Starting Up

While casually strolling through the greenery around snowy Berlin, my wife asked me if I was to start up again, which domain would it be in? Maybe she just wanted data to evaluate her new job offers or she was doing what she does best; to get me out of my comfort zone. I thought for a few minutes and came up with a framework. The startup has to be in one of three domains: health, knowledge or relationships.

The three are fairly broad terms so probably merit an individual breakdown. Health encapsulates everything that can give a human enough motivation to get out of bed and carpe diem. All aspects of nutrition, mental health, exercise, disease prevention, cures, genetic evaluation, etc. would be covered under health. I would just select the tiniest aspect of this really wide spectrum where I can benefit the maximum number of people with my limited skill set. In my case, it would’ve been exercise and very specifically, running. Running is the world’s most popular sport, needs nearly no equipment (we can argue if shoes are necessary) and I :love: the sport. The 3 challenges within running (in descending order of difficulty to solve) are:

  1. Before: Building up the motivation to run, everyday
  2. During: Pushing yourself to be a tiny bit better
  3. After: Understanding what went well and not so much

I believe the current state of the art in fitness tackles 2 and 3 well. We need a better behavioral psychology led approach to crack #1 but the attempts I’ve seen so far are short of the target. This is the level of zoom-in I’d eventually need but drawing a boundary around these three domains is my way of articulating what I wouldn’t do. For completeness, just sharing the other two terms:

Knowledge focuses on the process of discovery, synthesis and interconnection. Emphasis on this allows humanity to alter our trajectory on productivity and health. For instance, our life expectancy has increased 2x within the last half a century. For kids today, school / university curriculums and skill needs in the job market form a venn diagram with little overlap. For adults who now can work two decades more, this learning stasis is extreme.

Relationships signify human connections with the flora and fauna around them. Any living being that makes us feel like a part of a bigger whole. Quality of these relationships feed back into improving both knowledge and health, especially mental health and define how we grow as a society. Climate change is probably the single largest problem in this domain but I feel letting people adopt a stray isn’t a bad start.

This outlines the superset of problems I might spend my time on. Equally critical is what I left out primarily since I feel those problems are not burning issues of the 21st century. We are a society of excesses and other problems might be huge but we can spend some years without tackling them. A shortlist of such opportunities that immediately come to mind: retail, money and platforms. Just for enabling visualization of my brain, retail = LVMH, money = robinhood and platforms = AWS.

Now, back to finishing yet another beer.

Ciao! Ravdeep


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