21: Notes from episode #353 of the Tim Ferris show
A brief glimpse into the life of the collisons
Just finished listening to an interesting conversations between Tim Ferris and Patrick Collison, CEO of Stripe. In this post, I want to do a form of regurgitation/reflection on the things that struck a chord with me.
Patrick was born in a rural part of Ireland, with no computers, no internet, and no TV to while away the time with. The only thing available around was books, lots of books. So Patrick and John, his brother, would spend most of the time voraciously reading everything that they can get their hands on. Before learning actual programming, they became fascinated about it by reading it in books before there any internet was in reach.
One question that comes to mind though is this: What sort of ingredients associated with growing up could possibly have made the collisons grew up to be who they are today. Couple of things: Patrick’s parents would invite the brothers to the dinner table whenever interesting guests were around for dinner so that they be part of the conversations, ask questions, and expand their horizons. They would not force anything on them, in terms of what to learn and what to do, but instead, they’d water whatever piqued their interest. For instance, at a very young age, Patrick announced that he is interested in the Greek language, so his Mom searched for the best mentor in town in order to help him cultivate his interest; at age 15, Patrick was allowed to ditch school for one full year to focus on programming. He and his brother had the opportunity to travel all across Europe in their teenage years aboard a caravan packed with books that they’d be consuming for the duration of the trip( 10 hours or something). At one stage of his life, Patrick didn’t know which direction he should take, is he to become a physics professor, a mathematician. He worked in Vancouver for a while, lived in Zurick for a short period of time, and then went back to the US and ended up founding stripe with his brother. Stripe is a payment company whose mission is to increase the GDP of the internet by providing the opportunity to all future businesses across the world to have customers in the US and all over the globe.
So we can see that ingredients like having the opportunity to wander even though you might be “wasting your years”, exploring different careers, learning many things, and learning how to be friendly and sociable are pretty important in the development of a child and in increasing his or her chance in ending up on the right course in life.
On how to think for yourself
At one point in the conversation, Patrick talks about how one could cultivate their capacity to think for themselves. Patrick thinks that one should be exposed to differing points of views, take no offense by opinions opposed to theirs, but rather try to find the truth in them, and think in terms of why the people holding these opposed views might actually be right; this skill could be nurtured by training oneself on running opposing ideas through emulation, the kind akin to VMs run in a sandbox where the simulation doesn’t bleed into the other parts of the system; so, they run other’s ideas in their brain, follow their consequences and see what aspects of them merit further consideration.
On decision making
The discussion about decision making was particularly interesting to me. Here are some lessons: Decision making is overrated, and we should try to make it so that our first four choices A,B,C, and D.. are the best choices among the numerous choices out there. So whatever you choose among them, the outcome will be relatively good. A second trick to make better decisions is to get to know people you admire, dead or alive, run the decisions you want to make by them, think from their perspective, and then average out the responses. You can’t always have enough information to make the best decision so you need to get better at re-making decisions: you make a decision, run the experiment, and if it doesn’t bear fruits, you change course and make another decision based on the information you’ve now gleaned from your experiment. It is particularly important to not get stuck in the furrows of your world view, and see the big world of opportunities outside it so you can choose right. Thinking laterally and sideways is helpful. It wouldn’t hurt to also be aware of the thinking hats models and the Eisenhower’s quadrant of decisions.
Will leave you with this quote:
If people around you don’t think what you’re doing is a bit strange, maybe it’s not strange enough.
Okay, Those were the things that I found interesting and wanted to share here.
Until next time,