s time to express more confidence in general. I shouldn’t undermine myself. I’m good. Some people like me. And that’s enough to have some confidence to try some stuff and experiment. If you want to come and play with me feel free to say hi.

Categories
Preparedness

Day 497 and Collapse

You ever find yourself so stressed by a big decision or important event that you become sick as soon as it’s end is in sight? Adrenaline and cortisol take a strained body pretty far, but eventually your central nervous system is like no. I’m not at all surprised by how poorly I feel now that we’ve resolved our dilemmas on housing. In fact, the offer on the house was accepted today. If all goes well, we will move to Bozeman Montana in August. Prayers and chaos magic sigils.

I went to the urgent care center to get tested for Influenza A this morning as my husband had it last week. My Covid test was negative as was my influenza test. But I am coughing so hard it’s a challenge to get a breath in if I so much as talk. I got handed codeine cough syrup and Tamiflu and told to get back in bed. My body knows it can let go. We’ve got the house.

I want to be excited. I want to feel the joy and relief that I know is underneath the exhaustion and sickness. I want to feel the security from knowing my my job is done. We’ve been working towards buying a homestead for years. My husband and I have been doing our homework and working through preferences on the ideal land for what seems like our entire marriage.

But with the pandemic, we finally set about finding a home that could house us for decades. We’d been freed from dreaming about rural living while being stuck in cities and could now go about doing something with our desire to live in the mountains. Work from home changed the game for us completely. We could finally live where we wanted.

I want a homestead because I think we are in for hard times. Abundant opportunity exists to be sure but only for those that are prepared. My husband is skeptical on how extreme any event will be but trusts me to care for our family. Look at me doing the ultimate feminine act and standing for the home and hearth.

And I simply want harder times to be easier for my family. I don’t want my people to suffer because the world is changing too fast for them to adapt. I want to set up my tribe to succeed and thrive in a new chaotic world. Preparation takes work and making strange even crazy sounding bets before anyone else thinks it’s sane. I don’t mind being seen as crazy so long as me and mine are safe. I am a woman. You should fear this primal energy. It’s strong.

Close over the horizon we’ve got a new world of uncertainty coalescing into possibility that is emergent. Chaos will reign. How? Who can guess. Our simian minds can barely grasp the first order effects of our current landscape. Of course, we haven’t figured out second or third order issues from war and pestilence just yet. We just aren’t that smart. How could we ever predict the future? We are struggling to make sense of the present.

We are just now seeing the supply chain issues and commodity shortages from the pandemic collide with our globalized economies. This is just the start of the complexity era. Just wait till fertilizer shortages in global farmlands intersects with the war in Ukraine and the super hot and super dry summers brought by climate change. That doesn’t scar you enough? It should.

Wealth has bifurcated and American cultures are at war. It is literally a culture war playing out as fifty years of consensus in reproductive rights collapses. I don’t kid myself on it stopping there. Our sex lives are about to be the governments business and some folks feel good about it. Some fuckers are celebrating it. We are about to face some weird times and I want to face them on my own land with my own guns.

I am preparing myself for much harder times ahead. Because hard times create wealth. I am putting myself somewhere remote with a cold climate to mitigate climate disruption. But until it’s an emergency I’ve got a top notch airport with daily flights to any city where finance or technology does business.

I’m still on good supply lines but I’m also in a community that can do a lot of trade on the basics of food, water and services. I picked a state that has abstained from the culture wars. I pray it remains a libertarian “live and let place” as I fear for the theocracy that is coming for southern states.

Equally I’m disinterested in liberal states that want to decide how to best allocate my resources. I’ll build my own communities and see to them if I can. Bozeman was a very deliberate choice that came from literally thousands of variables. It’s my last stand where I think I can battle the future and win.

People talk a good game about their vision for the future. They talk up their investments and their bags and their confidence in a whole new world and yet they live in precarious cities and lifestyles a single crisis could derail. I’m telling you that I see chaos and it will not ruffle my feathers. It won’t disrupt my breakfast. And I intend to set myself up to be able to ride it out in as much comfort as possible with as little disruption as possible.

Because I want to win this churn. I want to make money. If chaos is a ladder I will climb. And I’d suggest you consider what you are willing to do to win the next decade. It might not be the collapse. But even the crumbles will require you to change. And if your answer is nothing. I cannot guarantee your comfort in the future.

Categories
Internet Culture Startups

Day 479 and High Agency

A corner of startup Twitter was discussing the relative ease of getting connected to power brokers in different industries today. The debate? Does good talent eventually finds its way to resources? The contention from Roon, otherwise known as Mr. Wordcel vs Shape Rotator, is that networking is less crucial in technology than in any other industry because it’s easier to find a way in.

While one can quibble with how true this is for all populations, it is truer than it’s ever been. A large swath of the startup ecosystem is readily available to anyone on social media. We are less constrained by geography and credentialism than we’ve ever been. This is partially because much of the wealth in the current generation came from building social networks or software that benefits from openness. An excellent overview of this is why good angel investing ecosystems prioritize welcoming newcomers by Alex Danco. Most investors want to be available.

But it’s still a challenge to find high agency and high talent people and there are far fewer of them than you’d imagine. And proving you are high agency and high talent isn’t always an intuitive process. Being able to assess if someone has the capacity to build is one of the hardest job a capital allocator will ever have. Judging markets and products and roadmaps is much easier than discerning if someone has the capacity to execute on their dream.

I personally use follow up as my first heuristic. This is partially because I maintain open DMs so literally anyone can and does reach out to me. If someone is able to regularly show up and engage with me and show progress they are better than 90% of people. Honestly go ahead and try! I really am here to help.

You’d be shocked at how often someone pitches me and then I never ever hear from them again. And it’s not because I missed the boat (this happened once to me this year). It’s generally because people are waiting for someone else to act. And this is where people fail. The first rule of startups is figuring out how to create momentum. If you are waiting for me to cut a check you’ve already lost.

I’d like to do a whole post on this topic but I’ve been struggling to get the bulk of it on paper as I’ve got a migraine coming on. But rather than put the post off, I organized an introduction of the subject and put down my first heuristic. Which is ironically exactly what I look for in founders and builders. Did you make some visible amount of progress no matter how bad? Did you put it out into the world? That’s better than most people!

Categories
Preparedness Startups

Day 474 and Unsettled

I don’t own a home. It was never a financial reality before the pandemic. But then the world accelerated and suddenly we had options and money. But still it seemed impossible to commit to another asset with a long time horizon even recently. We were startup people so every other asset was a long hold.

I don’t feel that way anymore. I have written about how I would like to buy a home now. I feel like it’s time to find a place where we can build some stability. But of course the chaotic thesis haunts me.

The chaotic thesis is the one that undergirds all of my investing. The world is getting more complex. That breeds chaos. The biggest macro-level mega trend of the next decade will be adapting to the chaos.

And as it turns out adapting to chaos is really hard. Everything that allows you to cope with the chaos in high demand. A safe place to call your own? Sorry, it’s never been harder to become a homeowner.

I wish I could say that knowing this is our reality makes it easier to adapt. Knowing isn’t the battle as it turns out. Acting on the knowledge is the hard part. Making good decisions under pressure is what will separate out who thrives and who merely survives.

I don’t think it’s going to be pretty and I’m genuinely worried it’s either hit the singularity or a new dark age. There is a reason we think we need the metaverse and it’s not because reality is getting better. It’s because it’s getting worse. I allowed all the web3 kids working out there working on Plan B.

Categories
Startups

Day 470 and Social Skills

Startups are just as much about social hacking as they are hacking something technical. We worship the archetypal “coding nerd” who is brilliant but awkward, but in reality building shit requires an awful lot of social finesse.

I meet with a pretty wide range of founders. A lot of them are clever but relatively normal people. But many founders are fucking beyond weird. I see a lot of neurodivergence. But it’s not all towards the awkwardly autistic. Plenty of founders, especially in web3, are almost supernaturally charismatic. No literally it’s magic.

And that magic is good for making something new. The ability to empathize and listen is hugely prized in leadership. Being present and able to socialize in any social context is key to bring diverse groups together. We are much more willing to throw in our resources behind a founder who can rally us together. And this is just objectively good for the startup. Of course investors want to back that kind of person.

I think some people are offended by this reality. We see endless pop culture depictions of narcissistic sociopaths raising shit tons of money and then destroying their companies. I’m honestly a little sick of it. It’s no secret that Silicon Valley, but capitalism on the whole, occasionally rewards charlatans. I don’t think it’s particularly indicative of anything but human nature. Like Fox Mulder I too want to believe.

Categories
Startups

Day 468 and Small Moves

One of my favorite movies as a kid was Carl Sagan’s Contact. It’s not a great movie but it’s heart is in the right place. It’s a beautiful story about human curiosity and the long timeline of history. In one of the closing sequences the protagonist is told by alien intelligence as embodied by a representation of her dead father that all next steps are “small moves Ellie.”

I never feel like I’m moving fast enough. Every day presses against me. I long to slog through them with speed and alacrity. It’s almost embarrassing how inadequate I find my progress. But then I remember that I move fast. I live ahead of the mainstream. I get to sit in the future that William Gibson said was not evenly distributed. Even if I don’t think I’m particularly good it’s hard to deny just how much of my life is lived in a tiny sliver of humanity.

Someone recently asked me how I moved so fast when I’m dealing with a chronic illness. I found it to be such a shocking question. I feel like I’m glacial compared to the reach of my desires and imagination. But then I’m reminded that even in shorter hours I’m forced to hone my crafts. I can’t afford to waste energy or focus so I simply do not. I imagine this focusing out of need is similar to what parents of young children operate in. The subtle art of not giving a fuck.

And so what if I am slow on a day to day basis. Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’m not a market trader. I invest in ten year cycles. Everything in venture is actually small moves. But as time adds up so do the aggregate of the moves. Compounding interest is up there with gravity as a force. So even when I yearn for more and for it to arrive faster I have to trust the numbers.

Categories
Startups

Day 452 and A Short Guide on Cold Outreach for N00bs

I have an open Twitter DM policy for founders. I encourage outreach to me via all forms of asynchronous communication. I think the hour long pitch, either zoom or IRL, is a bad way to get to know someone. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t rules and social graces involved in cold outreach. I’ve outlined an FAQ on how to get to know me and what I look for in founders but it seems like people would benefit from more tips on how to ask for help and investment on social media.

1. Give Me A Synopsis

If you are sliding into my DMs remember that I’m probably just glancing at an alert. You want to get across just enough context to encourage me to pop in and take a look. And remember you don’t need to convince me with one paragraph. I want to develop a relationship with you and learn how you think. That’s not possible in a few sentences so remember that synopsis is just the beginning.

2 Use A Social Account With Shared Context

I’m always surprised by people who slide into my DMs with 15 followers and a blank Twitter profile and expect an answer. Use the shared social graph to show your interests and tastes. Follow and be followed by people in common with me. You’d be surprised how much meaning I take from seeing you follow and interact with people I respect. The social graph is now we vouch to each other we’d enjoy spending the next ten years working together.

3. Tell Me Who You Are

Make sure you’ve got a link to a personal website so I can learn more about you. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. I think LinkedIn is lame but it’s easy and shows your skills and career path. Hate that? Link your TikTok or Tumblr or blog. Are you anonymous? That’s totally fine. I’ve funded anons. Give me the portions of your identity that are on chain or under your pseudonym so I can learn more from there.

4. Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day

You don’t need to ask me for an hour long pitch or even my email right away. I don’t need perfection from the start. Just say you are working on something and want to talk to me about it. Say you will send me a white paper or a blog post and ask me to read it. Then follow up in a few days to see. Don’t get social anxiety about it either. I probably just forgot or got busy and I love being reminded. Truly.

5. Only Ask for Favors After You’ve Demonstrated Rapport & Competence

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been asked to for advice, help or investment in DTC, CPG or retail type businesses which I have explicitly said I do not do. But what’s even wilder is that the question right after I say no is almost always “well can you introduce me to other investors that do?” This isn’t an inherently bad thing to ask me. I want to help. If you’ve shown me a great product and I’m engaged and impressed with you as a founder and we’ve had a few interactions ONLY THEN do we have enough of a relationship where it’s ok to ask me to spend my social capital to help you. I can’t help you till I’m sure you can help yourself and that means demonstrating you won’t waste the time of my network as well. Favors are big asks and I only want to use them on people who will reflect well on themselves and on me to my network.

Categories
Finance Startups

Day 432 and Send Me Dealflow

The markets are struggling with the chaos of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Nickel prices doubled. Gas is skyrocketing. Central banks are due for rate decisions but it’s anyone’s guess as to whether hikes will manifest. But in my neck of the woods uncertainty is our business. Chaotic.capital was founded on the belief that an increasingly complex world would present opportunities. And I’ve never felt more confident in our thesis.

With chaotic.capital we’re identifying, investing in, and supporting companies that adapt our lives and systems to the opportunities that chaos brings. We like companies that are adaptable. We like companies that help others become more adaptable. If you are still building in the chaos and want an early stage pre-seed or seed stage investor I’d like you to drop me a line this week.

I believe it’s possible to find leverage in chaos. As scary as this moment feels, it’s possible to profit off of the many ways the world may change. Geopolitical instability isn’t going away. That’s got downstream effects. Think supply chains remaining strained and snarled. Commodity prices continuing to be wonky. People on the move from immigrants to refuges. All of these problems will be opportunities for businesses to improve lives and make money. Everything from logistics software to temporary housing falls under the chaotic remind.

We are not scared of weird bets. We like unsolved problems. If it’s easy to model your growth and the exact trajectory to success, we may not be your partner (though we’ve got friends who will love you). But if you have a point of view on how chaos will enable your success, we don’t need a perfect plan, just a possible future.

Just to give you you an idea of how serious I am about finding weird shit let me tell you the deals I’m excited about this week. I’ve seen an occult marketplace, a real time DeFi data platform, a marketplace for vegetable gardens, logistics and 3PL software for influencer boutiques, and AI assisted direct to consumer abortions. No problem is too weird for us. So come on and slide into my DMs.

Categories
Finance Internet Culture Startups

Day 414 and Empire’s End

Being at a crypto convention in 2022 is something else. It’s full jubilee at the end of the world shit. You are surrounded by millennials and gen-zers who know in their gut that their future has been stolen from them. And instead of being pissed they decided to build. And they decided to gamble. And it’s not clear which one is which sometimes.

You’d be forgiven being a nihilist right now. Capitalism looks like an excuse for the oligarchs to consolidate state and private power to enrich themselves. Everyone is soaking in student debt and working shitty interchangeable jobs for corporations owned by private equity. No one can afford a house. No one is stable enough for a marriage and children. Our fucking parents won’t retire and won’t listen to reason when we say their neighborhood needs more housing density.

But if you are in crypto the future looks pretty rosy. You are discussing real estate for your second home and the tax advantages of different jurisdictions. Swapping stories about your friend who accidentally didn’t set up estate planning and his company had a big exit and now he’s got to pay full rate to some expensive Democratic run city and state. If you are at the nice cocktail parties you are building the future and the venture capital is flowing and it’s possible that this is the next big wave of innovation. It’s time to fuck around and find out.

But not everyone in crypto is part of the smart money. Not everyone has institutional backing and the professionalization of long time startup operators coming to build real value. Right right below that success is a teeming horde of brutalized and completely marginalized people who are praying they hit it big on some new coin or hot new NFT project. They saw Bitcoin and then Ethereum go to the moon. So now they are praying to the full moon and hoping they ape into the next big thing.

But what’s scarier is that the prevailing attitude is who cares if it’s risky because no one believes they are going to have a future anyway so you might as well gamble. They might get lucky and build the next Google if they join the right DAO and buidl. Yes I typed buidl. I’m a degen too. I’m a doomer that isn’t convinced the empire is going to hold for much longer. And if I’m going to watch it all crash down I want to be a part of building something better for all of us. Maybe we get lucky and innovative faster than the apocalypse. To be fair, humanity always has in the past.