#36 Max Marchione | On Independent Thought And The Value Of Courage

#36 Max Marchione | On Independent Thought And The Value Of Courage

Today's guest is incredibly humble and has fantastic insights into important topics.

In this episode, we chat about the importance of thinking for yourself and why questioning everything leads to great insights.

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Max Marchione is the Founder of the angel investing group Ultraviolet Ventures, the Founder of Next Chapter, has interned at Goldman Sachs and works part-time at venture fund GGV.

He is currently studying Maths and Finance at the University of Sydney.

🤝 Connect with Max


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👇 Episode Takeaways

Independent Thought

The main thread through our conversation was the idea of independent thought.

Thinking independently is where original ideas and unique insights come from. As Max pointed out though, we don't want people to be completely independent because that would make the world a little crazy.

When I asked Max about how he thinks about independent thinking he said there were some things to keep in mind.

1/ Radical Openmindedness

The precursor to independent thinking is Radical Open-mindedness. Having unique thoughts about things comes from questioning everything.

2/ Question Everything

Max mentioned that most people assume that the things in the world are good by default, but he assumes that there is definitely room for improvement.

Rules exist to prevent us from doing anything wrong but also prevent us from doing anything exceptional.

Max gave the example of studying at school. He chose not to do the homework his teachers set, and instead go about learning the content his own way. This is breaking the rules, but for a better outcome.

Consider what rules you follow and how you could break them for better outcomes.


One of Max's ideas that hasn't taken off as well as he thought was the idea that courage is more important than competence.

There are many competent people, but only a few are courageous.

It's courage and being in the arena that brings luck and the probability of outsized outcomes.

Many people could do something - but few have the courage to pursue the opportunity.  

Balancing Both Sides

One thing I learned about Max was that he has a great ability to balance both sides of an argument. When we were discussing things, often he would make a great point for one side and then make an equally great point about the other side.

I think this general ability to be able to look at issues objectively and note the positives of alternative approaches is a fantastic skill, and one we need more of in an increasingly polarised world.  

The Happiness Paradox

A topic I've been interested in recently is the idea of both enjoying the present while also striving for the future.

There are phrases out there like 'Never Be Satisfied' which encourage us to continually push ourselves towards a better future.

Max put this nicely when he said that striving for a better future and enjoying the present are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to perform well and also enjoy doing it.

Lessons for Peak Workplace Performance

Max gave some great tips for performing well in the workplace.

1/ Pick Your Game

Try to align your skills and personality with a suitable role or opportunity. Don't be Lionel Messi playing basketball.

2/ Overcommunicate

Telling your manager and team where you are up to is not weakness, it's proactive.

3/ Reliability

Reliability helps us to compound those small things into big things. Reliability isn't doing the best projects or being the smartest employee, it's about doing something and doing it consistently well.

If people know they can count on you, you will be suitably rewarded.

📝 Content Timestamps

00:00 Max Marchione

01:20 Max's Journey

03:53 Max's Learning Gap Year

07:41 How did learning how to learn affect Max

11:24 How does Max go about being an independent thinker?

18:21 Idea's that Max thinks are undervalued

25:46 Max's best investment of time and money

29:45 How Max approaches enjoying the present vs striving towards the future

35:39 How does Max approach his career?

41:23 How does Max think about high performance in the workplace?

44:34 Max's Advice

47:34 Connect with Max

47:48 Outro