Day 10,007

I am going to focus today's post on a conversation I had over lunch with Dobromir. Dobromir is one of the people who has really influenced my time at TellApart/Twitter and has been a very valuable mentor for me over these years. Dobromir is one of the most exceptional engineers I ever met. His deep technical competency is accompanied by very strong communication skills - a rare combination.

We discussed a bunch of topics. We spent some time talking about the bio work I had done in NYC, and then talked about this startup idea of building something like EC2 for biology experiments. A super interesting and potentially very impactful idea.

One of the many things I admire Dobromir for is the exceptional level of clarity in thought that he has. Earlier this year he shared a document where he outlines in detail his goals for past years, the current year, and a list of life goals that extend all the way to 2035. That was definitely an inspiration for me and I am hoping to get myself to that level of clarity and direction.

I told him about my current state of confusion of not knowing what to do in life and how I am focused on finding a vision for myself. I was curious how he was able to attain such levels of clarity on his life goals and his thought process behind it. I am sure his outlook on life was hazy at some point like how mine is currently.

Here are some brief minutes from his answer:

  • Your brain is very good at lying to you and in telling you that things are fine when they're not fine.
  • Most people don't plan their life as if they're going to die. If you plan life as if you're going to die, then you know you can't accomplish everything in life. It's comforting to feel that you can do everything, and your brain will lie to you and tell you that it can. This is why many people, like me, have commitment issues. It's hard to commit to something because that means you're intentionally choosing not to do other things.

As for the thought process behind choosing his goals:

  • I (Dobromir) am interested in the survival of the human race. Or, to be more precise, for "intelligence" to survive. The universe is a lot cooler and more interesting when it's inhabited with intelligence.
  • Humans have been pushing humanity forward, but the number of people who are moving things forward is actually very small - maybe 10,000 or so who are really at the heart of the action. Everyone else is playing a supporting role. They're important, but their role is to support those people. For example, the person flipping burgers at the army is definitely important, but his role is to support troops who go on ground. Those are at the heart of the action.
  • I want to get closest to the action as possible.
  • By being qualified to be a VP of engineering in a year, I will have possessed some qualities that are necessary to drive humanity forward (e.g. leadership skills, persuasion skills, hiring skills, technical skills, etc...)
  • Since I am interested in the survival of the human race, I can then use my skills to accomplish that goal and explore opportunities to help accomplish that goal on different fronts.
  • One front, for example, is space exploration. Maybe I can explore ways to make exploring space profitable (e.g. mining).
  • Another front is biology, to be able to live longer and potentially outlive our bodies with our consciousness. Democratizing biotech, the startup idea we discussed together, has the potential to play a role in that.
  • Another front is childhood education. Having children learn to their potential to have more people contributing to the action as opposed to be supporting roles at the bottom of the chain.

I'll leave the analysis of this to another time, but I am writing those minutes now for my reference.

On another note, Indiebio held a demo day today and Karim Galil was pitching his AI biotech startup. I also met up with Fatima, Amr Saleh's fiancé who is visiting SF, and had her join me to the demo day as well.

I was supposed to go to a party with Omar and a bunch of his (really cool) friends, but I decided to stay behind because I am on pager and needed to reflect on my thoughts. That's not to say that I will be dialing my partying down anytime soon though 🙂

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