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Freak Gasoline Fight Accident in the Harbor of Optionality
Austinpilled, BBQ BTC, long-term game vibes, and freak gasoline harbor fires
I am now officially based in Austin, Texas.
This past Monday I boarded a flight from Rochester. I packed my backpack with my laptop, pens, journals, my Kindle, and a few choice books. I checked my hiking bag and one large suitcase filled with clothes, my yoga mat, a blanket, and as many copies of Lead the Future as the bag weight-limit would allow.
My short-time here has affirmed three ideas:
People underrate the value of engaging in cold outreach.
I had subscribed to LinkedIn premium a year ago, back when I thought that I wanted to move to Washington, D.C. When I decided to stick around Rochester to see through COVID’s second wave, I barely used LinkedIn at all. The premium membership was by and large a waste of money and I went to cancel it before it charged my credit card ~$200 to retain my subscription. The platform warned me that I would lose all my InMail credits — a feature that lets you send a message to any other LinkedIn user — upon cancellation. I had about 15 credits that would be lost so I figured “what do I have to lose?”
I searched ‘Bitcoin’ and ‘Austin, Texas’ and immediately began sending thoughtful, short introductions with a specific question to 15 of the most interesting profiles that popped up. Within 20 minutes, I got a reply from a prominent local investor who encouraged me to attend the monthly Bitcoin dev meetup hosted by Unchained Capital scheduled for three hours later. I immediately registered and figured out how to ride the bus to the meetup. I received more follow-up messages encouraging me to do the same and will likely receive more responses in the coming days.
I even went so hard that LinkedIn began openly disrespecting my hustle:
The costs of showing up are generally known and fixed, the potential upsides are non-linear.
It would’ve been easy to just reply, “I have plans tonight but I’ll be sure to attend the next one!” My bank account is running low so spending the $35 for the BBQ and open bar mixer afterparty wouldn’t be prudent and I had already gone out to a startup meetup the night before. It’s not horribly likely that I’ll end up working at a Bitcoin company anyway and I’m not a developer…There were many excuses I considered and could’ve accepted.
Fortunately, I decided to commit and joked, “If you see me shirtless in the next month, it’s because I lost mine taking too many risks". The free part of the meetup was interesting for someone who has a broad understanding of the Bitcoin ecosystem but limited technical depth. I learned more about the possibilities created by Lightning but it was overall a bit long and dry. Fortunately, the drink line and the brisket did not share these problems, respectively. The BBQ meetup was where all the magic happened.
I met and exchanged contact information with two of the most prominent, Austin based, Bitcoin influencers. They gave me advice for my job search. I made an introduction for one of them that will likely be valuable for the causes of Bitcoin and anti-interventionist foreign policy. One of them even bought me a beer! Likewise, I met quite a few other dudes my age who I hope to see around and hang out with again.
Localities (and organizations) with high economic growth are conducive to positive-sum mindsets and long-term games.
At the startup happy hour, the BTC BBQ afterparty, and the impromptu ‘Austin Crew’ outing last night, the vibes were excellent. Everyone that I’ve talked to has been friendly, encouraging, and offered either advice or to create connections. Austin has a lot going for it, beyond simply being a boom town, that encourages these kinds of social dynamics. But it doesn’t hurt that there’s been a deluge of competent operators and investors moving here over the last 5 years. I’ll unpack this more in the future but the optimism and goodwill are contagious.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. There are growing pains and it’s inevitable that there will be more. It might not even end up working out for me personally but it seems highly possible to turn the odds in my favor.
My Recommended Reads:
I’m currently working through this book and it’s excellent. It is filled with actionable, practical advice that would be invaluable to anyone looking to accelerate their career, or even interrogate their desires (more on this below).
Zak is a philosopher who has found incredible success in his young career. I wish I had read this book a year ago. It’s unlikely that I would’ve sent those cold messages had I not been reading through this book. If the introductions I made end up bearing the fruit that I think they will, I’ll have to be sure to give him credit.
Optionality is for Innumerate Cowards by Byrne Hobart
Long-time readers will know that I’m a sucker for provocative article titles. I’m currently taking a course on the philosopher René Girard, who Zak actually references in his book. Zak encourages his readers to create an Ambition Map to identify what they truly desire.
One of Girard’s major ideas is Mimetic Desire:
Man is the creature who does not know what to desire, and he turns to others in order to make up his mind. We desire what others desire because we imitate their desires.
This prompted me to tweet, “What do you desire besides optionality?” In our contemporary culture, we take it for granted that maximizing the amount of options you have is solely a good. But what if that’s not true?
If your destiny is in-land, none of the boats that pass through the harbor will help you get to your destination. A metaphorical freak gasoline fight accident in the harbor might save you from a lifetime of waiting for a ship that can’t get you where you truly want to go.
Or you could just decide to take that first step in-land. I have and plan to keep walking.
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