Discover more from Tings by Michael Karnjanaprakorn
Tings Newsletter #16
Who am I? I’m Michael Karnjanaprakorn. Entrepreneur, founder, podcaster, youtuber, writer, investor, collector, partner, among many other things. Every now and then, I send out a newsletter about life, work, and random tings.
It's a good time to launch a startup. Here's why: there's still a lot of capital available, valuations have fallen back to the levels of the 2009-2014 era, and companies don't have as much pressure to grow exponentially, which provides early-stage startups with some breathing room to get things right.
But startups are hard af and it’s even harder today. Building an app is no longer a barrier to entry. Competing for attention is only going to get harder. And in my opinion, the startups that breakthrough are the ones that solve difficult technical problems. The startups of tomorrow are companies that can drive humanity forward.
There's a lot to be optimistic about when it comes to technology. Vinod Khosla put together an inspiring list: AI enabling near-free doctors, lawyers, and tutors. Cars being replaced in cities. More efficient sources of plant protein to replace animal protein. Replacing all coal plants by 2050. And more. WATTBA.
Here are also 10 charts about how the world is changing from Rex Woodbury. We spend more per capita on healthcare than any other country, but our health outcomes are abysmal. We are living in a time where technology is rapidly advancing (LLMs, compute power, etc), and productivity is improving as companies are able to accomplish more with less.
But, here’s my hot take: most startups shouldn’t get funded. It's not that these ideas aren't good, it's just that even if they were successful, they wouldn't have a multi-billion dollar outcome or impact hundreds of millions of people. Startups should aim for moonshots, pursuing innovation that propels society forward. Otherwise, it's better for them to be cash-flowing businesses.
I have fallen into this cycle myself that Nikita Bier describes as "scaling themselves out". You find success but attribute most of it to luck. So, you default to "lower risk things such as investing, content creation—like newsletters and podcasts, and taking well-paid exec roles at mature companies" because it's less stressful. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy what I’m doing right now but... if I land on an idea that checks off all the boxes, I would swing for the fences again.
In other news, my podcast *The Karnjanaprakorn Show* has launched! The first three episodes cover my Sabbatical, Mid-life Transitions, and Creativity. These episodes explore the journey of transitioning from climbing my first mountain (tech startups) to figuring out my next steps in life. I've received nearly 100 messages from those of you who found the content helpful, so thank you! 🙏🏼
In my most recent episode, I chat with Johnny Bowman about Manhood. We talk about “protocol daddies” like Andrew Huberman, explore the archetype for the ideal male role model, and how emotional intelligence fits into that. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to check out Johnny's newsletter and course on emotional intelligence.
Speaking of podcasts, if you need a motivational speaker to start your mornings, check out Rob Dyrdek's podcast Build with Rob. If you enjoyed his MTV show, Rob & Big (RIP), and liked his interviews on MyFirstMillion (specifically the popular episode here), then you'll enjoy his podcast as he discusses similar topics.
I have a confession to make. For the past 20 years, I have been switching my productivity apps every year. Lately, I have been trying to find the perfect notes app. I have used Notion, Workflowy, Roam, and Obsidian. I believe I have finally found the right one: Evernote. Yes, the original notes app. After watching a Youtube video on PARA by Tiago Forte, I started using Evernote, and it has been working great for my projects. It allows me to forward emails, save links, and take meeting notes, all in one place. Since my brain works in folders, Evernote fits nicely into my workflow. It may not be fancy, but there is something nice about its simplicity.
I’ve been diving deeper into Heart Disease as it’s something that I have a higher risk of in my lifetime. Here are some of the recent things I’ve read on the topic. TLDR: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. To lower your risk, get your baseline biomarkers checked: ApoB, LP(a), and calcium score through a basic CT scan. Lowering your risk depends on genetics and lifestyle. Consider taking a statin to lower ApoB concentrations (I’m still on the fence about this).
Everyone has been recommending me Creatine. Why? Here's a good overview: Creatine is a natural compound that should be taken post-workout. It improves athletic performance, increases the need for water and electrolytes, aids in recovery, and has amazing benefits for the brain, including improved memory.
This is a wild story related to health.
I recently discovered Olipop and have been drinking it non-stop. A healthy soda? Count me in! But of course, Justin Mares, had to pop my bubble by pointing out why this prebiotic drink is not healthy for you. “The problem is, there’s no actual fiber in Olipop!” 😕
My favorite author, Morgan Housel, has written a new book called Same as Ever: Timeless Lessons on Risk, Opportunity and Living a Good Life. I'm excited to dive into this one after re-reading his first book, The Psychology of Money.
I learned about Ryan Russell's new children's book from Morgan Housel. Ryan's wife wrote a heartfelt post about how he battled cancer and wrote this book while undergoing treatments, because he believed it was important for their children to always understand the power of perspective. With the help of Morgan and Twitter, the book reached #1 on the children's list. You can read Ryan's Last Letter, which is also very touching. If you're interested, you can order his book on Amazon.
Based on this research, the childhoods of exceptional people had the following similarities: they often involved little pressure for conformity, allowing children to pursue their own interests, and relied heavily on self-directed learning.
What is wealth good for? “The most important thing I’ve learned about money is that, once you have enough, you can choose to have less of it in exchange for choosing how to spend your time.” Time > Things.
I don't know who Dax is or how this showed up in my feed, but this is a great song called "To Be a Man" with Darius Rucker from Hootie & The Blowfish.
If you enjoyed reading this issue, you can also “like” this newsletter by clicking the ❤️ below, which helps me get visibility on Substack.
Until the next one.