Learn must be hard, how to solve searching problems, and some news

August 2020 · 4 minute read

Hello, there!

When you signed up to this newsletter, I promised you to only write when I had something worth to be read. It’s been some time since my last message, so I guess I’ve been true to my word.

In the last period, I’ve been up to two main things: Uniwhere and meta-learning.

With Uniwhere — an app focused on helping students manage, organize and administer their college education —, we joined The Venture City portfolio family, and we’re now working to get into the States. We’ll start from Columbia, and then Brown. Learning how to scale a product from former Facebook growth leads has been fascinating and exciting, and, in general, it’s been a period of profoundly intense professional growth for our all team.

Aside from my daily job, I’ve dedicated my spare time — that is not much, but also not nil —, to dive deeper into meta-learning: how do I learn? How do I learn to become more effective at learning?

A core insight came out of this period of research: one fundamental principle of learning is Interaction over Consumption. Learning *must* be hard, or else you’re not going to learn at all. Knowledge retention is unlocked when we take a “constructivist approach to learning”: you need to actively interact, wrestle almost, with the knowledge you want to possess. Ultimately, that’s because understanding requires an effortful engagement.

This translated in an interesting outcome: even if I’m in a position of (slight) financial instability (startups are really hard, kids…), I still decided to join a paid collaborative writers community. See, the easiest thing there is to learn something is to write about it. That’s why I started prioritizing my blog and this very newsletter: I’m profoundly convinced that they will help me think more clearly, and learn faster and more effectively.

→ I wrote about this topic here, and some seemed to appreciate it.

This has a somewhat relevant consequence: I have no idea what I will write about in the foreseeable future. Point being: my blog is a tool I want to use to explore ideas, knowledge, concepts, and I’m not yet a position to dive deep into a specific research area. So, for now, I’ll stick to keep exploring.

→ I also wrote about this specific trade-off between exploration and exploitation, and you can find the essay here. It’s supposed to be an analysis of product development in startups, but it turned out becoming a microeconomics investigation of how to tackle Searching Problems, from venture capital to writing. It’s been both fun and super hard to write it.

Moving forward, I’m particularly interested in a few topics I’ll probably keep investigating: 

I’m also developing a cross-platform app to help people stop smoking by leveraging behavior change models, but it will take some time before I manage to ship it.

A few final points:

Any feedback is always very appreciated. Feel free to answer this email: I’ll read all your follow-ups!