Naval Ravikant and the storm on the horizon

It is a truly remarkable time to be alive. The abundance of modern life has created a wealth of access, comforts and experiences. The screen in our pocket is a window to the universe and a factory of endless distractions.

The information era has widened the gap between those who want to learn and those who want to be entertained.

Free education is all over the internet, it’s the desire to learn that is scarce
— Naval

In the dopamine pulsator that is the attention economy, the emphasis is on compacting meaning into the smallest units possible. We are divided into content consumers and producers. The only difference being one is passively consuming while the other is actively consuming to improve production.

We are all integrated on social networks. We get our culture, news, and ideas from the same handful of platforms. Manufactured outrage is the top selling commodity.

We are dangerously approaching the tipping point of who controls the keys to our collective imagination. The creators of these platforms have been unexpectedly granted the power of being the curators of reality.

The people designing the algorithms to shape online debate are now the most powerful people in the world
— Naval

This is an awesome responsibility. The potential for dystopian disaster or futuristic paradise is reliant upon the ambition and political bias of the owners of these platforms. This is uncharted territory. We are learning just how insanely difficult it is to objectively manage discourse on these platforms without succumbing to ideological bias. This is not something we can afford to passively surrender.

The future will rely on decentralization to ensure the basic freedoms of access and expression. It is not simply crypto-currency, but crypto-social platforms.

Naval Ravikant is in a unique position. Co-Founder and former CEO of Angel List, He is the Warren Buffet of angel investing. He acquired his wealth from meticulously predicting and investing in the future. He uses that wealth to focus on the present, valuing time as our greatest resource.

Naval’s twitter page serves as a model for the bright side of social media as a tool of learning and transformation.

Doctors won’t make you healthy. Nutritionists won’t make you slim. Teachers won’t make you smart. Gurus won’t make you calm. Mentors won’t make you rich. Trainers won’t make you fit. Ultimately, you have to take responsibility. Save yourself
— Naval

Naval has recently begun creating his own content on his YouTube page and podcast. In a less than 3 minutes, he covers more ground than most university professors can get done in a semester.

It is interesting to see what direction he takes. He has access to all the great voices in the podcast world. He is close friends with the gateway drug to enlightenment and optimization, Tim Ferriss.

His podcast with Shane Parrish is undoubtedly one of the best two hours of podcasting in history. It serves as a monument of contemporary discourse. His conversations with Scott Adams on periscope are a treasure trove of ideas about education, money, politics and the future.

But what sets Naval apart is his understanding of what true wealth is. He explores the variable of luck; not simply surrendering to fate, but a call to preparation so that you can capitalize on luck as you create it through opportunities. It is a matter of becoming the best at what you are best at, so luck finds you. At that point, it is more determinism then luck. 

He transcends the stereotype of “rich” in a way that frankly hasn’t been done before. He’s not the poor man’s version of a rich person with all the garish decadence. He more like a financially secure and grammatically articulate Yoda, devoting his days to training his body and mind and harvesting his @ mentions on Twitter.

Wife: Why are you dancing?

Me: Naval liked my tweet!

Wife: I thought you didn’t care about the responses you get on twitter.

Me: (stops dancing) I don’t… but it’s Naval!

Wife: Who’s Naval?

Me: If you knew you’d be dancing with me.

Wife walks away.

Me: (starts dancing again)

He is at a point in his life where he has minimal to no compromises about how he spends his time. That is what true wealth is.

Rich people may have a lot of money, but wealthy people have time and money. Time to focus on their health, relationships and cultivating happiness. 

Naval’s reach can be as pervasive as the Jordan Peterson phenomena, minus the world tour and the blatant mischaracterization. Naval will do it all remotely from his stand-up desk at home. He doesn’t need to write a book because his tweet storms are available for anyone to read. A book would be devoured by his growing fan base, but it isn’t necessary for him to have massive reach.

Naval, much like Peterson, harnesses the call to adventure. His wisdom evokes action and direction. Naval focuses on the primacy of the individual in creating abundance in their own life. Meaning is embedded in responsibility and no meme or life hack will substitute the sheer grit it takes to create abundance.  

The core of Naval’s greatness is the understanding that money and power don’t bring piece of mind. Happiness is a skill to be cultivated, not a reward for accomplishments.

 It isn’t a matter of if he will be successful but rather, if the endeavor is worth his time.

Naval sees the storm on the horizon. There is too much at stake. He has too much to offer. He has the resources, intelligence and access to add abundance to the world. He evokes hope for the future with his rational optimism. Perhaps that is what the world needs most right now.

*For a deeper dive into Naval, @sharath has compiled a compilation of his work here. It is the home base for all things Naval. I highly recommend you check it out!

Matthew CriscuolaComment