Al(l)-In’s Codex Vitae (01/26/2021)

The idea is to write a book, the Codex Vitae or Book of Life, that represents everything I have learned in my life. If I lost all of my memories somehow, this could be something that helped me remember who I am.

It is a living document; as my understanding and beliefs will probably change with time.

This page is highly inspired by Yoann Lopez’s Codex Vitae.

Last edited Jan 26, 2021

The main purpose of this document is to:

  • Identify and question my own beliefs. The time-stamped written format allows me to understand the evolution of my thought process (at least I hope so).
  • Share philosophies, concepts, tools, and inspiration that have been helpful to me.

Meta-beliefs

> Beliefs about beliefs.

  • Test, learn, iterate. Acting rapidly brings many benefits. This applies to many areas of life whether it is launching a start-up, buying a new house, buying a stock. It doesn’t mean to act without thinking. In many situations, there is a lot to analyze before taking action. Once you’ve done the due diligence and feel like you have 80% of the entire information, act fast. Do not hesitate to throw away what is not working.
  • Pareto’s law is of great importance. 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Many situations give us an ever more skewed law where 99% of the effects come from 1% of the causes.
  • Question things. Who knows who is right. Expert is a title many use and abuse.
  • Predictions and assumptions on things you don’t have control over won’t help to move forward.
  • Randomness plays a very important role in our lives. Way more important than what most people tend to believe (see you are here reading this on your screen! If this is not pure random!)
  • The benefits of long-term thinking will always outweigh the benefits of short term thinking.
  • Better to have systems than goals (I want to run 5 times a week for a year vs I want to run a marathon).
  • Compounding is one most powerful things. It can be related to money, friendships, work, opportunities…

Principles

Fundamentals that guide my life.

  • The mantra of my life is similar to Derek Siver’s idea: Either “Hell yeah!” or “No”. If I want to do something, I will definitely go for it. If I hesitate, most of the time, it will mean no. This is also a reason why I named my yearly review Al(l)-In.
  • Freedom. This is probably the most important value guiding my life. The more options I can have, the better. Today, it seems that freedom from an engaging work and location are the most important. In the long-run, freedom from internal perturbations might become more important.
  • Curiosity. Curiosity about life, about people, about ideas. There are many things to learn and discover. Probably too much for a single lifetime.
  • Rationality. When taking a decision, I try to have sound arguments for it. Cost-benefit analysis is very useful. Rationality with what you say is very important. You can’t act one way and say things another.
  • Self-confidence. My rational mind can come with a lot of self-confidence. It is often useful but not well seen in a few cases. So be it.
  • Stoicism. Do not get angry about things you do not have control over.
  • Question authority and the status quo. I question authority without being disrespectful or outlaw. I have a hard time being told what to do especially if it doesn’t seem like a rational thing to do.
  • Contrarian & Asymmetrical. Many of my thoughts and actions are opposed to popular opinion. I still need to figure out if this is due to my will to be unique or if it is my rational mind speaking. However, contrarian ideas usually bring very high returns (even though risky).
  • Plan the big lines, discover the small ones. I always have a plan for what I’ll do and where I’ll be for the next 6 months to 1 year. This doesn’t mean that the plan will effectively occur, but I always have it as a guideline. Once this guideline is set, I let myself free to the randomness of day to day life.

Fears

This is a list of fears that I am continually working on. I try to understand what’s at the root of these fears and what beliefs or practices I can develop to know that things are going to be okay. Because, in a very broad sense, things are going to be okay.

  • Even though I plan my life for 6 to 12 months ahead, I have a hard time picturing myself 5 or 10 years from now.
    → Everything went very well until now. I always managed to end in very fortuitous positions. No reasons it will change.
  • Time goes by and I end up trap in the routine of my life.
    → I do my best to make my life as exciting as possible. Always moving. Always working on new projects. Always learning. What we are seeking is not time is
  • Not being loved by the people surrounding me.
    → Ridicule. Express more often and in a deeper way my feelings about others.
  • Not having kids.
    → Let’s hope that the randomness of the people I’ll meet along my road will make it. Be nice and live long are the prerequisite to have kids. I try my best for those at least.
  • Not being able to improve society.
    → At school, I was often told to be very competent. There are no reasons I won’t be able to translate my skills to the world of work. You can improve society at a global level or at a local level. Both are relevant goals to have.

Self-care

Food & Drinks

  • Caloric restriction and fasting are excellent for your health as well as to understand our dependence on food. Life in society is organized around food o’clock or food travels. Eating is essential, but no way near my priorities.
  • Skipping breakfast & intermittent fasting. Most days I will eat on an 8-hour window.
  • Canned and frozen foods are good enough (if you choose them well) for the time spent cooking them.
  • The best diet is the one you can follow.
  • Drink as much water as you want. Carry a reusable water gourd.
  • No soda or juices (mixed with alcohol is worse… Very silly me!)
  • Oils other than olive oil are essentially bad.

→ Less sugar, processed food and carbs. More vegetables.

Productivity

  • Productivity is an important subject. I used to organize myself too much. Same as for the diet, the good setup is one you have no problem doing.
  • I set weekly goals every Sunday evening. It allows me to track what was done concerning short term projects.
  • Subjectively track the number of daily productivity hours in a spreadsheet. It allows me to track the bigger picture on a monthly or yearly basis.
  • Daily log many metrics on a spreadsheet to see my evolution with numbers.

Physical Fitness

  • High intensity trainings are more beneficial than regular medium intensity trainings (to confirm by experiment?)
  • Surfing is my hobby to stay fit. I try to surf as much as I can when I live near the coastline. Sometimes, I see people as old as 70 or 80 next to me on the lineup. I dream to surf up to this age.

Intoxicants (Drugs, Alcohol, etc.)

  • Political stakes created the negative narrative and policies around drugs. Excluding specific cases, I believe drugs are not as bad as the popular opinion believes (in a non-excessive use of course).
  • Alcohol is the worse drug due to its social acceptance.
  • However, alcohol can be quite fun when used responsibly. It gives this special boost from time to time (like the red mushrooms in Mario Kart you know!).
  • Mushrooms, as well as LSD and Ayahuasca seem like the most interesting drugs to introspect.
  • I don’t understand cigarette smoking.

Relationships

  • Honesty and openness are the most important things to nurture great relationships.
  • As in many areas of life, relationships compounded with time are the most significant and truthful. Beware of people with no long time friends.
  • Meeting people and let them talk deeply about what they are passionate about is one of the most beautiful hacks of life.
  • Loving people is as important as being loved.

Mental and Emotional Wellness

  • Mental health is health.
  • Speaking to others does a lot of good to mental health.
  • The easiest thing to do for your mental health is to enjoy the outdoor, the sun and the long days of summer.

Health

  • Health should be a priority.
  • Considering and tackling aging as a disease is more important than resolving any specific health issue.
  • Medicine should be personalized and predictive. Easier said than done. I try to do so on my scale.
  • I want to live healthily up to at least 100 years old.

Material World

Money and Consumerism

  • Money is and is not significant at the same time. It is very important to realize that you don’t need a lot of money to be happy. You only need basic food, basic shelter and loving people around you. However, money can buy way more than futile objects. First, it buys you time, so you can do the things you love. Second, it allows you to impact lives with your vision. (The good of this second point is questionable)
  • I try to own as little stuff as possible as I would always like to be free to move around France or the world with my backpack. The annoying part is when I want to have my sport equipment such as my bike or my surfboards.
  • Experiences are worth a lot more than physical possessions.
  • Buying things to rent them is okay.
  • If you don’t use it, give it or sell it to someone who will use it.

Work

Career

  • Help others and give them your time as long as they respect it. They will definitely pay it back giving you opportunities or help. #PayItForward.
  • Respect people. Be on time.
  • Defining oneself by his work is not desirable nor healthy. Life needs to be balanced. My personal path is: Passion → Side Project → Work → Good Life

Learning

  • Life is a very long learning journey.
  • Books are the most important objects of humanity. They transfer knowledge through space and time. I learned the most timeless lessons in books. I learned lessons from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs I never met through books (and podcasts).
  • Polyphasic sleep can be very useful to be awake for a longer total time during the day. Unfortunately, it is very hard to follow it and have a decent social life.

Passion Projects

  • Building stuff in public is one hell of a personal moat. I need to build more stuff in public.
  • Work on what “will feel like play to you but will look like work to others” (Naval)

Finances

Asymmetric bets

Same as Anthony Pompliano:

My investment thesis is simple: Find asymmetric upside by identifying opportunities that are contrarian today, but will be consensus in 3–5 years.

Especially as I am young and without any constraints. I have little to no downside and only upside. My downside is capped by the initial capital I could lose. The upside is uncapped and can be huge.

More information is not always good.

“Anyone who listens to news (except when very, very significant events take place) is one step below sucker” Antifragile, Nicholas Nassim Taleb

We live in a world where information is abundant. But most of it is noise and not very significant for the long term picture.

Looking for an investment, I follow the remarks of the Silicon Valley VCs on Twitter. I then do my own research and follow my guts. I usually try to dollar cost average on a few weeks or a few months, but I’m not patient enough to do it well.

Adventure

Things I would like to do or places I’d like to visit…regardless of how unrealistic they might be.

  • Run a marathon in a city I love
  • Surf a “big wave” (3m +)
  • Try solo skydiving
  • Try flying with a wingsuit
  • Go into space (and experience no gravity)
  • Build and run a surf hostel
  • Live once more Rio’s Carnival
  • Try an ayahuasca experience with a shaman
  • Try LSD microdosage
  • Go to the burning man in a steampunk disguise
  • Work for Elon Musk
  • Travel in a van with my kids (I don’t have kids, but I picture myself traveling with some and homeschooling them)
  • Live in Mexico, Hawaii, Tahiti, South Africa/Mozambique, Bali for at least 6 months each
  • Live with no phone, computer or any screen for a year
  • Write a book
  • Be an artist (in a theater troupe or as a drawer/painter)

Philosophy

Time

Time is our most important asset in life. Way more important than any amount of money. I highly prefer being in my situation, poor in money but rich in time rather than in Warren Buffet’s one, rich in money but poor in time. A billion seconds is a bit more than 31 years. I have (probably) more than 31 years to live. Thinking like this, I can now say that I am a time billionaire.

Society

  • Education (mostly historical American universities) has been growing for centuries without any external stressors. Eventually, the thing will collapse as it is mostly an expensive way to socialize and buy credentials. Apprenticeship and boot camps should take their place.
  • Free trade and exchanges brought way more to our humanity than most people tend to believe.
  • It would be very egocentric to believe we do not live in a simulation. The rate of improvement of our technology is extremely rapid especially compared to Earth’s existence. If we are the first ok. If not, something must have been in our situation before and had reached this level of improvement. From there on, technology (like VR) will soon be confused with reality. Isn’t this what a simulation is? If we can do it soon, hadn’t they done it before?
  • Other forms of living forms exist somewhere sometime in the universe. It doesn’t mean we had, or we will cross their path.

Politics

  • Twitter is the most meaningful social media. However, banning people such as the president of the US is a threat to our freedom of speech.
  • A liberal world brings the most good to the most.
  • An interventionist government will bring no good to its citizens.

Influences

Books

  • The incerto series by Nicholas Nassim Taleb
  • The rational optimist by Matt Ridley
  • The 4 hours work week by Tim Ferriss

Quotations and Sayings

“Find three hobbies, one that make you rich, one that makes you fit, one that makes you smarter.” Naval Ravikant

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.” Richard P. Feynman

“Only fools and dead men don’t change their minds.” John H. Patterson

Inspirational Lives

  • Tim Ferriss (entrepreneur, human guinea pig)
  • Elon Musk (entrepreneur)
  • Richard Feynman (curious character, scientist)
  • Chamath Palihapitiya (investor)
  • Anthony Pompliano (curious character, investor)
  • Lex Fridman (curious character)
  • Nassim Nicholas Taleb (probabilities, investor)
  • Cathie Wood (investor)
  • Ray Dalio (entrepreneur)
  • Steve Jobs (entrepreneur, artist)
  • Italo Ferreira (sportsman)
  • Yoann L. (entrepreneur)
  • Rémi Q. (sportsman, entrepreneur)
  • Stephen S. (Twitter)

Predictions

Predictions as of the 01/26/2021

For 2021

  • The pandemic will continue. Lockdowns will continue to occur intermittently. People won’t travel internationally this summer.
  • Social unrest in some countries due to the lockdowns and governments still mandating to close businesses.
  • One or two huge improvements in the AI field along the line of Alpha Fold or GPT-3 improvements.
  • The price of 1 bitcoin will reach $100,000.
  • Tesla will deliver 900,000 cars.
  • The FED will print another 5 trillions on top of the 1.9 trillions of January.

2/3 years from now

  • Monetary stimulus will continue.
  • A biomedical passport with vaccination will be mandatory to travel to some countries (even if that already exists for yellow fever for example).
  • We will live with Covid as we live with flu.
  • Masks are here to stay.
  • A first historical auto manufacturer will be bankrupt.
  • A decentralize social network will be mainstream.
  • No code tools will become more and more common.
  • The next US president will be an independent.

5/10 years from now

  • Inflation and big monetary crisis. Some will question the USD as the global reserve currency.
  • The market cap of bitcoin will surpass the market cap of gold.
  • Many tech people will be paid in bitcoin. Or they will immediately transfer their paycheck to bitcoin when receiving it.
  • Tesla will be the most valuable company in the world.
  • More than 3 historical auto manufacturers will be bankrupt.
  • Genomics selection for babies will be available for some people. Genomics modification will start.
  • Space X will land a man on Mars.
  • Space tourism will be a thing.
  • VR will be very important.
  • Facebook or Twitter won’t exist anymore (or won’t be mainstream).
  • Some countries in Europe (maybe Germany or Italy) will have big social problems. Those will be due to the demographic change of their population. More old people and less young to work and pay for their retirement.
  • Elon Musk will be the first trillionaire.

20 + years

  • AI will be so good, it will be the biggest threat to humanity. Same idea for VR.
  • We will be able to save our consciousness in a computer.
  • Humans will merge with machines with Neuralink.
  • Sex is for recreation. Science is for procreation. Most people will be able to engineer procreation whether it is choosing genes or modifying them.
  • A bigger threat than overpopulation will be demographic contraction. There won’t be enough young people to take care of our elders.

Lifelong learner to improve the quality of our day to day experiences.