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.
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:
Evergreen note-writing as fundamental unit of knowledge work: after coming across this concept, I spent 6 hours non-stop reviewing all my notes: I felt like I was the protagonist of Limitless
Extreme focus unlocking extreme outcomes: how and why narrowing your focus down can help you both on a macro and on a micro level, from scaling digital products to millions of user to finding your own writing voice
The relationship between digital content and physical content for learning and thinking: I have a feeling that everything we read online can be great for discovery and awareness, and utterly useless for actual learning
Lead metrics vs lag metrics: why focusing on outcomes can produce negative impacts (more relatable example of them all: the harder you try with your crush the easiest it is to make them run away)
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:
I was pretty sure that I had only 11 subscribers, but when I opened TinyLetter to write you this message, I see that they’re now a few dozens. No clue where you guys are coming from, but I hope you’ll stick around! More is coming.
Feel free to suggest this newsletter, or to tweet my essays. Working in public is a surprisingly powerful way to learn better: you’ll help me a lot.
If you believe that what I’m working on and writing about is valuable, and you wish to support my operating expenses (courses, books, paid newsletter subscriptions, various tech costs), feel free to send a donation. Even just a few pennies can motivate me to keep pushing and do better, I guarantee you.
Any feedback is always very appreciated. Feel free to answer this email: I’ll read all your follow-ups!