Day: March 12, 2021


This post is by naval from Naval

A collection of all my episodes on happiness

Live Long Enough and You’ll Become a Philosopher

This podcast is a practical philosophy of health, wealth and happiness

Naval: Let’s talk about why we’re doing this podcast. It’s really a discussion of highly practical philosophy.

Philosophy, as we normally think of it, is impractical. It’s abstract and obtuse—something written a long time ago in fancy language. We put it on a pedestal and it feels unapproachable. Sometimes it comes across like truisms.

The big problems are the old ones

But if you live long enough, you will become a philosopher yourself. You’ll have spent a lifetime solving the big problems in your life. The big problems are the old ones, the ones we’ve been trying to solve since the beginning: How do I stay happy? How do I become healthy? How do I become wealthy? How do I raise the family I want?

What one monkey can do, another can do

This podcast is about practical philosophy that has worked for us. What one monkey can do, another can. We want people to think, “If this person learned something that made them happier, healthier or wealthier, then I can do it too.” That’s what we focus on: a practical philosophy of health, wealth and happiness.

Nivi: If you summed it up in one word, it would be health: financial health, mental health and physical health.

Naval: Health is a state of well-being. Let’s get to a state of financial health (Read more...)

Siri for Seniors: Ruminations on the HomePod mini


My dad lives in assisted living. He’s got his wits about him, which is great, but his mobility is very limited, which is not so great. 

While he has an iPhone and an iMac, he an absolute beginner on the iPhone, and if he answers the phone or a FaceTime request 25% of the time, it’s a good day.

Recently, I got him a HomePod mini, thinking Siri is about as far as I can get him to go in embracing technology to get out of his sandbox.

The first time I demonstrated to him the fact that the device was mostly voice-controlled, with pretty much the entire of universe of music available for the literal asking, he got a big goofy grin.

Even though trained as an engineer, the directness and instant gratification of Siri and HomePod were like a thought bomb erupting in his brain.

Once he figured out HomePod mini basics, it became my fancy to check on him throughout the day through the Home app on my iPhone.

In a click, I could see if he was enjoying the HomePod and listening to music.

Interestingly, even though his HomePod was in a different physical location than my home network — hundreds of miles away, in fact — because it was part of my “My Home” device network, I could connect with the HomePod from anywhere.

Which brings me to Intercom. I had first tested out Apple’s Intercom function, which allows you to push a (Read more...)

This is getting dumb

This is Joseph

Matt Yglesias commenting on the NYT:

Also noted by Alex Tabbarok

AZ has on the order of 50 million doses nearly ready to go and can produce in the US around 25 million doses a month so over a year that production is worth over $100 billion to the world economy, far higher than the modest cost of production! Instead of idling this capacity we should expand it even further as part of a plan to vaccinate the world.

 I think we need to have a very careful reality check. What could possibly be the reason for not allowing the export of the vaccine? People keep pointing out that Astra-Zeneca has not done the paperwork for an emergency use authorization, but what is the point of letting it sit unused when the company would like to export it. 

If it works, why would the United States not want to use it? If it is inferior to current vaccines why should we deny it to countries dealing with large outbreaks? I understand not immediately authorizing it because the US has vaccines with good data already approved but then it should be exportable. I also understand wanting to use it domestically to speed up vaccination rates but then there should be hard questions asked about why the company is not applying to the FDA. 

But the current course of action seems to make no actual sense. What am I missing? What is the value in letting the doses expire due to an export ban? 

The History of Psychedelics (Part 1 of 2)

The following content is sponsored by Tryp Therapeutics.

The History of Psychedelics (Part 1 of 2)

Due to their counterculture connotations and rigid legal status, psychedelics were once considered a highly stigmatized topic.

Over the last decade however, a steady stream of groundbreaking research has proven that these powerful substances have the potential to safely treat a wide range of diseases.

Today, attitudes toward the industry have changed, and capital is flowing—resulting in a market that analysts predict could eventually be worth $100 billion.

The graphic above from Tryp Therapeutics is the first in a two-part series that explores how psychedelics have evolved over the last 6,000 years.

From Ancient Antidote to Breakthrough Medicine

Before we dive into the history of psychedelics, it’s important to understand what they are and how they work.

Psychedelics are drugs that alter cognitive processes and produce hallucinogenic effects. Broadly speaking, there are two categories that psychedelic substances fall into: entheogens, and synthetic drugs. Entheogenic psychedelics are derived from plants, while synthetic psychedelics are created in a laboratory.

Here are some of the most well known psychedelic substances explained:

history of psychedelics supplemental

Certain psychedelics work by binding to serotonin receptors in the brain which produces psychoactive effects. Research suggests that when this happens, the structure of the brain changes—such as the number of connections between neutrons. This means that psychedelics could have the potential to rewire or repair circuits in the brain, hence their reputation for having healing powers.

Ancient Times

While the science behind (Read more...)

How to Build a Strong Brand

This post is by Alex Frommeyer from Georgian

When we set out to build the future of dental insurance, we knew that having a brand that truly differentiates us in the market would be key to our success. Here is a look at how our brand is evolving as our business grows, along with some of the steps we took to make that happen—steps that you can take, too.

Make your name work for you

When we started in 2012, the trend for tech companies was to purposely misspell the name of the company—by changing an ‘I’ to a ‘Y’ for example—to indicate that the company was innovative, edgy and fun. We took a different approach. Although we’re an innovative tech company too, we operate in the healthcare space and need to be a little more sophisticated. We chose the name “Beam” to bridge the gap between technology and healthcare: We “beam” data from your toothbrush and we also help you achieve a “beaming” smile. Having a one-syllable, easy-to-spell name has been a great way to sum up what we stand for, while still being distinctive.

Meet a need—even if it’s difficult

As we got a better sense of our customers and refined the positioning of our products and services, we found that it wasn’t digitization that was missing in the dental industry —it was customer experience. So, we honed our strategic initiatives to focus everything we do on delivering a truly delightful customer experience. 

That was easy to say, but difficult to do. In (Read more...)

Marketing Effectively at Scale Starts on Day One

This post is by Shane Skiffington from Georgian

If you’ve clicked on this article, chances are your organization is navigating the complexities of marketing at scale. You might have glossed right over the “Day One” part of the title — but that is just as important as the “at Scale” part.

Here’s why: Whether intuitively or intentionally, every successful marketer needs to answer three fundamental “Day One” questions, as I call them. And marketers don’t just answer those questions on Day One and then move on; they bake the answers to those Day One answers into every aspect of their subsequent marketing strategy. That makes the challenge of marketing at scale way more manageable. 

So even if Day One feels like a long time ago, it’s vital to go back and review these Day One questions as your company accelerates its growth:

1. What are we selling?

As you begin to scale, it’s a good time to make sure that every member of the team has a crystal-clear understanding of your company’s product/market fit and value proposition. What is the target market’s pain point, and what do they gain by using your product or service?

2. Who are we selling to?

Once you understand the answer to Question 1, the answer to Question 2 should become obvious: You’re selling to anyone who is experiencing the pain point that your product was designed to cure. And yet the challenges of marketing at scale often obscure this basic objective.

3. How will we reach them?

Admittedly, this is a bit (Read more...)

Women in VC Making a Big Impact: Kathryn Weinmann

This new series focuses on successful women in VC and rising stars who are making a big impact as investors and who are making a making positive impact on the venture ecosystem. For this first edition, we spoke with Kathryn Weinmann, Senior Associate at Norwest Venture Partners and a recipient of the 2021 NVCA Rising Star award. Kathryn shares details on her VC career, her work with the Emerging Venture Capital Association (EVCA), and more!

Tell us about your career journey into venture capital.

Like many, I joined venture somewhat unexpectedly. While in management consulting, I spent significant time with big banks and major retailers. Both faced increasing structural headwinds and struggled to serve the next generation of consumers. I was particularly moved by an experience I had while working in the anti-money laundering group within a major bank. Due to the cost of meeting regulatory requirements, the bank was firing hundreds of customers because the cost to serve them was “just not worth the risk.” Many of those impacted were hardworking, small business owners who didn’t understand the implications of their cash deposit patterns. I had worked on international microfinance initiatives in college, but this was a powerful moment of witnessing financial exclusion at home. To learn more, I reached out to a Google Impact Challenge finalist nonprofit in the fintech space, Mission Asset Fund, to see how I could help. Over five years later, I’m still working with them and could not be more proud (Read more...)

NVCA Member Spotlight: Tusk Venture Partners

Welcome to our Member Spotlight series where we give a profile overview of our many diverse members. For this deep dive, we spoke to Jordan Nof, Managing Partner and co-founder of Tusk Venture Partners, to learn more about his firm.
Tell us about your firm. What makes it different?

My co-founder, Bradley Tusk, and I have different backgrounds. He spent most of his career in politics, and I was building my career as a professional venture capital investor. We came together and started Tusk Venture Partners when we realized no other firm understood the regulatory risks early startups would face as they continued to grow. We developed a thesis and playbook of investing in highly regulated markets and have been doing so for the past five years.

Together, our backgrounds allow us to understand regulatory risk better than any other fund and offer founders a platform that helps our portfolio companies execute against those risks like no other venture capital firm can.  Our portfolio includes some of the most transformative technology companies across fintech, transportation, and digital health sectors.

What defines your portfolio?

We are an early stage venture capital firm that invests in companies operating in highly regulated markets or is creating new business models where a regulatory framework may not exist yet. We are conviction-driven investors, which is apparent when you look at our concentrated approach to portfolio construction. A common thread you will see across the portfolio is what we call the “Tusk Edge.” With (Read more...)

TaxDown banks ~$3M for tech that helps people get their taxes done

Madrid-based TaxDown, which automates income tax filing by calculating regional deductions due to users so they don’t have to navigate complex tax rules themselves, has raised €2.4 million (~$3M) in seed funding.

US-based FJ Labs has joined TaxDown’s investment board as it closes the seed round. It says all its previous investors participated in the round, including James Argalas (Presidio Union); Abac Nest, Abac’s venture capital business; Baldomero Falcones, the former Chairman at Mastercard; and the founders of Jobandtalent, Juan Urdiales and Felipe Navío (another Madrid-based startup).

For the past three years TaxDown been offering a service in Spain but is now eyeing international expansion, as well as further growth in its home market.

Last year, it says it managed more than €29M in taxes for users — delivering savings of €4M+ to users.

Its target is to hit 500,000 users in Spain this year. While international expansion is planned for the second half of 2021, with TaxDown saying it’s focused on other European and Latin American markets.

“From the beginning, our ambition has been to help people fill in their taxes all over the world. That is why we developed our proprietary software/tax language that allows a tax expert with no coding capabilities to translate the tax law into calculation and logic that can be interpreted by our backend seamlessly,” says Enrique García, CEO and co-founder. “This tax language allowed us to launch in Spain in 4 (Read more...)