Sam Altman expands on ideas that have come up in several of his essays. Specifically: choosing projects, creating value, and finding purpose.
Sam’s the president of YC Group and co-chairman of OpenAI. You can find him on Twitter @sama.
The YC podcast is hosted by Craig Cannon.
1:25 - From The Days Are Long But The Decades Are Short - Minimize your own cognitive load from distracting things that don’t really matter. It’s hard to overstate how important this is, and how bad most people are at it.
3:50 - Stepping back and evaluating your work
5:30 - Creating metrics for your projects
6:30 - Taking a year off
9:30 - Figuring out when to commit
11:30 - Poker
12:30 - From Productivity - Sleep seems to be the most important physical factor in productivity for me. Exercise is probably the second most important physical factor. The third area is nutrition.
15:00 - From You and Your Research by Richard Hamming - "If what you are doing is not important, and if you don't think it is going to lead to something important, why are you at Bell Labs working on it?"
16:30 - From The Days Are Long But The Decades Are Short - Things in life are rarely as risky as they seem. Most people are too risk-averse, and so most advice is biased too much towards conservative paths.
17:30 - Perspective shifts
20:15 - From Productivity - My system has three key pillars: “Make sure to get the important shit done”, “Don’t waste time on stupid shit”, and “make a lot of lists”.
22:30 - What Happened to Innovation
24:50 - From You and Your Research by Richard Hamming - He who works with the door open gets all kinds of interruptions, but he also occasionally gets clues as to what the world is and what might be important.
26:50 - The deferred life plan doesn’t work
31:50 - From The Merge - Our self-worth is so based on our intelligence that we believe it must be singular and not slightly higher than all the other animals on a continuum. Perhaps the AI will feel the same way and note that differences between us and bonobos are barely worth discussing.
34:10 - Weight training
35:30 - The Way to Love by Anthony de Mello