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Sam Altman on Choosing Projects, Creating Value, and Finding Purpose3 min read

In this episode of the podcast Sam Altman expands on ideas that have come up in several of his essays. Specifically: choosing projects, creating value, and finding purpose.

Sam’s the president of YC Group and co-chairman of OpenAI. You can find him on Twitter @sama.


Topics

:55 – From The Days Are Long But The Decades Are Short – Minimize your own cognitive load from distracting things that don’t really matter. It’s hard to overstate how important this is, and how bad most people are at it.

3:20 – Stepping back and evaluating your work

5:00 – Creating metrics for your projects

6:00 – Taking a year off

9:00 – Figuring out when to commit

11:00 – Poker

12:00 – From Productivity – Sleep seems to be the most important physical factor in productivity for me. Exercise is probably the second most important physical factor. The third area is nutrition.

14:30 – From You and Your Research by Richard Hamming – If what you are doing is not important, and if you don’t think it is going to lead to something important, why are you at Bell Labs working on it?’

16:00 – From The Days Are Long But The Decades Are Short – Things in life are rarely as risky as they seem. Most people are too risk-averse, and so most advice is biased too much towards conservative paths.

17:00 – Perspective shifts

19:45 – From Productivity – My system has three key pillars: “Make sure to get the important shit done”, “Don’t waste time on stupid shit”, and “make a lot of lists”.

22:00What Happened to Innovation

24:20 – From You and Your Research by Richard Hamming – He who works with the door open gets all kinds of interruptions, but he also occasionally gets clues as to what the world is and what might be important.

26:20 – The deferred life plan doesn’t work

31:20 – From The Merge – Our self-worth is so based on our intelligence that we believe it must be singular and not slightly higher than all the other animals on a continuum. Perhaps the AI will feel the same way and note that differences between us and bonobos are barely worth discussing.

33:40 – Weight training

35:00The Way to Love by Anthony de Mello


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Transcript

A transcript is on the way.

Source: Y Combinator

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