I Missed a 2,587% Investment (#5)
Luck doesn’t just happen - we create serendipity
Every Sunday I publish a newsletter featuring the best hacks and insights I discover on my journey as an entrepreneur and investor.
This week I started consulting an early-stage Venture Capital firm. An old client of ours at Django Digital. This time last year we’d just structured an SPV for them. In case you don’t know, an SPV is a ‘special purpose investment vehicle’. And our ‘special purpose’ was to invest in the best Psychedelic start-ups around the world. 🍄
After 1 month of intense work, my business partner, Kiran, and I had spoken with almost every investor, professor and entrepreneur in the psychedelics industry. We then constructed a risk-weighted portfolio of the best 5 psychedelics start-ups for our client. Not only this, but we even went and raised capital from investors for them to execute the transactions!
After starting work for the client again this week, I realised something crazy... the SPV we structured has returned 2,587%+ to investors! And every single company has gone public! 🤯
Even crazier still… because Kiran and I were part of the team, we were able to invest in the SPV without management fees or minimum commitments… but we decided against it! 🙃
It got me thinking about luck…
I’ve always thought of luck as something you create - by putting yourself in as many positions to benefit from serendipity as possible, and then taking the right shots at the right time. But this concept has never manifested itself in my life as clearly as it did this week.
According to Christian Busch’s How To Be Lucky:
Many of the world’s leading minds have developed a capacity, often unconscious, to turn the unexpected into positive outcomes.
Christian goes on to explain how a ‘serendipity mindset’ is both a philosophy of life and a capability that you can develop. This can come through challenging the biases in how you see and relate to the world and reframing mistakes as opportunities.
With this in mind, I’m not going to beat myself up for missing the SPV opportunity. Having a transparent and consistent framework to assess your decisions in life and investing is important. But placing yourself in the position to be able to invest in the first place is even more important - I've got to continue to search for even more opportunities and make even more bets!
I’d love to hear from you
I’d love to hear from you - how do you think about luck? And what are you doing to make sure you’re in the right rooms at the right times? You can reach me on Twitter or email: email@example.com.
The Book I Read This Week
🌍 Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner. 5/5. I really enjoyed this read for two reasons. Firstly, the author’s learnt 6 languages himself and draws from personal experience. In doing so, he injects plenty of personality and humour into a relatively dry subject, thereby making this a genuinely entertaining read. Secondly, in building upon his personal experience, he writes a very well structured, logical and accessible book for anyone to begin learning a new language. It's extremely comprehensive, and I’ll soon be using this book’s strategies to learn my fourth language. As always, feel free to grab my full review and book notes from my website.
My Favourite Podcasts This Week
🚀 a16z interview early Amazon employees and Execs, Colin Bryar and Bill Carr. Not only do they share insights and stories behind big business moves like AWS, Kindle, Prime -- but more importantly, the leadership principles, decision making practices, AND operational processes that got them there.
💸 Lex Fridman interviews Jason Calacanis on Startups, Angel Investing, Capitalism, and Friendship. They also discuss Learning to Learn, Robinhood, Clubhouse, and early stories behind Elon Musk at Tesla. This makes my all-time top 10 list of favourite Lex podcasts. An intelligent and nuanced conversation that I’d highly recommend.
🧬 Kevin Rose interviews Stanford Neuroscientist, Andrew Huberman on Supplements, Sunlight and Stimulation. If you’re into any type of quantitative health and bio-hacking, this one’s for you. TLDR: expose yourself to natural light early in the morning and before sunset; doesn’t use blue-light blocking glasses; try breathing exercises for stress reduction; avoid melatonin for sleep & more!
My Favourite Articles This Week
🏀 Kobe Bryant’s 2 Psychological Keys to Success. “The worst advice is to lower your expectations. Kobe expected every shot he made to go in. But he didn’t attach to the outcome of that particular shot. When you expect everything and attach nothing, you don’t get caught up in the process. You’re fully committed to the end result.” (1,150 words).
👑 Why I’ve tracked every single piece of clothing I’ve worn for three years. Have you ever wondered whether expensive clothes are worth their price? Or had that subtle feeling of guilt when buying something pricey, and then justifying it because you will wear it so many times, even if you have no clue if it’s actually true? If you thought yes, then this is for you. (4,620 words).
🔮 How To Open Up Serendipity and Create Your Own Luck. An interesting dissection of ‘luck’. Why it’s not random and what you can do to increase your chance of ‘getting lucky’. “Serendipity is an active process of spotting and connecting the dots. It is about seeing bridges where others see gaps, and then taking initiative and action(s) to create smart luck.” (2,800 words).
Tools I Discovered This Week
🔊 Audiblogs is a free Chrome extension that lets you listen to any web article. This is very cool. It identifies text-based articles and turns them into audio files. You can play these through any podcast player or directly through your browser. The service employs natural language processing (NLP) wizardry to make the audio sound more human than you might expect. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
💪 The Gapminder Worldview Upgrader is a tool for testing your misconceptions about global progress. Inspired by Hans Rosling’s Factfulness, they’ve got tests for everything. Plastic in oceans, suicide trends, global warming, illegal harassment, refugee numbers. Try it out yourself and see if your beliefs about the world are grounded in facts (or not).
Nomad News This Week
👩💻 Spotify announce that employees can work remotely from anywhere and still earn a San Francisco salary! It’s critical to think of the downstream effects of these decisions. With 5,000+ employees, if executed well, Spotify may create history here by offering global pay at such scale.
🇿🇦 Western Cape wants South Africa to introduce remote working visas for digital nomads to entice them to Cape Town. Considering its high quality of life and convenient time zone, places like Cape Town are 100% on my radar right now!
🚖 Uber extends its work from home policy to September 2021. Google, Apple, Amazon, and other big tech still have June/July as tentative timelines to return to the office. But, with this announcement, it seems increasingly likely they’ll also adopt permanent hybrid remote work.
🐦 Excerpts From The Twitterverse
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I want to be able to deliver the best content I can to all of you. To that end, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what’s working, what isn’t, and what you’d like more of. You can reach me on Twitter or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.