Who am I? I’m Michael Karnjanaprakorn. I created Skillshare and Otis. Now, I’m taking some time before my next projects. Every month, I send out a newsletter about life, work, and random tings.
I took a six-month break and it was good. I lost ten pounds, stopped drinking alcohol for all of 2023, and tried different hobbies while figuring out what I want to do next.
I’m currently going through a midlife reorientation. I’m at the end of the first stage, which involved rethinking my priorities and what I really value. Now I’m moving on to the second stage, where I will use the skills and knowledge I have gained throughout my career to express myself to the world. This process has been challenging as I’ve been rethinking my identity, what I really want, and what gets me excited. I’m being patient and trust that this holding pattern will lead to something meaningful and fun.
I stopped drinking alcohol at the start of 2023. First, I did Dry January but then I continued for three months. Now, I want to keep going another six months, or maybe even the whole year. It’s so much easier now because of all the non-alcoholic options available. If I crave a hoppy IPA, I have an Athletic IPA or Hoplark sparking water, which tastes as good, if not better, than the real thing.
What have I been exploring? Anything that grabs my attention, without worrying about making a huge business out of it. Lately, I've been really into the UFC. At first, I just got back into sports trading cards but now I'm thinking of ways to work with UFC/MMA fighters, particularly those who can build a strong audience.
Speaking of the UFC, it's always inspiring to watch someone call their shot, when everyone doubted them, and win. Israel Adensaya has lost to Alex Pereira three times in a row and finally got the win. Check out this post-fight interview with Izzy. Raw emotions. Happiness. Relief. I can't even imagine how this would feel. Same with the new series about Conor McGregor on Netflix.
I was curious about aliens. Check out this Joe Rogan interview with a former navy pilot who talks about his UFO encounter. There's another interview on 60 Minutes. In 2022, the Pentagon received hundreds of new reports of UFOs, many of which remain a mystery.
In 1997, a book called The Sovereign Individual predicted the metaverse, cryptocurrencies, and the pandemic, among many other things.
Financial markets are driven by narratives. Whether it's raising capital for your company, investing in cryptocurrencies or collectibles, or buying stocks in meme companies, the market's behavior can often seem irrational and hard to explain. What matters most is the story that people tell themselves about why they should invest in a particular asset. Today, it seems that narratives trump facts.
In his article, “what makes you happy,” Morgan Housel explains that people often think a good life will make them happy, but happiness is often found in the contrast between what you have now and what you were just doing. As he puts it, “The best drink you will ever taste is a glass of tap water when you’re thirsty.”
Morgan has also created a new podcast that talks about wealth, greed, and happiness. I liked the last episode called “A Few Things I’m Pretty Sure About”. My favorite lines were: “The most important communication skill is knowing when to shut up” and “There are two types of successful people: those with imposter syndrome, and sociopaths.” You can view the full list here.
In light of recent company implosions, it’s hard to differentiate good leaders from sociopaths. Effective leaders care about others, while sociopaths care only about themselves and lack empathy. Both types inspire people to follow them, and it can be hard to distinguish them apart because leaders have to flip between these two types. Businesses consists of people but leaders act like they don’t. Sometimes, leaders do things that help the company but harm people. Unfortunately, leaders are often praised and rewarded for making these tough decisions — basically behaving like a sociopath. There’s a very thin line between greatness and madness.
Some of the top AI researchers have become scared of the consequences of AI. The "Godfather of AI" himself, Geoffrey Hinton, recently quit Google with regrets and fears about his life's work. Eliezer Yudkowsky has gone as far as to say that pausing AI developments isn't enough, and that we need to shut it all down.
If AI makes us more productive and efficient, what will we do with our extra time?
AI Drake is better than Drake. He doesn’t miss. AI Kanye is a banger too. If these songs dropped on Spotify, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
I like what Justin Mares said in this article about software and artificial intelligence. I’ve been thinking about it too. My opinion is that in the next ten years, returns will gravitate to hard-tech companies that have to overcome substantial scientific or engineering problems. Think blockchains, clean energy, space exploration, and major advancements in AI. These will take a long time and require an immense amount of capital.
That being said, I believe that new small businesses, particularly those within personal holding companies, will be software businesses, which are now easier to build. We will probably see many businesses in the range of $1M to $10M that will create excellent outcomes for the entrepreneurs and teams involved. These businesses may not generate billions of dollars in revenue, but I think that's perfectly fine.
Justin is also working on True Medicine, a payment integration that lets people use pre-tax HSA/FSA funds to buy healthy products from their favorite stores.. Check out this interesting interview with co-founder Calley on the Russell Brand show about the dark side of our food industry and how the medical system is profiting.
I never thought I would be a cat person, given my allergies, but here we are. I upgraded our cat “tech stack” with an automatic self-cleaning litter box, auto feeder, and water fountain from Petlibro.
“For the best results with your children, spend only half the money you think you should but double the time with them.” — Kevin Kelly from the Tim Ferriss Show. Check out his new book: *Excellent Advice for Living: Wisdom I Wish I'd Known Earlier”*
Here’s a good reminder: the days are long but the decades are short.
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Thanks for reading!
Excellent read. Especially the bit about leaders and sociopathy. Really resonated.
Keep up the good work Michael, love the newsletters 👏