The first time I saw today’s podcast guest was at a conference for startups, in 2009. I remember Vladimir was very composed and knowledgeable, while I had just graduated and had no idea what I was doing.
Vladimir was already building his company, uberVU, which later got acquired by Hootsuite in one of the earliest – and biggest – success stories in the local and regional ecosystem.
“I co-founded the company, led the development of uberVU’s first products, raised financing rounds, recruited top talent, brought strategic partnerships to the table etc.
I also recorded video presentations, brought coffee for the engineers or cleaned the office. I was a founder, which meant I had to do anything needed to make the company a success.”
uberVU’s development and acquisition paved the way for many startups, prompting many founders to learn from Vladimir. So through the last decade, I saw him at various meetups, events, and conferences, generously sharing his insights.
Vladimir always struck me as a very outspoken, no-BS person, who has a deep understanding of the topics he talks about. His clarity of expression reflected clarity of thought and that stands true to this day, as you’ll learn yourself if you listen to the episode we recorded together.
What Vladimir doesn’t know is that I was hugely intimidated by his knowledge and experience, so asking him to be a guest on the podcast took much longer than usual. What came out of our conversation is a range of ideas and questions that can help anyone upgrade their thinking and their actions – not by imitation but by strengthening their own critical thinking.
Vladimir is a modest, deep thinker whose ability to remain rooted in reality is the result of hard work, taking information consumption very seriously, and optimizing for who he is as opposed to following prescriptive “success” models.
If the phrase “it’s very hard to do a Kanye West on a book” piques your interest, I promise there’s a bit of fun in this episode too, along with valuable lenses you can try out to improve your outlook on life, meaning, decisions, and your creative pursuits.
Listen to this episode to learn:
- The fundamental role plays accepting reality in for your life and decisions
- How the scripts inside our heads lead us to stressing out, pointing fingers, and other counterproductive reactions and behavior
- How being aware of your own tendencies (to overthink or procrastinate, for example) makes it easier to find people who complement you and help you avoid going to extremes
- What Vladimir uses instead of mental models to cultivate a rational perspective on life and make judicious decisions
- Why reading with a detective’s mindset can make a big difference on what you do with the information you take in
- Why writing is instrumental to any creative outcome, no matter the industry, because writing is a tool for thinking and because it’s immensely valuable for non-prescriptive jobs
- How to activate the knowledge, ideas, notes, and information you gather in time.
A few ideas that stuck with me:
- “We’re not trained to make as many decisions on a daily basis as we would like” – We wrestle with a wider range of questions than our grandparents did and they can become debilitating because we haven’t mastered the ability to make so many choices without getting depleted.
- Truly accepting reality is key for levelling up – People who manage to stay calm in times of crises base their decisions in their deep and truthful acceptance of things as they are, instead of wasting energy on things as they should be.
- The quality of the reasons for starting something (a company, a project, a job) are decisive for its survival through the crisis we’re experiencing.
- “Intuition is our AI” – We can build better instincts if we’re more aware and become more introspective of our past decisions.
Connect with Vladimir:
Resources mentioned in the episode:
- Ayn Rand, writer and philosopher, known for developing a philosophical system she named Objectivism
- Stoicism 101: A Practical Guide for Entrepreneurs
Alternatively, play the episode in your favorite apps:
Full episode transcript: