"I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines.
They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up and boy does that help, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you."
- Charlie Munger, partner to Warren Buffet at investment firm Berkshire Hathaway
Hello from New York City,
I want to share some big news with you. I've launched a new podcast that helps you become a Learning Machine. It's called Learn with Avthar.
This podcast is where I'll talk with world class guests about self-mastery, startups, health and happiness.
My goal is to unpack truths, lessons and mindsets that we all can use to level up our lives, myself included.
Learn with Avthar is available on all your favorite podcast services:
You might be saying, “But Avthar, there’s so many podcasts out there already. Why start another one?”
Let me tell you why...
Why I'm launching a new podcast
After last week’s letter on Vision and Purpose, I want to give some insight into WHY I’ve committed to this podcast, as well as my vision for Learn With Avthar.
When thinking about new projects to start, I often ask myself the question:
“Is this the sort of work you CAN’T NOT do?”
I’ve found that the most rewarding and successful projects I’ve embarked on were ones that PULLED me to work on them, rather than one where I pushed and used all my self-discipline and willpower.
Learn With Avthar is one of those projects which I felt pulled to start. In fact, there’s 4 reasons why I couldn't not start Learn with Avthar.
#1: I love podcasts 🎧
I fell in love with podcasts back in 2015, when I discovered the Tim Ferriss Show. Since then I've listened to hundreds of hours of podcasts while walking to class on Princeton's campus, traveling to New York, California and Dubai and in the mundane moments of doing dishes and cooking.
Podcasts are my favorite content format and the format from which I've learned the most. I consider podcasts a natural medium of expression for me and have wanted to start my own since 2017.
#2: I want to learn from other people 🧠
I started this podcast with a selfish motive: have conversations with people who I want to learn from and talk about things I'm curious about.
I've observed this strategy work well with my podcast heroes like Joe Rogan, who record 5 hour long podcasts and always talk about things they're truly interested in.
Even if no one else listens, I would learn something from each episode and that’s enough for me to keep going.
#3: I love helping people learn 💡
I love helping people learn. I focused on helping students learn better during my time as a Learning Coach at Princeton and now I help software engineers learn how to leverage different technologies as a Developer Advocate at Timescale.
‘Learn with Avthar’ is a way for me to help myself and my audience learn. In the words of Charlie Munger, I want us all to become learning machines and level up our lives. The medium of podcasts presents another opportunity to scale my potential impact on those who want and need the gifts I have to give the world.
#4: I want to remind myself of truths I've learned in life 🔁
I want to use my conversations as an opportunity to remind myself of truths I've learned in my time on Earth so far, whether they be about self-mastery, startups, health or happiness.
It helps me move from intellectual understanding to internalizing lessons more deeply such that they become ingrained in my being. A bit spiritual for some, but that’s the truth.
Goals for Learn with Avthar
In the early days of this podcast, my goal is to do at least 20 interviews between launch (September 2020) and March 2021. Ten of the episodes will be with people in my network who I want to learn more from and the other ten being from people I've never met before, but admire and have learned from, either through their work or by following them on Twitter.
Notice that my goals don’t contain any metrics like download numbers or subscribers. I’m going full internal scorecard on this one and connecting it to my values of learning and helping others learn. If the podcast helps me and 1 other person then it’s a success!
Ask Me Anything (AMA) 🗣️
I’m so grateful for every one of you who read this newsletter.
As a thank you, I’m going to be hosting an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session, where I’ll be answering your questions on a special episode of the Learn With Avthar podcast.
If you’d like to submit a question to me, you can fill out the Google Form below
Questions could be about any of my essays, previous newsletters and previous work as founder, Developer Advocate or Learning Coach. You’re also welcome to also ask about my life and my opinion on things related to self-mastery, startups, health and happiness.
I’m so excited to receive your questions!
Episode #1: The Wise Uncle of Botswana 🇧🇼
In this very special first episode of the Learn With Avthar podcast, I talk with my good friend and fellow African, Ramarea Tumisang.
Who is Ramarea Tumisang?
Ramarea (aka Tumi to his good friends) was born and raised in the village of Kanye, Botswana. He's a graduate of the international school United World College Costa Rica and holds a bachelor's degree in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University, where he's also completing his Master's in Decision and Risk Analysis.
All this, along with his mentorship and efforts to support rational decision making with high impact organizations, have earned him the title of "The Wise Uncle of Botswana".
You’ll see why that title is no exaggeration once you listen to him speak.
In the episode, we discuss:
Our experience studying at the international school United World College (UWC) in Costa Rica
Our journey's from South Africa and Botswana, to Princeton and Stanford Universities, respectively
How Ramarea settled on Decision and Risk Analysis at Stanford
Avthar's journey to found, run and quit his startup, Afari.
When should International students return to their home countries?
3 Strategies for Success in school and life
Mistakes which brought the greatest lessons
Remembering who believes in you
If you don’t have time to listen to the whole episode, I’ve selected my 3 favorite ~5min highlights for you below:
Ramarea Tumisang shares how being open to feedback, setting smart goals and remembering that he's human, helped him on his journey from a village in Botswana to graduating Stanford University.
I also share how having a growth mindset, internal scorecard and learning how to learn, helped me on my journey from small-town South Africa to graduating Princeton University and succeeding in the technology industry.
When should you quit? Why quit something that you've poured time and money into?
I detail why I decided to leave the startup I founded and give you a framework to help you decide when to quit: Objectives vs Tactics.
"If people who don't know me can believe in me that much... I should be able to believe in myself even more".
Ramarea Tumisang shares how remembering the people who believe in him helped him take risks beyond his personal fears and go from Botswana to graduating Stanford University in the USA.
Want to be a guest on Learn With Avthar?
If you or someone you know would make an awesome guest for the podcast, there’s 3 ways to get in touch:
Reply to this email
Reach out to me on Twitter (@avthars)
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm always looking to meet new people and reconnect with old friends.
🎉 If you enjoy Avthar’s newsletter, please do subscribe and share it with friends, family and coworkers who would enjoy it too:
Let me know which parts spoke to you by replying to this email or hitting the comment button:
Thank you for reading and I wish you a week of success, happiness and peace.
I hope you enjoy learning with me!