This giant episode collects all of my interviews with Nivi on How to Get Rich. These interviews are based on my tweetstorm. The individual interviews are here. Here we go…
1. Seek Wealth, Not Money or Status
The difference between wealth, money and status.
Naval is a prolific tech investor and founder of AngelList
Nivi: You probably know Naval from his Twitter account.
We’re going to be talking about histweetstorm on “How to get rich (without getting lucky).” We’re going to go through most of the tweets in detail, give Naval a chance to expand on them and generally riff on the topic. He’ll probably throw in some ideas that he hasn’t even published before.
Naval’s the co-founder of AngelList and Epinions. He’s also a prolific tech investor in companies like Twitter, Uber, and many more.
I’m the co-founder of AngelList with Naval. And I co-authored the Venture Hacks blog with him back in the day.
Naval: The How To Get Rich tweetstorm definitely hit a nerve and went viral. A lot of people say it was helpful and reached across aisles.
People outside of the tech industry, people in all walks of life, people want to know how to solve their money problems. Everyone vaguely knows that they want to be wealthy, but they don’t have a good set of principles to do it by.
Naval:Productize has specific knowledge. Productize has leverage. Yourself has uniqueness. Yourself has accountability. Yourself also has specific knowledge in there. So you can combine all of these pieces into these two words.
If you’re looking towards the long-term, you should ask yourself, “Is this authentic to me? Is it myself that I’m projecting?” And then, “Am I productizing it? Am I scaling it? Am I scaling with labor or capital or code or media?” It’s a very handy, simple mnemonic.
Naval: This goes back to the world being an efficient place. If there’s an easy way to get rich, it‘s already been exploited. There are a lot of people who will sell you ideas and schemes on how to make money. But they’re always selling you some $79.95 course or some audiobook or seminar.
Which is fine. Everyone needs to eat. People need to make a living. They might actually have really good tips. If they’re giving you actionable, high-quality advice that acknowledges it’s a difficult journey and will take a lot of time, then I think it’s realistic.
Naval: That’s a multi-hour topic in and of itself. First of all, I thought it was a really clever way to end the whole thing. It disarms a whole set of people who say, “What’s the point of getting rich?” There are a lot of people who like to virtue signal against the idea of wealth creation or making money.
It’s also true. Yes, money will solve all your money problems. But it doesn’t get you everywhere.
Most advice is people giving you their winning lottery ticket numbers.
The best founders listen to everyone and make up their own mind
Nivi: One of the tweets from the cutting-room floor was: “Avoid people who got rich quickly. They’re just giving you their winning lottery ticket numbers.”
Naval: This is generally true of most advice. It goes back to Scott Adams—systems not goals. If you ask a successful person what worked for them, they often read out the exact set of things that worked for them, which might not apply to you. They’re just reading you their winning lottery ticket numbers.
I would add: Apply judgment, apply accountability, and apply the skill of reading.
Naval: This one is a glib way of saying, “It takes time.” Once you have all of the pieces in place, there’s still an indeterminate amount of time you have to put in. And if you’re counting, you’ll run out of patience before it arrives.
Competition will blind you to greater games. You’re one step away from a better market.
Businesses that seem like they’re in direct competition really aren’t
Nivi: When you’re being authentic, you don’t mind competition that much. It pisses you off and inspires some fear, jealousy and other emotions. But you don’t really mind because you’re oriented towards the goal and the mission. Worst-case, you might get some ideas from them. And often there are ways to work with the competition in a positive way that ends up increasing the size of the market for you.
Naval: It depends on the nature of the business. The best Silicon Valley tech industry businesses tend to be winner-take-all. When you see competition, it can make you fly into a rage. Because it really does endanger everything you’ve built.
Naval: It’s both a search and a recognition. Sometimes when we search our egos, we want to be something that we’re not. Our friends and family are actually better at telling us who we are. Looking back at what we’ve done is a better indicator of who we are.
Peter Thiel talks a lot about how competition is besides the point. It’s counterproductive. We’re highly memetic creatures. We copy everybody around us. We copy our desires from them.