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Can Do #25: An unexpected realization
(Alex Katz, Red Coat, 1983)
Welcome to edition #25 of Can Do, a newsletter where I share my journey of building a Career Multiverse™.
Newsletter at a Glance
Career Multiverse™: An unexpected realization
Book: The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
Tweet: Dream jobs
I took Daniel Vassallo’s “Portfolio of Small Bets” course in February. Since then, I've been a firm believer in experimenting with many different projects and not letting myself go all-in on anything 100%. It is too risky to go all-in on one idea because there are no assurances that things will work out. Some of it may have to do with execution, and some with life, which can be unpredictable and interfere with even the best laid-out plans. The small bets approach has worked well for me, until now.
As I continue to work on Walnut, I am starting to realize it is no longer a small bet. A small bet, by definition, is something that can be produced in 30-60 days, sometimes even less. In so few days, you have no time to get too attached to the idea, which is why it is so easy to let it go if it doesn’t pan out.
We have been working on Walnut since March. It was mostly exploratory for the first few months, but after we announced the formation of Walnut in September, it started to feel much bigger than a small bet.
Earlier in the week, I had a conversation with someone, and the subject of Walnut came up. During the conversation, I realized that the project has become very meaningful to me. I caught myself describing Walnut in the way founders talk about their startups when they go all-in, fully tying themselves to the company they have formed.
To be honest, I was surprised by how deeply connected I felt to the mission of Walnut. It was silly to be surprised because so much about Walnut is based on my personal experiences over the past 20 years. Nevertheless, I was taken aback by my reaction.
It’s a tricky situation. The best part about embracing a small bets mindset is that it is low pressure. You spend 30 days working on something, launch it, and see if it takes off. If it does, great. If it doesn’t, no big deal, as not much time or money was spent to launch.
As I already mentioned, when you go all-in on a project, there are risks. You are investing a significant amount of time, money, and energy into something that, similarly to a small bet, may or may not work. There is also an opportunity cost to consider as you are closing yourself off from pursuing other projects.
What does it all mean for my plans for Walnut? Regardless of the downsides, I can no longer treat it as a small bet. I can visualize what it could become, and I’m going to give this project everything I’ve got to make that vision a reality.
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt
I try to stay out of politics as much as I possibly can. It is hard to do that these days when it seems like almost everything and everyone is political. It is even harder when someone comes to your house and spends most of their time expressing views with which you do not align. Still, I don’t engage in political arguments. There’s no point. You can’t change people’s minds.
I read The Righteous Mind in 2019 when I was still trying to make sense of what had happened during the 2016 election. So many friendships got ruined, and many family relationships got strained as well. It made no sense to me. How was that possible?
This book explained it all, and I never experienced political conversations the same way again.
It’s a short tweet, but it resonates with the essence of what Walnut is all about. We also believe that finding a job that aligns with your values is the way to have job satisfaction and fulfillment.
Thank you for reading!