What major should I study in college?

uc berkeley campanile dusk

Almost everyone do college wrong. It’s a shame because these are smart ambitious people but no one taught them. The key is to spend more time outside the classroom than inside it. Here’s what I’d have done.

1. Major in anything that interest you, preferably one major so you’ll have time to do activities outside the classroom. Most people incorrectly assume that if you major in X, you’ll get Y job.

2. Learn how to present Powerpoint and tell a story extremely well

3. Learn how to raise money

4. Meet up with other smart ambitious students on campus. This is also when you party.

5. Reach out to people in finance and in fields that you’re interested in. It will take time to develop relationships but it’s more valuable than whatever degree you’re going to get.

6. Learn how to code a simple website i.e. Python, Javascript

7. Learn how to hustle

These are valuable skills that you’ll have to learn sooner or later if you want to make it big. So learn it now while you’re young and everyone wants to help you because you’re young and ambitious. Except for mediocre people, no one cares if you graduate with 10+ degrees. People care if you think big, get sh*t done, and can make them feel good about themselves.

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How would I teach Entrepreneurship 101?

entrepreneurship

If I was teaching Entrepreneurship 101, the last thing I’d do is give students materials to read. Entrepreneurship is about activity. The more active you are, the higher chance you’ll be successful. A lack of activity is probably the main reason why most people fail at creating online businesses because all they do is create a blog and don’t talk to any potential customers asking feedback for fear of rejection.

Here’s my class’s syllabus.

1. Ask students to write down 10 businesses they would like to create and ask them pick their top choice from the list.

2. Tell them to find potential customers to talk to. If they can’t any potential customers, maybe there’s no market for the product. If that’s the case, ask them to pick another choice. If there is a market for it, go to step 3.

3. Create a simple prototype. Here’s how to create a prototype.

4. Find a potential customer to sell the product to.

5. If product doesn’t sell, talk to more potential customers and figure out why.

6. Iterate the product with new information.

7. List the product for sale ie Amazon, eBay, iTunes Store, personal website.

8. If the product doesn’t sell, talk to more potential customers and figure out why.

9. If the product sells, go to step 10. If not, go back to step 5.

10. Now, how do we scale this operation? This will teach them the importance of marketing, distribution, and financial leverage.

Basically, success comes to finding an existing market where there’s a problem you can solve. Build a product to solve this problem. Talk to customers. Repeat until you get it right.

Along the way, your students will have many questions and these questions will tell them what to read. Rise and repeat until you can’t handle the grind anymore. Everything else is just jerking around reading random useless crap that wastes everyone’s time and energy.

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7 things I wish I knew when I was 21

baby-laugh

1. Happiness and freedom should be the highest priorities in anything you do. You will be tempted to find reasons to compromise these two virtues. Do not do it.

2. Read at least 3 biographies of smart and successful people per year.

3. Write down your goals. Then talk to people who have achieved these goals and decide if that’s the type of person you want to become.

4. Success is highly correlated to how active you are in taking action to get things done.

5. Don’t take advice on the internet too seriously. The majority of it is bad. Do your own research, which means reading books and research papers.

6. You can get a meeting with almost anyone in the US. The key is figure out what they want and then make it happen for them.

7. Listen to people and learn what motivates and inspires them.

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3 Tips on How to Relieve Stress

running

My brother was telling me how stressful he was and he asked me how do I relieve stress. Given that I work the moment I’m awake until I go to sleep, he thinks it’s amazing how I don’t crash more often.

I told him my secret.

Whenever I feel stressed or burnout, I completely drop everything and do one of the following three things:

  1. Go to the gym and run
  2. Eat
  3. Sleep

From my experience, no other solution is better.

Some people might feel guilty about dropping everything and do a little work here and there but that’s sub-optimal. If you aren’t going to do a good job, why do it at all. It’s embarrassing. You can trick others but remember, you have to look at yourself in the mirror at the end of the night and answer honestly if you left it all out on the battlefield today.

So if you find yourself performing below excellent standard, go exercise, eat or sleep.

I’m sure you’ll find a reason that there is no way you can drop everything and just engage in one of these activities. You have important matters to take care of. You work for someone else and don’t have this luxury. Ok, let’s assume that’s true.

What if you are driving to work tomorrow and got into a car accident and have to stay in the hospital for 3 days?

How will the world function without you there?

You see, it’s humbling to realize that even without your amazing contributions, everything will hum along just fine. Things will get done whether you’re there or not. In fact, maybe if your team members realize that you’re in bad health, they’ll work even harder.

So the next time you feel stressed or burnout and need to recharge, drop everything and either eat, sleep or exercise and you’ll be back in less than 48 hours. You own it to yourself and your team members. Your family and friends will also love you more since you’ll probably be less cranky to be around with.

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How do I start a business?

entrepreneurship

The question you should be asking isn’t how do I start a business. The question you should be asking is why do you want to start a business. Whether it is money, fame, ego, you better have a good idea because many times along the road, you will need it.

I’ve heard many friends say they would love to become an entrepreneur and be their own boss. Out of hundreds of people I’ve talked to, the number of people that actually went out and did it is less than 3. Entrepreneurship isn’t hard. But it requires more time and effort than anything you’ve ever done in your life. And if you don’t know why you want to start a business, you won’t make it.

Now, let’s assume you do know you want to become an entrepreneur and love and breathe business. How do you start?

Step 1: Imagine in a world with no smartphones. You’ve just created the iPhone. Assuming there’s a market for it, write down the steps you would take to scale it so you can sell millions of iPhones. If you don’t know the steps, go read and ask others what they are. Don’t stop until you figure this process. Search for the truth. If you can’t do this, you should give up right now. Here’s why.

You have one of the most successful products in the history of mankind. If you aren’t willing to do the work to figure out how to sell millions of copies, how are you going to find the energy and strength to sell whatever unproven mediocre product that you will create. You might as well give up now and save everyone’s time and money.

Now let’s assume you have done Step 1. You have a decent idea about distribution and how hard and important it is.

Step 2: Talk to your friends and family and ask them three annoyances in their daily lives. Write it down. Talk to as many people as you can. The sign of entrepreneurship is you don’t stop until you have enough information. Use Google Keyword Tool and see if people are searching for solutions on how to solve the problems you found. If you don’t know how to use Google Keyword Tool, I expect you to go learn it after this post. And if you aren’t willing to learn it after this post and “do it later,” give up now and save everyone’s time and money.

Don’t stop your research until you find the truth. Because along the way, there will be self-doubts. There will be obstacles. You need to have conviction that people want your unproven mediocre product to keep going or you will give up. Imagine if everyone on earth think it is flat. You are the only one who knows it’s a sphere. Would you ever stop preaching until everyone recognizes it is a sphere? That’s the kind of conviction I want you to have with your unproven mediocre product. And the only way to get that conviction is talk to potential customers.

Step 3: Build a prototype and see if people use it. If you don’t have money or don’t know how to code, take out a pen and paper and write down the steps on how this product works. Then show it to the people with a problem you are trying to solve. Keep iterating until you figure out the solution to their problem.

Step 4: Even with all your iterations and hard work, it is likely that your unproven mediocre product will fail. That’s OK. You’re probably ahead of 99% of those who want to become entrepreneurs. Now, repeat step 2 until you find a product that people love and use. I probably started 10+ websites before I found one that made money. I don’t remember the sites that fail but I do remember the lessons, which is basically create something where there’s a market for it. Good luck creating 24-hour fitness centers in Africa.

Step 5: Learn to believe in yourself. The human brain is Earth’s greatest creation and you have it. The most successful entrepreneurs in the world don’t have the highest IQs. They have a need to solve problems in this world. And they go and do it. If you find yourself talking or planning too much without taking action for fear of failure, learn how to overcome it so you can build your product. Because if you come up with reasons why you can’t start talking to potential customers now and creating a product afterward, you should give up now and save everyone’s time and money.

If you take the time and effort to execute these steps, you will become a successful entrepreneur.

You probably think entrepreneurship cannot be that easy because everyone says it’s so hard. But it is that easy if you are willing to put in the hours. And when I say putting in hours, I meant almost every waking moment of your life. You will think about your business all the time. You’ll likely dream about your business too. Because at every moment, there is someone out there are thinking they can create a better business than you and are grinding around the clock to crush you.

So if you can’t make effort to put in the hours and make sacrifices, don’t start and save everyone’s time and money. It’s OK to work for someone else. Entrepreneurship isn’t for everybody. Good luck.

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How to Be Happy

happiness

If you want to make money, you take action to get a job or open a business. If you want to lose weight, you take action to exercise or to change the way you eat. But when it comes to achieving happiness, most people mistakenly assume you’ll naturally get that euphoric state without taking action.

So how does one become happy?

Is it having loads of money? Is it following your passion? Is it having a purpose in life?

When I was younger, I didn’t have a purpose and that’s not a bad thing at all. I did what was required of me and then I did things that made me happy. I was never sad because I was broke. I hung out with broke friends and they are still my friends today because I’m happy when I’m with them.

As I got older and have more control of my life, basically, I graduated college and found poker, it was easier (and I have more choices) to do things that made me happy.

The question is what you need to do to be happy.

I use something I called a happiness scale.

Basically, every day, I think of activities and people that increase my happiness level and I do my best to do those activities and be around those people. It’s amazing how talking to people who are motivated, energetic, and have a thirst for life motivates you. This is the main reason why people talk about pets and restaurants. Because it gives them opportunities to talk about things that make them happy. It’s even better if they can talk to people who makes them happy as well.

I do my best to avoid people who suck the energy out of me and people who are negative. They pull you down. It’s not a coincidence that when you think of your friends, you think of people who bring smiles to your face. Negative people don’t do that and don’t contribute anything to your life but pain and annoyances. Although it’s gut-wretching, over time, we naturally move away from these people. For me, I make sure I avoid them because it’s going to happen anyway. I might as well start now.

If you want to be happy, make it your #1 goal in life.

Once you start focusing on being happy, your life will be better. You know that exercising and eating healthy foods will make you happy but if for whatever reason, you don’t want to do it, this basically means that you don’t value happiness enough. Imagine if I give you a million dollar every time you go to the gym, would you do it? Of course you would. But like everyone with money know, in the end, it’s not the money that get you to smile every day. It’s your friends and family that you love and care for.

It seems daunting but if you strategize how to be happy, you can achieve it. DAILY. And it’s not that hard.

It takes simple steps. It takes time. If you find yourself giving a reason why you can’t do it, find a friend who doesn’t have this attitude and ask him to help you out. He will help you out. All of us have someone who love life and they will be ECSTATIC to help you live a better life. I always love it when someone asks me how to be healthy or what place/restaurant to visit.

Everything along the way to happiness is just gravy. Whether it is making money, creating products, going places, etc. Just make sure you make happiness your #1 goal. It’s like making sure playing perfect poker is your #1 goal. The money will follow, your peers will respect you, etc.

So write down the things that you can get rid of in your life to make you feel better ie weed, soda, fast foods, etc. You will see a change in your mood right away.

Start today. Put yourself in positions to BE HAPPY! You deserve it. That is if you are sure that happiness is what you want.

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