Nivi: We skipped one tweet because I wanted to cover all of the tweets on the topic of the long-term. The tweet we skipped: “There are no get rich quick schemes. That’s just someone else getting rich off you.”
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.
But if they’re selling you some get rich quick scheme—whether it’s crypto or whether it’s an online business or seminar—they’re just making money off you. That’s their get rich quick scheme. It’s not necessarily going to work for you.
We don’t have ads because it would ruin our credibility
One of the things about this whole tweetstorm and podcast is that we don’t have ads. We don’t charge for anything. We don’t sell anything. Not because I don’t want to make more money—it’s always nice to make more money; we’re doing work here—but because it would completely destroy the credibility of the enterprise. If I say, “I know how to get rich, and I’m going to sell that to you,” then it ruins it.
When I was young, one of my favorite books on the topic was “How To Get Rich,” by Felix Dennis, the founder of Maxim Magazine. He had a lot of crazy stuff in there. But he had some really good insights too.
Whenever I read something by him or by GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons or Andrew Carnegie—people who are already very wealthy, and they clearly made their wealth in other fields, not by selling the how-to-get-rich line—they have a credibility. You just trust them.
They’re not trying to make money off of you. They’re obviously trying to win some status and some ego—you always have to have a motivation for doing something. But at least that’s a cleaner reason and why they’re probably not lying. They’re probably not fooling you. They’re not snowing you.
Every founder has to lie to every employee
At some level every founder has to lie to every employee of the company they have. They have to convince them, “It’s better for you to work for me than to do what I did and go work for yourself.”
I’ve always had a hard time with that.
The only honest way to do this, in my opinion, is to tell the entrepreneurs I recruit: “You’re going to be entrepreneurial in this company, and the day you’re ready to start your own next thing, I’m going to support you. I’m never going to get in the way of you starting a company. But this can be a good place for you to learn how to build a good team and build a good culture; how to find product-market fit; how to perfect your skills; and to meet some amazing people while you figure out exactly what it is you’re going to do. Because positioning, timing and deliberation are very important when starting a company.”
What I’ve never been able to do is to look them in the face and say, “You must be at your desk by 8 a.m.” Because I’m not going to be at my desk by 8 a.m. I want my freedom. I’ve never been able to say to them, “You’re great at being a director today, and you’ll be a VP tomorrow,” putting them into that cold career path track. Because I don’t believe in it myself.
Anyone giving advice on how to get rich should have made their money elsewhere
If anyone is giving advice on how to get rich and they’re also making money off of it, they should have made their money elsewhere. You don’t want to learn how to be fit from a fat person. You don’t want to learn how to be happy from a depressed person. So, you don’t want to learn how to be rich from a poor person. But you also don’t want to learn how to be rich from somebody who makes their money by telling people how to be rich. It’s suspect.
Nivi: Any time you see somebody who’s gotten rich following some guru’s advice on getting rich, remember that in any random process, if you run it long enough and if enough people participate in it, you will always get every single possible outcome with probability one.
Naval: There’s a lot of random error in there. This is why you have to absolutely and completely ignore business journalists and economist academics when they talk about private companies.
I won’t name names, but when a famous economist rails on Bitcoin, or when a business journalist attacks the latest company that’s IPO’ing, it’s complete nonsense. Those people have never built anything. They’re professional critics. They don’t know anything about making money. All they know is how to criticize and get pageviews. And you’re literally becoming dumber by reading them. You’re burning neurons.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Nassim Taleb that I liked. He said, “To become a philosopher king, start with being a king, not being a philosopher.”
Nivi: I’m glad you brought up Taleb, because I was going to finish this by saying: remember the title of his first book, “Fooled By Randomness.”
Naval: One of the reasons we’re a little vague in this podcast is because we’re trying to lay down principles that are timeless, as opposed to giving you the winning lottery ticket numbers from yesterday.