Activation Energy V1

Getting Started...


I hope you all enjoyed V0 of Activation Energy, thank you for your time.

Last week after sending out v0, a friend of mine challenged me to think more about why I'm starting this newsletter. He asked me what my goal was for it and why I was promoting it so heavily. Although I thought I had articulated "the why" well in my post, I hadn't.

To clarify further I've realized the goal is to simply click send. As someone who has a burning desire to create, I struggle a lot with doing it. Creating something new, no matter what it is, is difficult. Activation Energy is a way for me train that creative muscle weekly.

Every time I send this newsletter out, I'll be reminded of how much I love the feeling of making something and that I am capable of doing it. Serendipitously, that's what Activation Energy is about: helping others get over the barrier to create as I get over it myself by clicking send.

Providing a catalyst.

Every week I’ll share key insights from a conversation I had learned a lot from in a series called, Providing a Catalyst.

This week I spoke to a software/hardware engineer at a leading technology company. To keep her anonymity I won’t mention which one. I also won’t mention the specifics of her role at said company as it’s not relevant to the lessons I learned from our conversation.

What were my key takeaways from our conversation?

Lesson 1: Work on building skills and getting to know your circle of competence. This allows you to increase the amount of leverage you have and you will then naturally gravitate towards what needs you the most.

Lesson 2: Success is an internal metric, not an external one. It’s important, to be honest with yourself and do what you want instead of what is expected of you.

Read more from our conversation here.

Lighting a match

I hope these articles inspire you to do something or learn something new.

Asymmetric Information and Entrepreneurship: Why do individuals become entrepreneurs? We develop a model in which individuals signal their unobservable ability to employers (e.g., via educational qualifications). However, signals are imperfect and individuals whose ability is greater than their signals convey to employers choose entrepreneurship.
- Deepak Hegde (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business

If you'd like my annotated copy with highlights of the report, message me.

The Power of Detachment:
KarmanyeVaadhika-raste, MaaPhaleshuKadachana
This probably is the most popular verse in the sacred Indian text ‘Bhagvad Gita’, which loosely translates to ‘You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action.’ The Gita advises us to attach ourselves to the process but not to the outcome, as the outcome is never in our control. And there are quite a few businessmen who operate based on this principle.
- Intelligent Fanatics

Understanding Your Circle of Competence: You have to figure out what your own aptitudes are. If you play games where other people have the aptitudes and you don't, you're going to lose. And that's as close to certain as any prediction that you can make. You have to figure out where you've got an edge. And you've got to play within your own circle of competence.
- Farnam Street

The Future of Medicine, From a Leader in VC: Fundamentally, doctors spend a lot of time doing things that others can do for them. We have technology similar to a doctor's assistant, which can do many of the things that doctors do today. My view is that doctors should be involved in the most human elements of care. A very large percentage of what doctors do can be done with technology, which would free the doctor to do other things. No doctor spends enough time with the typical patient. The median patient visit is so short.
- Vinod Khosla, co-founder, Sun Microsystems/ Founder, Khosla Ventures

I learned nothing at one of NYC’s elite high schools: The real failure is high school itself and the panel of baby boomers obsessed with graduation rates and pushing kids into the Ivy Leagues where they will likely be paying off their student debts for life. They do this at the risk of ignoring the diverse, complex, vibrant and innovative generation of kids — my generation — that is already making its impact on the world.
- Hannah Milic, 18

My Updates:

- Last Wednesday night, I spontaneously made the decision to go to Seattle, WA this week. I'll be leaving Wednesday morning and plan to come back on Tuesday the following week. If you know anyone I should meet or suggestions for things to do, let me know.
- Have you ever felt like you're unable to do what you want when you want to? I've been feeling that a lot this past week; sending this newsletter and going to Seattle are things I'm doing because I want to. It's a good feeling to know you're in control.

Is there anything I can do to help? Let's chat.

Thank you for signing up and reading this edition of Activation Energy.

- Abhi Vyas

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it would mean the world to me if you shared it with a friend!