Synth — Week of 9.21.20

Matt Knight
7 min readSep 28, 2020


A little late this week because of some work moving in to a new house.

From Charlie Songhurst:

From NfX:

From Lenny Rachitsky:

From Steph at Trends:

Time Management:

  • Run a tight schedule, Use routines, Do 2-min tasks now, Say No, Perform Regular Time Audits, Define the Purpose of Your Time, Important vs Urgent, Prioritize Your Health, Learn from Others,


  • From Qualities that make you Unforgettable: Being a giver, Laughing at Yourself, Never Trying to Impress, Having Strong Boundaries, Having your Emotions Under Control, Being Happy for Other People, Being Passionate About Something, Being Kind to Strangers, Being Confident Staying Humble, Taking Care of Your Body.


  • Thinking about a membership with a personal trainer. Once the move has settled down and I’m in a routine, I’d like to get back with a PT for some weekly accountability. I also think that fitness needs to be a separate section from nutrition. They are related but not equivalent and I think too many people think they can lift or run their way in to health while eating garbage.

Rolling Funds:

  • The big deal here is the use of rule 506(c) that allows for “general solicitation” of accredited investors. It basically means you can ask people for investments openly and AL is handling all the accreditation stuff.


  • Lenny R used his Twitter following to enhance his Substack audience and vis versa. I often see him engaging with his followers on questions he is exploring for the week. He mentioned 1,000 to 3,000 subscribers for a viable income stream on Substack.

Competition in PropTech:

  • I do NOT buy that PropTech VC firms are competitive. They are not. That is not how venture returns work. If Navitas has 10% of a billion-dollar startup and I only get 5%, I’m still in good shape.
  • Same with rounds. If I missed the Pre-Seed round of AirBnB but got in on the Seed round, I’m a billionaire. Full stop.
  • These are the two reasons I don’t buy the “get into this round before it closes” sense of false urgency. If we add value, we’ll get on the cap table. If not, we won’t and I have more work to do on that narrative.

Articles I read:

Things I’m trying:

  • Dandi — Grassroots NGOs you can support.
  • Just found the Kygo Golden Hour Calm Mix on Calm. Pretty great.
  • LifeMetrics — Check in on myself every morning.
  • Dwellito — Marketplace for modular homes.


  • “One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree — make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e. the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.” — Elon
  • On planning breaks for your brain and body — “Your tired brain will take a break either way, but will probably choose something non-refreshing like doomscrolling for an hour before you know what you’re doing. So take charge and schedule in these three crucial breaks.”
  • …in one study, some older people who had remained cognitively active until their last days were found, at autopsy, to have Alzheimer’s disease. But no one knew it when they were alive. Why? Because even while their brain tissue was being ravaged by the disease, they were constantly building new neural pathways — new roadways — between areas that had become disconnected. As a result, they were hardly diminished in their cognitive capacities.
  • On scalable vs unscalable professions — “An unscalable profession is one in which your income is constrained by your location and the amount of time you have. A dentist, for example, can only be in one place at a time and can only see a fixed number of customers a day. Even if she is the highest-paid dentist on earth, she cannot become a billionaire by working for only a single day or even a decade. The same goes for teachers, plumbers, barbers, trial lawyers, pilots, and brain surgeons.”
  • “A scalable profession is good only if you are successful; they are more competitive, produce monstrous inequalities, and are far more random, with huge disparities between efforts and rewards — a few can take a large share of the pie, leaving others out entirely at no fault of their own.”
  • On the lack of place-reliance “In the 1960s, Andy Warhol could only emerge in a metropolis like New York. In the 2020s, he is much more likely to emerge on the internet itself.”
  • “Realize that you have nothing to fear from knowing the truth.” — Ray Dalio
  • “I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” — Dale Carnegie
  • Mark Benioff on Milton Friedman’s opinion on focusing on shareholder value — “I didn’t agree with Friedman then, and the decades since have only exposed his myopia. Just look where the obsession with maximizing profits for shareholders has brought us: terrible economy, racial and health inequalities, and the catastrophe of climate change. It’s no wonder that so many young people now believe that capitalism can’t deliver the equal, inclusive, sustainable future they want. It’s time for a new kind of capitalism — stakeholder capitalism, which recognizes that our companies have a responsibility to all our stakeholders. Yes, that includes shareholders, but also our employees, customers, communities and the planet.”
  • “Comfort Zones are creative dead zones.”
  • “The more interesting your circle, the more interesting you will be.”
  • “We don’t care about fair value; we only care about trajectory.” — Alex Danco on Startups and Financing
  • Alex Danco on Rolling Funds — “But this isn’t money rushing “in”. It’s simply moving from one place in the tech ecosystem to another. This is money that’s simply moving from one founder or engineer’s salary to another, getting multiplied and leveraged along the way into new companies and new shots on goal to build something big.”
  • “you must pull from many disciplines to achieve overall wisdom. No truly great thinker is siloed in a small territory.” — Farnham Street
  • “It’s only once you can begin divorcing yourself from good-and-bad, black-and-white, category X&Y type thinking that your understanding of reality starts to fit together properly. Because truth always lies somewhere in between, and the discomfort of being uncertain is preferable to the certainty of being wrong.” — Farnham Street
  • “None of us live in an objective world, but instead in a subjective world that we ourselves have given meaning to. The world you see is different from the one I see, and it’s impossible to share your world with anyone else. “ — The Courage to be Disliked
  • “nothing is ours except time.” — Seneca
  • “I’m not sure you can build trillion-dollar market cap companies without that high trust culture.” — Charlie Songhurst
  • “trying to be smarter than other people is very hard and it doesn’t work very often. Trying to have an insight that you get because you sit in a different information flow just seems exponentially easier.” — Charlie Songhurst
  • “If you hang out with people smarter, harder working, and morally better than oneself, you always live in a funnel of positive serendipity because effectively you are dragged upwards to the mean benchmark, which is higher than oneself.” — Charlie Songhurst
  • “Aligning around a quantifiable north-star metric gives you a foundation from which to build a data-informed, experiment-driven culture.” -Lenny Rachitsky
  • From NfX on Great Companies: “start building relationships with larger companies very early on. . . Everything comes down to time that you’re spending. When you’re really early stage, you want to be mostly internally focused (85%, 90%, 95%). . .build your company with the idea that you want to grow it, build it to go public, or build it to be a big brand. . .Stealth is stupid. You need to collect information, talk to people, get their feedback. . .The businesses are really built on retention because that means defensibility, and defensibility creates value. . .Whenever they are considering funding versus an acquisition, Founders need to figure out if it’s worth it for them. . . it’s hard to push someone to be more risky. It’s easier to push somebody to be less risky.”
  • “We brought our payback period to about 12 months based on our customer acquisition cost (CAC). Investors really want to see about a six-month payback period.’ — Selina Tobaccowala
  • “People who obsess over “being right — even if it’s unpopular” undervalue the importance of being likable. People who obsess over being liked undervalue the importance of accepting the facts of the situation — even when it’s uncomfortable. Know which hill to die on.” — James Clear (on Twitter)