Timeline for context:
- 1994: born in Nyeri, Kenya
- 2001: started using computers
- 2006: decided to become an internet entrepreneur
- 2009: started high school
- 2012: became a freelance web designer and online freelance writer
- 2014: joined Kenyatta University for my Bachelor of Arts
- 2014: my first major blog moneyacademy.co.ke
- 2014: my second major blog tupesa.co.ke
- 2015:moneyacademy.co.ke nominated for best business blog in BAKE awards
- 2016: sold tupesa.co.ke
- 2016: killed moneyacademy.co.ke turned it into a twitter microblog
- 2018: @moneyacademyKE hits 17k followers on twitter
- 2018 to present: focussed on decision theory and growth hacking
I’m ambitiously focused on learning
More than anything, I want to learn lots of stuff. I want to learn as much as I can from articles, books, websites, people, systems and apps, especially about new ideas.
This shapes most of my life decisions. Saying no to almost everything, so I can have lots of time for learning.
At the age of 10, I decided I wanted to run successful online businesses. Knowing it’s something that millions want, but only one-in-a-million achieve, I knew I’d have to be fiercely focused, persistent, savvy, and work like an Olympic athlete in training. In other words, not casual.
I want to learn lots of stuff, especially different approaches to thinking and living. That’s why I read so much non-fiction, and want to keep moving around the world.
I connect with those who stretch, strive, and grow. I can’t relate to those who chill, hang out, watch TV, party, etc.
I’ve optimized my life for creating and learning. I’ve cut out most things from my life that most normal people do — (like hanging out or media consumption) — in pursuit of my bigger goal.
My life philosophy
I’ve always had an uncommon approach to life, mostly shaped by my ambition.
But I’m also very skeptical meaning: for almost anything on this page, the opposite may also be true. I don’t trust what I tell myself. It’s not a lie — it’s my truth at the time. But an opposite point of view can replace it when I shift my perspective. (I sometimes do this intentionally: do the opposite of my beliefs, just to get a different perspective.)
I don’t work for money
Some might say I’m retired because I haven’t earned (hardly) any money since 2016. Now my ambitions are entirely intrinsic and intellectual. I work as hard as ever, but just for my own learning, creating, and giving.
I love to work alone 12 hours a day
I use the term “work”, because it’s more understood, but really it’s “me time” — doing what I love. Writing, learning, improving, and creating. Whether it’s creating websites, blog posts, or online ventures, it’s all just creating.
The word “workaholic” would apply, except it’s play, not work. It’s completely intrinsic — just following my own interests. I’ve found what I love, and do it as much as possible.
I prefer this as a solo pursuit. Being around other people drains me, and I don’t want to compromise this side of my life. It’s a very personal pursuit. It’s not business — it’s more like art. The rewards are internal.
Nobody gives a novelist shit for writing alone. But an entrepreneur, programmer, or musician is expected to collaborate. I disagree, for me. I prefer the life of a novelist, whether I’m writing code, blogs, or systems.
12 hours a day works best for me, about 6 days a week. It’s good to break the gravity one day a week, and force myself to do something else. I resist it at first but appreciate it afterward.
Besides my “work”, I write in my journal up to three hours a day. Reflecting, daydreaming, planning. Asking myself questions, and trying different answers. It feels like all my learning happens here.
I’m very stereotypical Kenyan. Well, a Kikuyu Kenyan. Meaning:
- very individualist
- nomadic with weak family ties
- averse to traditions
- my meals usually last just a few minutes
- quick to open up emotionally
- seeking new ideas and people
I’m a nairobian
The first twenty years of my life was spent in a small chilly town in central Kenya called Nyeri. I have literally spent over 90% of my life confined to within a twenty-mile radius of my birthplace.
Once I came to Nairobi for my undergraduate I swore to never return and currently only visit occasionally for my parents and family.
I prefer chatting on the phone to hanging in person
I might sound like a total recluse by now, but I’m not. Most people who meet me think I’m an extrovert, because I’m a real conversationalist, and absolutely love talking one-on-one.
But I have a social window of about 1-2 hours. After that, I’m drained and want to be alone again. Because of this, I’m not into hanging out all day or night, just passing time.
Online chats seem to be more focused. More ideas per hour. A better use of time. You’re undistracted by surroundings, and focus on the quality of the conversation. And when the conversation dwindles, you say goodbye and talk again another day.
I love eccentricity. Some people need to look into someone’s eyes to know them well. Not me. For me, it’s all about the exchange of ideas. That’s all I need. (Because of this, I loved the movie “Her”.)
I’m a minimalist
I hate waste. I don’t like the feeling of having more than I need. It feels like clutter.
Yes this means I only own a few pairs of pants, have only four plates in my little apartment, and my computer is a 4-year-old clunky laptop that works fine.
But it also applies to tech: removing every line of website code that isn’t necessary and hand-writing a site with no framework or libraries.
And it applies to my writing: spending 12 hours writing an article, saying everything on my mind, then editing it down to the few words that are really needed.
I’m into family
I love my family and consider everyone within my inner circle of friends to be family as well. They’re awesome. I feel very close to them, whether or not I’m able to express this.
While I don’t subscribe to that “blood is thicker than water” metaphor (I feel pretty equally connected to everyone. We’re all cousins, anyway.) I feel more bound or obligated to my immediate family and closest friends only.
I make friends easily when I meet someone worth the effort. They come and go based on life circumstances. Proximity and interests spark friendships, but proximity and interests change. Best friends become old distant friends. New friends become best friends. Some people get married and stop calling. I still love them all, whether we talk or not.
More about me:
- I single-task. I’m into only one thing at a time, focusing on it to completion, whether that takes hours, months, or even years. This is hard for me to do since I’d tried multitasking for a few years but I’m slowly getting back to it.
- I think very long-term and future-focused. Even as a teenager, when friends would tease me for not having tattoos or piercings, I never got them because my first thought is, “Will I want that when I’m 80?” If not, then why do it? My present life is in service of my future self. I tend to do things for my future, not my present.
- I like women. Almost all of my best friends are women. Gender stereotypes bristle me.
- I’m wary of anything that feels like an addiction. Whether drinking, phone/internet use, playing games, or whatever — if people tend to get an unhealthy addiction to it, I avoid it.
- I care deeply about very little. I’m committed to just a few people and a few interests. Everything else, I keep away. It’s a simple and sincere life.
- I walk away — to a fault. I’m not a fighter. When something’s not to my liking — or if something gets too confrontational or antagonistic — I just leave. Since I’m happy being alone, the bar is set really high to make me engage with a person or situation that I’m not enjoying.
- I’m deliberate. I don’t believe in the “I can’t help the way I am” approach to life. Only dead fish go with the flow. I change who I am to get what I want, instead of the other way around.
- I hate noise. I’m always seeking silence. I don’t like crowds, cities, bars, parties, streets, etc. So meeting people in noisy places is pointless, since I can’t understand what anyone is saying. It’s another reason I prefer quiet one-on-one conversations.
- I hate to waste a single hour. I feel the precious value of time, most of the time. I imagine my time as worth $50 an hour and ask myself what’s worth $50. I’m almost always focused on learning or creating.