June 27, 2022

Max Marchione | On Independent Thought And The Value Of Courage

Max Marchione | On Independent Thought And The Value Of Courage

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.

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Content
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

Transcript
Max Marchione:

I think some people's default is that society, the way it is as good. My default is that society, the way it is bad and the underlying the underlying action or that the action that underpins that is break the rules. Is not break the rules to just like flunk stuff. It's break the rules. If you see like a more productive way of doing things.

James Fricker:

hello, and welcome to graduate theory. Today's guest is the founder of angel investing ultraviolet ventures. He's the founder of next chapter he's intern at Goldman Sachs and he works. Part-time adventure fund GG B C on top of all this, he is currently studying maths and finance at the university of Sydney. Please. Welcome to the show, max mark.

Max Marchione:

Thank

James Fricker:

Mate. It's fantastic to have you on the show. You are someone that has accomplished so much and, uh, I'm really excited to kind of dig deep into. Get into your mind a little bit and learn more about how you think about, uh, approaching different situations in your life, but perhaps for the audience listening, I'd love to kind of do a, a brief recap of, of yourself and perhaps your university end of high school to university journey, um, finishing high school and going into, into university. What was that, um, experience like for you?

Max Marchione:

Yeah. So I'll, I'll give you the rundown of like high school university to now. And what I really want to make clear is that I wanna like glorify anything because I think there's this tendency for narratives to be told retrospectively through like rose colored glasses. And it sounds all planned and structured and people see it at the end of the journey and they're like, oh wow, this person's amazing. Whereas I think 90% of people I know, including myself, our narratives were very iterative, right. We took one step at a time and then, and then kind of got to where we were from there. So after high school, um, I took a gap year and I call it a learning gap year. And the basic premise of this was to take a year off. To learn things that you don't learn in school. So that included reading like 70 books is included going to all these different, like conferences and events in literally every industry I could find and basically chatting with older people, right. Chatting with people that I got scared chatting with and really just seeing the world for what it was, um, next was university. So I started by studying law at the university of Sydney. And I think the reason I did that is because it's seen as like an optionality maximizing degree and. If, if you did decent in high school, the societal or the social default is to go into studying law. Right? So I fell into that trap. I don't think I individually considered whether or not it was the right choice. So I fell into that trap. I started studying law. I did. Well in law whilst I was at university, but the year in I decided hold up, I don't wanna become a lawyer. I'm gonna be spending the next five years in uni studying law. Surely there are better uses of my time. So, um, even though I liked law and was doing well, I decided to drop out of law and I decided to put that time into. All different other things. Um, so this was like called a year and a half ago. Right. And at this stage I'd literally done nothing. I think people might, might look at things I've done now and be like, oh, you you've done like a fair bit. How did you do it? And I think what I really want to get clear is like a year and a half ago, I had done none of this. Right. So most of like a lot of the people who might be hearing this. We're literally just in my shoes just a year and a half different. That's the first thing I'll say since then. Um, what are the things I've done? So I have interned at, after work ventures. I interned at Goldman Sachs. Now I run a series of global communities called next chapter. I've started an angel investing and run a syndicate called ultraviolet. Um, and then I was interning slash scouting for GGV capital as well. So, um, that's kind of where I'm at now. Happy to dive into any of them.

James Fricker:

Perfect. We it's. It's interesting to hear. I mean, a lot of things about that. One thing I wanna ask about is you, I feel like. Leaving school going into like a first, like your first year out of school, the learning year. Um, I think that's how you describe it. Um, year of learning, you know, how it's an interesting approach. I think, for me thinking about when I was at that stage I was kind of like, yeah, like let's just go and do a bunch of random things didn't really know at all. Like anything about anything So it's interesting, like, in, at that stage, did you have like a clear. Like, did you have sort of a vision for, um, what you were aiming to achieve or was, was it just kind of like, how did you sort of, did you just sort of stumble into that or was it like clearly, okay. I wanna learn these exact things like in this next year.

Max Marchione:

Um, so I, I, a theme I want to come back to a lot is the idea of break the rules. And what I mean by that is that there are like all these social defaults around us, right. Things that we are expected to do. And people really, really like stop to question whether they're the right or wrong thing. So like after high school, there are two social defaults. One of them is to go into uni. And if you did well in high school, you tend to study. Um, medicine or law and the other social default is if you don't go into high school, then take a gap year to, um, to travel, right? Travel Europe, travel south America, wherever. but I don't think they're the only two options. Right? I, I question those defaults. I said, are these really the only two options? I'm like, no, I don't want to just travel for a year because I get, um, a lot of, a lot of energy from learning, but I also don't wanna go to university because I realize it's another structured system where are kind of told what to do and you have set curriculum. So my approach was. I'm aware of like all these different domains. I find interesting, I'm aware of this like concept of mental models and multidisciplinary thinking, which basically just means combining ideas from lots of different domains. And I wanted to take action on like, learning about those many different domains. The idea was to, um, become a massive generalist in this gap here. I wanted to have like a 10% knowledge of as many different fields I could possibly find whether that was health, whether it was property, whether it was finance, whether it was neuroscience, whether it was psychology. The way I ended up going about that was largely through reading largely through online courses. And then also through like going through all these events, um, to your question, was it like pre mediad? Yes. And no. So the idea of like a learning gap year was, premedicated what I ended up doing on the year doing during the year. looked actually a little bit different to what I was ex what I expected myself to do. I think when I was taking the gap year, I expected myself to start like a social media marketing agency. Um, and try and like make more of a business out of it. What I ended up doing was a lot more generalist and learning about all these different fields. And I think the basic idea there was the idea of like delayed gratification. I realized, Okay. yes. Maybe I can start this social media marketing agency and make a couple thousand a month, or I can sacrifice that. And I can put all the time into just becoming, um, a Jack of all trades, master of nun kind of person. And that's where I started. And then like, hopefully in time, I'll start to become a master of one trade, but I'm not quite there

James Fricker:

Amazing. No, that's interesting to hear and I wonder too, so you spent a whole year learning things and, and like only, you know, spending time learning stuff, which I think is really cool. And I guess that's to some degree what universities were anyway, that, uh, we we'll skip that, but, um, how do you think about that now that you've, you've spent a lot of time, you know, like you said, reading courses, this kind of stuff. You've clearly spent a lot of time. Learning how to learn, perhaps how, how does that, how has that year of learning kind of impacted yourself now and how you think about, you know, learning new skills or, or whatever it might be.

Max Marchione:

Yeah. So I say, learn, do learn. And the idea is you start by learning a little bit, right? You start by getting a tiny bit of knowledge in the field. But then you need to actually do, and this is the most important step you need to take that little bit of knowledge you have and put it into action, battle, test it, so to speak. And then you use the battle scars, or maybe even the wins of battle testing it. And you learn from those. So That's, kind of what I've done now. I think, um, if I think of myself almost as like my, a startup pro product, when you're launching a startup, you start in products mode. And what I mean by that is you start by developing the products. You make a really good product. You, you test it in like a closed alpha test with like a small group of users. Then you go to market, then you have go to market phase and growth phase. You start with product phase and then like go to market and growth phase. And I think like inadvertently, that's kind of what I ended up doing. I think I started in that learn slash product phase. Right. I started with the learning gap year and now I moved to the growth, go to market doing phase. Um, and, and by doing I've realized just how much. More quickly you learn. Um, and, and doing for me, looks like a couple things at the moment. It looks like next chapter, which is, um, that, that collective of communities and the online media platform. And then it also looks like angel investing with ultraviolet and then a couple other things here and there. Um, so that's, that's how I've kind of thought about my learning from the gap year and then transitioning that into action, more practical learning nowadays.

James Fricker:

Yeah. That's, it's interesting to hear that, right. Um, cuz yeah, I think that I, I agree with what you're saying. Like the, the action is, is so important and even I was listening or maybe reading to something recently and they were talking about. You know, learning in the sense that you just do so much, that you sort of have to learn to keep doing stuff and, you know, that becomes the hand break rather than just kind of, uh, you know, at some point, you know, learning for the sake of it is, is interesting, but yeah, really it's what they're doing is where the learning is, is really amplified and, um, and really solidified, I guess, too. Um,

Max Marchione:

yeah. man, hundred, a hundred percent. Um, the catch is like the, the person who only does and never learns. Right? And I think there's this, this balance of courage and competence. I always say that courage is scarce of incompetence and that courage is also more important than competence, right? but if you have a person who's a hundred percent courageous and never spends the time to become competent, that's when you get someone, people call an idiot. Right. So yes, courage is like the, I think courage is probably one of the most important traits. Um, but it also needs to be tempered by an element of learning. Um, so I think I, I, I think we need a, we do like need a balance of them, but, um, that's kind of how I think about that divide.

James Fricker:

No, that's a good take. I think one thing I wanna dive into a bit more is this idea of like independent thought that you mentioned earlier. And I feel like it is hard to be an independent thinker. I think most people to some degree aren't and it's hard to kind of snap yourself out of like thinking what everyone else thinks and kind of have your own take and, and be able to sort of stand. Stand up with your, with your own take and be like, this is what I think here's why and et cetera. I mean, how do you think about that? And, and how do you approach situations and, and trying to sort of stick your own independent thought onto a situation that might be happening?

Max Marchione:

Oh, man, it's hard. I, I don't think I have an answer, like a set answer for like how someone comes about becoming an independent thinker. Um, I think at, at. The fundamental level, it requires being radically openminded, that's probably like the precursor of independent thought. And I have an article on my blog. Um, my blog's just my first name, last name.com called, um, radical open mindedness. So I think that's like the, the first part, I think the second part is. Adopting the default of questioning everything, right? Like I think some people's default is that society, the way it is, is as good. My default is that society, the way it is, is bad and the underlying, um, The the, the underlying action or that the action that underpins that is break the rules. Right. And I've, I've thought about like break the rules throughout my, my whole life in high school. Um, if I was given homework, I wouldn't do homework. And the reason why was because I thought there were more productive uses of my time. If I wanted to get a good mark, it's not. And like, what I want to emphasize is not break the rules to just like flunk stuff. It's break the rules. If you see like a more productive way of doing things. So in my instance, I. Well, I can dedicate this time to this particular homework task to something else. Um, and therefore it's more productive and that I call independent thought, obviously that needs to be. Counterbalance against the risks of punishment. Right? And this is why punishment is like a really interesting, interesting thing, because when you break the rules, the consequence tends to be getting punished and that punishment serves a purpose. It's the purpose it serves is to prevent people breaking the rules as flunking. But if you're breaking the rules with the right motivation, if you're breaking the rules to do better, rather than to do worse, then you can like slowly get away with it in time. So like that homework example is one example. My gap here was another example, right? The rule was. Uni or, um, or like a travel gap year, whereas learning gap year was something different. I think another way I kind of broke the rules was like at university. The idea is if you wanna apply to somewhere like Goldman, Goldman Sachs, you need to be at uni for three or four years. You need to have done like all these different internships, et cetera. And I'm just like, why is that the social default? I think part of it is because it makes it a little bit easier to get in the door. But like, realistically, if you, if you are very deliberate about telling your story in an interview and prepping for the interview and gaining, gaining the, the right combination of traits to interview, well, there's no reason you need to follow that default of four years in unique common law student to go into investment banking. So, um, one and a half years into uni, I'm like, well, I might as well interview interview for Goldman Sachs. I probably won't get it, but I might as well, worst case, I just learn a lot. Worst case base case is that I fail and learn a lot. Um, so I think the overarching thing is like, don't accept defaults, question, everything. Um, so that's that's and the precursor, all that is radical open minders. So I'd say they're the pillars of like becoming a more independent thinker over time.

James Fricker:

I think that's really cool. And I think that's a really good answer cause I think, yeah, the, the, the open mindness and the independent thought really sort of very fundamental, very important, uh, skills when it comes to doing anything. That's. Really, uh, insightful, unique, uh, useful outside the mold, you know, any of these kinds of things. Um, really any sort of big innovation comes from independent thoughts. So it's, it's super important that we try and develop this kind of stuff. So, yeah, it's, it's great to hear that you are sort of, uh, you know, yeah, I think that was a great answer. I think I'm gonna be borrowing some of that insight.

Max Marchione:

I I'll jump in though, like we do. And we don't with independent thought, like if the whole world with independent thinkers, nothing would get done. Right. And the ability to copy others and learn from others is what actually allows us to learn very quickly. That's how we learn to walk. It's how we learn to talk. It's how we learn to like interact socially. Um, like the, the, the most independent thinkers of all are people with Asperger. Um, that might make them good. Elon masks who are doing something that's completely mind blowing, but like for the average person, you don't want like a 100% independent thought. If you have a scale of like completely copycat to completely independent, you don't wanna be a hundred percent at either end. Right. Um, and there's always like, where do you wanna sit in the middle? And I don't think we should, I don't necessarily think we should idolize, um, Idolize a certain spot on the scale. I think it's more, a matter of understanding of like what motivates us and what drives us, right. Where, where we don't ever want to be is we don't ever want to be the copycat that doesn't realize they're being a copycat. Right. The copycat that is going about life is a product of everyone else and never actually has the, the awareness to see it. Um, so I think, I think that's like an inte an interesting, like temper to the idea of you have to be independent the whole time, because I, I don't necessarily think that's.

James Fricker:

Mm, it's a good, it's a good counterpoint. it's a good point. Generally.

Max Marchione:

uh, I, I, I I'll argue both sides. uh, I just think like, something I'll always say is like, there's all this like productivity, This is how you should be advised. And I think like all of it is wrong and all of it is right. It just depends on like, is it fit for you? Right. It, it all has to be personal. I don't, I don't actually think there's like one answer. What I say is like, what works for me?

James Fricker:

No, I think that's, I like that. I like that a lot. Yeah. I think even I've been reflecting a lot recently on like, um, having your own sort of what you, what you want your life to look like at some time period in the future, and then evaluating, you know, career decisions or life decisions, you know, based on, like you said, what, what makes sense for you rather than like, what is perhaps the, the popular. Decision to, to make it a certain time, whether it's to like chase a job that pays more or is more like, uh, you know, has, is more like has more clout or like, you know, whatever it might be. You know, sometimes those filters aren't the right ones. Like for you, if you want to, like, if you are end goal is to like work fully remotely in a cabin in the woods. Like, and, and that's kind of what you wanna do then like working 16 hours a day in the middle of the city, like is just not. Know what you wanna do. So yeah, I agree with that. That, um, yeah, we should, apply things, you know, to your own situation. Definitely.

Max Marchione:

Yeah.

James Fricker:

Cool. Well, there's a lot of different topics I wanna get to, so apologies in advance. I'm gonna perhaps like, just change things. uh, like if they're a fair bit with my next few questions, um,

Max Marchione:

that, that, that's how I roll. I'm I'm always, always down for jumping around multiple ideas in a

James Fricker:

Yeah,

Max Marchione:

time.

James Fricker:

perfect. Well, one thing I wanna ask is, so you, you're someone that shares a lot, you know, LinkedIn to Twitter, various social media places use kind of everywhere. I wanna ask, uh, when you're sharing things, what is a, a particular idea that you've shared that people didn't, it didn't really take off as much as you would've hoped or perhaps people kind of underappreciated or in your opinion, people just don't don't see the value in, in what you've said as much as you.

Max Marchione:

Yeah, man. I, I love this question. I actually think this is like a natural follow on from independent thought, because I think the pieces of content I've released are the most underappreciated. Tend to be the things that are the most independent, um, thinking, right? Because frankly, I think people often like to hear things they already kind of believe in. Um, so things that are under underappreciated, the things that are slightly more independent, um, there are probably three of them I'll mentioned in particular. Um, one is the idea of courage is more important than competence. And I think if you, if you look at. People who start certain startups. Yes, they're very competent, but there are thousands of people as competent as them. I was listening to Doug Leoni who runs Sequoia capital, um, the largest, most successful VC fund in the world. Maybe not the largest, but the most successful in the world. And he said yes, he's smart. Yes, he has IE high EQ, but there are thousands of other people who are just as competent as him. What enabled him to get to where he is, is a combination. Luck and courage and the reason they say they go and they go hand in hand. And the reason why is that being courageous brings luck, right? You need to be in the arena for luck to strike. Um, so I think that's like the first idea courage is more important than competence. The second idea, I often like say to people, um, I want to live to 100 and the response that I get back. What? No fuck. No, I wanna die at 80. And the reason people say that to me is like the, the, we have this trope in the world of you get to 80 and you're a cripple. The last 20 years of your life really, really suck. I think a realistic vision of the future is people get to 70 years old instead of thinking, oh, I'm kind of decrepit. I'm not gonna do much for my next 10 years. Instead of that at 70 years old, you're sitting there think. What meaningful experiences, what things am I going to create for the next 30 years of my life? Right? And to get to that point of 70 year olds, having that mentality, they need to be healthy, right? You need to have 70 year olds who look and feel like 60 or 50 year olds, and that's perfectly possible. Um, there are these places in the world called blue zones and blue zones, uh, places where people live to. 100 years old or over a hundred years old. That's like the average age. And the question is, okay, why do people live so long in these places? And it's not because they're meditating every day. It's not because they're wearing wearables or taking supplements instead. It's because culturally they sleep, they exercise, they eat healthy, they have good relationships. So I think like a large part of enabling. People to get to 70 and be healthy is like changing culture. Right. Having a culture where things like exercise, sleep, low stress, eating healthy are like cultural norms. Um, so like bringing that all together, that the second idea that I think is like somewhat underappreciated is that we can ensure think about living to 100. Um, the third idea I think is underappreciated. Um, And I'm just judging this based on like the very few Twitter reacts it got is that, um, professionalism is meme, innate and. I, I see a spectrum of like, it goes back to the independent, you have independent at one end. Um, and then you have copycat at the other end. Another word for copycat, um, is Matic. Matic is the, the idea that we inherit our desires now convictions from others. Right? So I think, I think a lot of how people engage in the world is copycat mode. Me medic mode, um, the mode of inheriting Des desire and convictions from others. I think professionalism falls into this Matic copycat bucket. Um, the most professional people in the world are call center, call center folks. And then you like kind of move down the chain. You might end up with like an investment making analyst as someone who's somewhat Mitic right. They're well, they're very professional. Whereas the, the investment banking managing director is normally less professional than the analyst. So I think professionalism is largely a matter of like copying others. Whereas if you go to the other end of the spectrum, um, nonprofessionalism you. have founders, you have Jack Dorsey, mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Ryan blo, um, Steve jobs. Right. And I think. they have is an independence of thought. So I actually think nonprofessionalism equals independence. Whereas professionalism can often equal, can often equal conformism. Now it's a balance, right? I'm not saying all of a sudden, just walk, walk into the office barefoot. I'm just saying, like, be aware of how you're acting and why you're acting a certain way. Um, so, so bringing that all together, that idea is the idea. The professionalism is Matic. It's not innate. We're not innately born with it.

James Fricker:

Yeah. It's some interesting food for thought there definitely.

Max Marchione:

again, I don't think it's bad. Like, like I could give you 10 arguments. Why, why professionalism really matters as well? So it's not that I'm saying one's bad or another, um, why one's bad or one's not bad.

James Fricker:

yeah, yeah, Definitely. I feel like, yeah. When you, when you, if you come into an organization, you sort of, yeah. Even just like adopt the culture that's there. And so it's almost like a. I don't know, it's difficult to kind of set like you know what I mean? Like, yeah, like you said, you can't just walk into the investment banking office with like no shoes on and like a t-shirt, uh, or whatever it is like in a single perhaps

Max Marchione:

No, but, but the MD can, the

James Fricker:

yeah,

Max Marchione:

which is really

James Fricker:

yeah.

Max Marchione:

which is really interesting. Right? It's like, um, you get more freedom to be independent. The more senior you get. Um, that's one way of looking at it. Another way of looking at it is that people who are more independent get further, um, that's another way of looking at it. I also think it's like a balance. Like there are, there are some people who, who interview and they're like in robot mode, right? Robot mode is like a hundred percent professional mode. They won't get ahead. In in the, in that interview. Whereas, um, some people enter the interview and they're, yes, they have a balance of professionalism, but they also have human mode. Right. They have personality mode and personality can often be somewhat opposed to professionalism. If you're, if you're too bubbly, it can be non-professional. But typically in an interview, you need to balance it. You can't be full robot. And obviously you probably don't wanna be talking about your dating life though. I do have some friends who will do that. Um, if he, if he listens to this, he'll know who I'm talking about. Um, but again, it's like, it's like a balance. It's a spectrum. Both things need to be at play.

James Fricker:

No, I definitely. No. That's interesting. Um, well, I'd love to like continuing this sort of unrelated questions, thread, um, and ask you, this is a Tim Ferris classic question. Um, you know, what has been yourself, uh, in, in your journey, your most valuable investment, um, whether it's time or an investment of money.

Max Marchione:

Okay. Um, I'll start with time. And the reason why is, I think time is more valuable than money. Generally speaking. Um, you can't buy time. You can make more money. You. In terms of time, two best investments for me. Um, one is next chapter. So next chapter is, is this series of communities I run. And the reason why that's been really, really valuable is because, so what next chapter is we, we run a community of the most curious, ambitious kind, talented people. We can find James. That's how I know you because you are like in the next chapter community. Um, and the reason why that's been like the best investment of time for me is. I'm a big believer in the idea that we, we are the average of the people around us. Right. And next chapter has been just like building this awesome tribe of people around me. Um, and that changes what's normal. Right? I can be copycat mode, like I think at our human natural default human tendency is copycat mode. I can be copycat mode, but now the things I'm copying are really, really. Useful. Right. Um, so, so I think I don't have to be as independent within next chapter. I can just copy everyone else now. I'll probably do pretty well, um, so that that's like fir first, um, first investment of time. Second investment of time would be ultraviolet, which is angel investing syndicate. I started, um, and we are a group of founders and creator. Investing in other founders and creators means like podcasters, YouTubers, newsletter, riders, community managers, et cetera. Um, so they'd be the two best investments of time for me. Um, investment of money. Ironically, the investments of money I tend to like the most are the things that buy me more time. So they often look like productivity tools. They might look like a better laptop. They might look like air pods. So I can just like Chuck them on really easily and listen to podcast. Whenever they might look like a, I've got a 39 inch monitor in front of me. And that's because it saves me time when I'm working, it makes me more productive. So I. A lot of my investments of money, um, are like productivity tools, best investment of money from like an actual investment perspective was pure luck. It was an angel investment that went 15 X in like two months, but that is a fluke. And if, if you, if, if I make like 20 more investments, I'm probably never, ever gonna have that again. Um, so like bringing all that up, I think investment of time matters more than investment of money. Um, just because we, we can't buy more time.

James Fricker:

Yeah, no, I agree with that. Absolutely. And, and folks who are listening, if you haven't already heard of next chapter, it's it's, um, it's pretty incredible community. You guys are building over there and it's been I've, I've loved, uh, being a part of it, met some super interesting people in there and it's, it's been super valuable.

Max Marchione:

Awesome man. Um, we are plug, we are opening, um, our intake soon. So if you. Follow me on LinkedIn. Um, follow next chapter on LinkedIn. You'll see that, um, in a week or so we're gonna be opening up the next intake of people into the community So you can check it out, see if that's the kind of thing you may or may not be interested in and yeah, go from there.

James Fricker:

sweet. Yeah. We'd love to see more people in there. I think it's, yeah, pretty. It's pretty cool. I, I don't think I've even, I'm not sure. I'm not sure if I've even met anyone in person from there. And I feel like I'm still getting quite a lot of value out of it. So, um, I don't know if that's, if that says anything that certainly, I think if, uh, folks are interested, they should definitely consider being a part of it. Um, let's continue, continue the thread here. So, one question I wanna ask you was around the idea of that there's often this, you know, perhaps a paradox type situation where you've got let's enjoy the present moment and, and just be really grateful for what we have. And then the, the flip of that is then like let's not be okay with where we are and, and really drive towards some desired sort of future state. Um, and I'm curious to understand, like, how you think about that, uh, you know, that sort of enjoying the present while still chasing things that you want and, and things like that. I mean, yeah. How, how do you approach that? Uh, it's quite an open question. I know, but.

Max Marchione:

Yeah. Yeah. Um, do both at once. And I, I don't actually think they're mutually exclusive. Like for me, I enjoy the process of working towards things. I get a lot of present energy by, by building. Right. And it's not a Discontentment with the present. It's like a complete contentment with the actual process of building in the present. Um, The other thing I'd say, cuz I think what that question kind of eludes that is that like idea of happiness that a lot of people talk about, right? There's this, there's this idea of maybe if you're not present, you're not happy. And the way I kind of think about happiness is you ideally want to get to the point where you don't think about happiness. I actually don't think the happiest people are actively thinking about happines. Instead, they just have routines that allow them to, um, maintain a baseline high level happiness. Like I think my baseline happiness, um, despite maybe seeming like someone who, who works hard. I think my baseline happiness is like seven or eight and it's because I don't think about it much. And what I mean, I just think about routines, so I make sure I sleep. I need to sleep. I need to exercise. Um, and I need to not use social media too much. If I do those three things. And then, and then I also like, see my family, um, at least a couple times a week, if I do tho those four things, I'm like guaranteed to be happy basically. So that's kind of how I think about it. Just like have, have these routines that, that are just like a routine part of how you engage with the world and then hopefully those processes take care of themselves. Um, so like going back to your question, I don't think, um, I don't think being future focused and present focused and mutually exclusive. I think they can go hand in hand.

James Fricker:

Yeah, no, it's a good take, I think. Yeah, certainly. Yeah. I think, I think that's good way thinking about it cause yeah, I feel like, yeah, sometimes at least, at least for myself, you know, I kind of get, can get stuck in this thing where it's like, oh, am I like desiring this like, future so bad that it's like taking away from enjoying kind of the things I have now. Um, and certainly I think that's a good.

Max Marchione:

I get what you're saying. Like. They're they're not necessarily mutually exclusive, but they don't perfectly overlap either. Right? You can have, you can have a, a, a situation in the world where you have present peers against future. And it's like that Naval saying, which I think he appropriated from someone else, which is that desire is a contract you have with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want. Right. Um, desires like this contract you have with yourself. To be unhappy. So he's saying that that desire and wanting more is like guaranteed to bring unhappiness, which is like true and untrue. It goes to like that Buddhist philosophy idea, which is that desire, like desire is the root of suffering. And I like. Agree and disagree. Um, but I don't like, I, I think desire can lead to suffering. I don't necessarily think all suffering is bad. And I think I've got like a kind of hot take on this. You'll you'll notice I probably like push back against all these conventional wisdom kind of points. And look, I can argue both sides, but I'll argue this side, that suffering isn't that bad. And I'll give a couple examples. Um, Leonard Messey or, or Christiana Rano or Roger Feder, right? Or LeBron James. They suffer and go through more pain than basically anyone I've seen. Right. They work so damn hard for what they believe in. Society glorifies that, right? If you are working super damn hard, you're sacrificing so much, you can't drink. You need to eat healthy. You, you have less time for family and friends. They sacrifice so much, but they're glorified because of it because culturally it's fine to glorify sports people, but then you might get someone like, I don't know, mark Zuckerberg or Warren buffet, who, who sacrificed a lot, who worked really hard, who hustle. In the business world, you can be Deni grade for working hard. You can be, you can be like, kind of put down for that for that little bit of some suffer. But I think it just depends on the game you're playing, right? If you are messy, what you're innately good at is football and exercising your talents to the best of the, your ability me exercising your or, or, or enlivening. Your sense of meaning means working really hard to be a good football player. Whereas if you're Warren buffet, you're a clear independent thinker who likes deep analysis, exercising your talents to the best of your ability means working really hard to be a very successful investor in business. Um, so I think, I think suffering is interesting because in some instances, people are like glorify it in some instances, people completely denigrate it. Right. So I think, um, yes, desire can lead to suffering. Suffering isn't necessarily bad if it also is linked to something that brings you meaning uh,

James Fricker:

Damn. those deep I like that a lot. Yeah. I haven't heard that ex explain like that before, but yeah. Uh, I, I agree with that. Um, for sure. Like, and I definitely see what you mean with the yeah. The comparison there. Um, yeah, that's really interesting food for thought. All right. Let. Let's continue. the, the, the assorted questions list. So one, one of these things, you know, we've been talking about like independent thought, that's been a nice thread. That's run through this. How do you think about like, Career, like, how do you, how do you approach your career in the sense of, and you perhaps already to some degree, you kind of started this where you are, you know, you did the learning year, Goldman, perhaps like a year or two earlier than you're sort of supposed to do. Um, how do you think about like careers in a, I guess in a more macro sense, like, um, and, and sort of optimizing for the things that you want out of your career. I mean, how do. This is a very open question here, but I hope you have some ideas to answer, but yeah, I guess like, how do you think about approaching your career?

Max Marchione:

Yeah. So, Um, on my website, I've got an article called career design manifesto or something like that. And I prevent, I present four heuristics or frameworks to help you decide what to focus on. And there's not meant to be some like set way of piecing to you ever be frameworks instead it's meant to be personal. Um, the first of the frameworks, this is the most important. match your career to your nature. So the idea of this is that if we match our career to our nature, we're gonna be really good at it. And we're gonna be energized for the long call. There are other ways of saying that Naval says, um, find what feels like play to you, but looks like work to others. In my mind. That's like another way of saying, match your career to your nature. Um, Sahi or bloom says, find your zone of genius, right? This is like the overlap of your interests, your talents, um, your, your skills that you've learned, um, et cetera. So I think like that match your career to your nature is the most important thing. Right? Um, I don't think everyone should necessarily just like go for the biggest thing they can possibly do if that's like not in their nature. second part of that heuristic is early on in your career. Optimized for learning and learning can be, um, what you learn. And also how fast you learn. Right. You wanna do both, like you wanna learn very rapidly, but you also wanna learn the right thing. And the question is, okay, how do I know what the right thing is? And we don't so early on, literally try everything, get a feel for everything. Um, I call, I say university equals internship. And what I mean by that is like the. If you're not doing like a professional degree, professional, meaning like medicine or engineering or something with a profession wrapped around it. If you're not doing that, then engineering equals internship. And what I mean is that use university to do internships in every single area and work at one to learn and then to work out, which of those areas matches your nature. Um, and that will help you decide. Um, so as I say, one part of learning, then the other part of learning is actually just like pace of learning. So I think pace of like rapid learners have a huge career advantage because they can do more and less time and you can put them in a new scenario and they can get up to speed very quickly. Um, pace of learning. There's an article on my blog, sorry to keep outsourcing this. Um, outsourcing this to the blog, but there's an article on the blog called the most important skill. And the most important skill talks about how we can get much better at the pace of learning and how we can also choose what to learn. The next part of like, um, careers is like this whole idea. The next like framework is the whole idea of optionality, right? Should we. Pursue optionality. Should we double down? And I think early on you want to pursue optionality. You want to be open to everything you want to say yes to everything, et cetera. Then when you find what you love, you stop you double down, you burn the boats, right? And once you find what you love, you need to stop pursuing optionality. Otherwise you're just gonna be an optionality man for your, or man or woman for your entire life. Um, so there's like that, that balance of optionality optionality is good early. Find what you like and then double down, right? Um, if, if you, if you know what you want pursue it. And then the final part of, of this like career guide is, uh, a central belief of mine is that we need to take more risk, particularly more risk when we're younger. And the reason why is that when you're young, the downside of risk is zero. Typically the downside is actually above zero because you learn a heap in the process, but let's say the downside is zero. Whereas the upside can literally be almost unlimited. Um, So I'd tell you. Okay. Under arching belief I have with careers is take more risk, um, interview for jobs. You don't think you're qualified for start ventures or startups or societies that, that you, you don't think you are, you are worthy of doing or qualified for doing. Um, so like bringing them all together. First one match your career to your nature. Second one, optimize for learning both speed and then also optimize for learning the right thing. Second one is optionality. Pursue optionality early on, then burn the boats and double down and get rid of all optionality later on. And then the final point is like, take risk. Take more risk when you're younger.

James Fricker:

that's, that's a good framework, I think certainly. And I think, yeah, I, I think if people can kind of use those, use those things to. Direct themselves even slightly better than I think those things, um, quite useful. definitely. Um, about, let's talk about like performance, like in the workplace or at university or whatever it might be. How do you think about like performing well in these different situations and, and perhaps are there any. Any things that you do, maybe let's take the workplace as an example. Are there any, perhaps applying independent thought to this as well? you know, are there any, like any things that you do, any, perhaps like rituals or techniques, things that you apply, um, in the workforce to, to like perform at your peak, um, or, or even, even like, how do you think about

Max Marchione:

Mm.

James Fricker:

in, in, in the general.

Max Marchione:

First thing is game selection. So choose a game or choose a job. You are uniquely well suited to playing. Um, if you're Le L Massey, you should probably play football instead of basketball because you are five foot six or whatever. Um, That's the first thing, right? You want to actually choose the right job if you are, if you're in the wrong job, no matter how talented you are, you're gonna struggle to perform at a really, truly high level. So that's game selection. Um, second thing I'd say is communicate and overcommunicate. Um, Tell managers, what tell your managers what work you're doing, tell them when you've done it. It, it alleviates pressure on your manager. If you're constantly keeping them up to date with, with where you're up to personally, I think I'm really bad at communicating. I think I can be slightly. To, um, to, I, I, I often feel like it's communication. Oh, I'm pestering my manager to communicate. They have like better things to worry about. But I think the, the like mental switch that has to flick is the idea that no, you're not pestering them. You're actually alleviating. or making, you're actually making their job easier because they don't have to like keep mental tabs in you the whole time. So that's the second thing communicate. And then third thing it's really, really trivial, but it's like be reliable if you say you're going to do something, do it. Um, Charlie Munger was asked, what if there's like one. One trait you could like get rid of in people, or if there was one trait you wanted in people, what would it be? And, and he said reliability, which at the time I thought was really interesting. Like why would reliability matter? And I think the reason it matters is because like reliability compounds, if you, if you faithfully rock up day in, day out, that compounds are saying, I used to kind of live by, um, is the little things done consistently, other big things. Now I've always kind of taken that approach. I don't think I'm ever working. At like a hundred percent or even 90%. But I think I'm like constantly at that 80%, which means that my happiness is high. My energy's always really high, but I'm like always there, like, and I enjoy that. Right. And it is that idea of like the little things done consistently are the big things. Um, so those, those three first one is like game selection, most important. And then like two more tactical things are like communicate and be reliable.

James Fricker:

Yeah, I think that's, those are great as well. Reliability. I agree with what you mean. Cause it's like, if you, if someone asks you to do something, you do it well, they might ask you to do slightly more and then like you said, it just kind of compounds nicely. Um, so yeah, I agree with that. Absolutely. Um, cool. Well, I've got like one last question for you and and, and that is like, so you're in university currently, let let's rewind, perhaps back to the start of uni and thinking about who max was at that stage, knowing what you know now and all the things that you've done, all the experiences that you've had. If you could go back to max, who's just starting out where he's just left school. Let's say, what, what advice would you give to.

Max Marchione:

Be more courageous, take more risks, break the rules, university equals internships. In other words, like you used the time to. Um, do internships and then like, again, be even more courageous. Um, so, so that's the advice I'd go back and give myself.

James Fricker:

Amazing. Yeah. The courage idea is, is really interesting one and certainly I think, uh, I can be better. I think many of us can be better at flying that one. Um,

Max Marchione:

man. I, I, I think, I, I think I'm still, like, I actually still think it's a weakness of mine. I still think I don't take enough risk. Um, I still think I can can up courage. Um, and it's iterative, right? Like the more, the more you put yourself out, the more courage, the more, the more things you do that are courageous. um, the more you build up build up like thick skin to it, no longer feels like being courageous just feels like the normal. Right. And that's why, again, going back, I love next chapter because being around people in there makes things that used to be courageous as normal. Right. Just continue to like raise the bar and what's what's normal. And that, uh, a as humans, I think winding up with that independence of thought. Um, our innate state is to copy others. If you put two babies in a room with a thousand toys, they will fight over one toy. So our innate state is to copy others. Given that piece of information, I want to be around others or in a community where if I copy others, they end up in a really, really damn good place. Um, so. I think that's true of courage as well. If you're around people who, who are off the bar on ambition and courage and proactivity, even starting a podcast, like what you are doing, right? Like a third of the community bloody on podcast or something like that, um, is courageous. It's like, it's a bold move. You put yourself out into the world. Um, so, so I'd say that as well, like, like as a closing piece of advice, B. Be really deliberate about like, trying to find people who lift you up and trying to be part of communities or collectives of people, um, that, that create a culture where exceptional is normal.

James Fricker:

Yeah, no, I agree with that. And definitely folks again, next chapter it's been really great. So, so yeah. Yeah. I think what next week you said max, so that's exciting. Um, yeah. Cool. Well, if people wanna find out more about next chapter, find out more about yourself, where's the best place for them to go

Track 1:

Um, connect with me slash follow me on LinkedIn. Reach out at any time. And max marchione.com is my website as well. I, few of the stuff I've spoken about, I've written about and put on there. Um, I've. Other stuff I've spoken about that isn't on there. I will soon write about and put on there because I'm passionate about it as you might be able to tell. Um, so yeah, that's where you can find me. My door's always open

james:

Thanks for listening to this episode I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. If you want to get my takeaways, the things that I learned from this episode, please go to graduate theory.com/subscribe, where you can get my takeaways and all the information about each episode, straight to your inbox. Thanks so much for listening again today, and we're looking forward to seeing you next week.