A Life-Changing Conversation


Hey friends,

This week Luba (a PTYA student from Cohort 1!) very kindly put me in touch with Sriram Krishnan, who was in London for a few days.

Sriram’s a pretty sick guy. He’s an angel investor (someone who invests in early-stage startups) and a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, one of the world’s biggest venture capital firms. For context, they manage $19.2 billion in assets. So, we met for breakfast and a chat.

I don’t often meet people who talk faster than me. But Sriram talks ridiculously fast. He’s also super-articulate and it was pretty awesome feeling my brain click into a higher gear to keep up. We chatted about loads of stuff, including being a creator, and how I’ve dabbled with investing in companies like Riverside.fm and Peek.

It felt like a potentially life-changing conversation.

Sriram talked me into taking this whole angel investing thing a lot more seriously. His main point was that I should approach it as an infinite game rather than just a way to make money.

“A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play” – James P. Carse, Finite and Infinite Games

Being a YouTuber is a good example of playing an infinite game. I don’t see individual videos as a way of making short-term 💰. Instead I focus on making hopefully-decent videos every week, trusting that each video will help slowly build my brand and audience, and unlocking the potential for cool new projects.

Sriram argued that it’s similar being an angel investor. You don’t invest 5k-10k into a startup just to double or triple your money (finite game). Instead, you make a ton of small bets on companies that excite you, you have regular meetings with their founders and CEOs, and you offer as much support and guidance as you can. If you play your cards right, you’ll build a reputation as a useful guy to have on board, and that will unlock “optionality and opportunities” for you further down the line. Basically, people and companies will come to you, and unexpected doors will start to open. Naval Ravikant is a master of this.

And that’s the real reason to play: to enjoy the process and unlock the higher levels. As long as you play the long game and try to add value wherever you can, you don’t need to worry too much about the unit economics of each individual investment.

The big takeaway here is that number crunching and short-term profit isn’t always the best route.

Sure, a project might be unpaid, risky, or ‘unprofitable’ – but what opportunities will it unlock for you further down the line? Is there some kind of compound interest that can’t be measured in pounds and pennies?

Still buzzing.

Have a great week!

Ali xx

🎥 Kickstart Your Journey With YouTube

Cohort 4 of the Part-Time YouTuber Academy is now open!

It’s my flagship live YouTube course where I teach people to do YouTube as a side hustle. If you want to learn how to grow your YouTube channel without quitting your day job or sacrificing your current projects, it’s one of the best places to start this journey.

More than 350 people are already signed up, and we’re stoked to get started. There are 3 more days to join (or until we run out of spots) as we’re closing the enrolment this Wednesday the 20th. So, if you decide you do want to join me and other creators and spend the next 6 weeks learning ins and outs of YouTube, click the link below. 👇

❤️ My Favourite Things

🎧 Audiobook – I read The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive by Patrick Lencioni. Really great short read, fantastic audio narration. It’s got me rethinking some of the ways I run the business.

🎵 Song – Listened to Visiting Hours by Ed Sheeran for the first time. Vibes. Feeling inspired to dabble with songwriting again.

🎧 Audiobook – The Status Game by Will Storr. Similar to The Elephant in the Brain, talks about how a ton of human behaviour and issues can be explained by the fact that we’re all vying for higher social status. He’ll also be on my new podcast, Deep Dive, so make sure you check it out when it’s released.

🏛️ New Studio – Officially moved into my fancy new London studio, with enough space for the whole team. It’s super nice having a space to work away from home. No more cameras and lights cluttering up the flat. Video coming out about this shortly.

✍️ Quote of the Week

“We live in an age of infinite leverage, and the economic rewards for genuine intellectual curiosity have never been higher. Following your genuine intellectual curiosity is a better foundation for a career than following whatever is making money right now.”

From The Almanack of Naval Ravikant – Eric Jorgensen, Jack Butcher, and Tim Ferriss. Resurfaced using Readwise.

🎙 3 Things I Learnt From Shahzad Younas

This weeks guest on the Deep Dive podcast was Shahzad Younas, founder and CEO of Muzmatch – the dating app that’s transforming the way Muslims find love and marriage.

Here’s some of the highlights from the conversation…

We’re at an age now where knowledge is free and it’s everywhere…[14:26] A lot of the time people stop themselves from upskilling, starting a website, business or Youtube channel based on the thought process “I don’t know how to do this thing”. But almost anything is figureoutable with the help of our good friend the internet. Shahzad is the perfect example. In the episode he tells us he created the first designs for the app in Microsoft Word before sitting down at his computer and googling “how to build an app”. Muzmatch is now a multi-million dollar business. This is a pretty extreme example, but the point is, with consistence, patience and practice anyone can build a new skill.

With anything you have to force yourself to be uncomfortable…[18:10] Leading on from the previous point, when it comes to learning a new skill like coding, it can feel pretty uncomfortable. But stepping out of our comfort zone is how we learn and how we grow, and this applies to all other areas of life. If you choose to live within the boundaries of your comfort zone you’re also choosing to put a cap on your personal development. But if you choose action and intentionally push yourself beyond the limits of comfort (by setting small challenges or trying new things) you’re optimising for opportunity and growth.

Now more than ever our free time is under assault, there’s so many ways to waste it… [06:02] In a world full of distractions it’s become very easy spend our free time getting lost scrolling into the social media abyss or binging Netflix for hours. While there’s nothing wrong with spending time on social media or watching TV when it suits you, it becomes a problem when it stops you doing the things that you want to do. If you’re interested in Why You’re Always Distracted (and how not to be) I made a YouTube video where I explain exactly that.

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