• Ten Bullets
  • Posts
  • 🏴 On the founder's journey, extremes, and darkness. Ten Bullets.

🏴 On the founder's journey, extremes, and darkness. Ten Bullets.

For The Obsessed

To the obsessed,

Here are your weekly Ten Bullets. Ten lessons to help you build companies, make art, and find your obsession.

Two housekeeping notes:

  • Ten Bullets is now hosted on beehiiv (at zach.blog). I’ll get the entire archive (55+ editions) uploaded this week.

    • If curious- I switched from Convertkit. I went from paying $300/mo to $99/mo (with 25k subscribers). And the interface is designed 1000x better. Click here to check out beehiiv for your newsletter (referral link).

    • On zach.blog are links to the playlist + pinterest for obsession. I’ll be adding a page with our manifesto, lore, and other links/recommendations.

  • For clarity purposes- the first three bullets will be from me, the remaining seven will be from others.

Presented by Magical AI, a productivity chrome extension I’m obsessed with:

Write and reply with AI

Save time with templates

If you’re like me, email can feel like the enemy. Creators need to create. Entrepreneurs need to build. AI can help you make that a reality, saving you from mind-numbing repetitive tasks.

Magical AI is an AI writer, text expander, and autofill extension powered by ChatGPT and GPT4. It works right in Gmail, and millions of other apps, letting you write instantly with AI and saved templates, automate data entry, and fill sheets from one app to another.

The best part- it has a great free plan to try out.

And, check out the Instagram collab with Magical AI here, to see what it’s all about.

1. On extremes:

Anything I do, I have to do to the extreme.

This is a curse that makes life tremendously hard, and tremendously great.

I can't just 'write.' Have to be one of the biggest writers and creators on earth.

I can't just 'run.' Have to be elite and get freak marathon times for my size.

Pretty sure it's a combo of innate intensity in my DNA, and being put down/having low confidence growing up. Lethal when that's put towards the right thing.

The hard part- is zero moderation makes you a perfectionist. 100 or 0. No in between. You're comfortable having nothing, and when you do win, it's usually all at once. It’s difficult to live a 'normal' life and relate to 'normal' people. It’s difficult to have 'normal' relationships. It’s difficult to enjoy ‘normal’ things, that you should be able to enjoy. But you can’t. Because they’re not meant for you.

You're strapped in a roller coaster, that never ends, until you're gone. If you relate, focus on keeping your obsession alive, picking the right games to play, then playing for decades.

The rest takes care of itself.

ready since day one

2. On insecurity:

Intensity without output creates insecurity. If there's fire inside you, with nowhere to go, it burns you alive.

3. On brands and founders:

The best brands capture a universal journey and package it into a product.

It seems the ones that transcend their category come from the founder themself- they transform, and as a byproduct- find a way to do the same for others through a physical good.

I've been obsessed with this game- more than any- over the last few years. I genuinely think this type of company can't be forced, or hacked, or taught. But, this path for me has never felt more obvious, and more immediate.

“He remade Apple in his own image. Apple is Steve Jobs with ten thousand lives.” - David Senra

4. On uniqueness:

“All the most interesting things happen when you are making something that no one else is making.”

5. On optimism, iteration, and compounding:

“Optimism, obsession, self-belief, raw horsepower and personal connections are how things get started.”

“Fast iteration can make up for a lot; it’s usually ok to be wrong if you iterate quickly. Plans should be measured in decades, execution should be measured in weeks.”

“Inspiration is perishable and life goes by fast. Inaction is a particularly insidious type of risk.”

— Sam Altman, What I Wish Someone Had Told Me [Blog]

6. On darkness:

“I’m one of those guys- I’m a dark person. I come from a dark world. I changed my life- I stopped getting high, all I did was watch fights all day. That’s all I did because that’s all I wanted to be. I knew all the etiquette about fighting, everything. Anything you asked me about fighting, I could tell you.

The most successful people that ever lived in history- are megalomaniacs, but they have low self esteem. They don’t think much about themselves, but they think they’re god in another hand too.”

— Mike Tyson, Hurting is Beautiful [YouTube]

7. On design:

“Don't make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, don't hesitate to make it beautiful.”

8. On extremes (2):

“Extreme talent requires extreme practice — training like an Olympic athlete.

Extreme success requires extreme focus — saying no to distractions and leisure.

Extreme fame requires extreme ambition — taking the spotlight and its pressure.

You can’t do what everyone else does. You can’t watch 63 hours of everyone’s favorite TV show. You can’t get two dogs that need you to be home. That’s for normal people who want a normal life. That’s not for you.

The music business is no place to be normal. The more intense, the better. Normal people will think you’re insane. But your fellow achievers will welcome you to the exclusive club.

When you are not practicing, someone somewhere is practicing. And when you meet him, he will win.

Throw yourself into this entirely. Find what you love and let it kill you.”

9. On inversion:

On why you shouldn’t wait to write a book until you ‘make it.’

10. On life:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!’”

Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967

Have to be reminded of this quote often. (H/t @vaynaix)

If you enjoyed this, forward it to an obsessed friend.

If you were sent this, click here to subscribe.