Today, we're discussing one concept today: compounding.

Compound interest, compounding growth, this power of exponential growth behind something that can start so seemingly small and so incremental can become exponentially powerful.

This is very counterintuitive towards our every day physics because when you look at a ball flying or animal running, these things are moving linearly and very few things in nature actually move exponentially. Essentially nuclear fission and fusion are a couple things that move exponentially, and they're the most powerful technologies in human hands. That's why mastering compounding is so counter-intuitively powerful.

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So I want to spend this Free Fatty Friday talking about compounding and how it relates to our health, how it relates to how we choose to spend time with certain types of people and ultimately how the power of ideas can compound. So hopefully this will be a valuable thought inspiring monologue here. As we explore the concept of compounding, let's define compounding mathematically in simple mathematics, think about something that is compounding exponentially. So it's something that is regularly and stably going to some power. And that power increases over time. If we take an example of 1% improvement, whether that's you're getting 1% smarter every single day, and you do that for 365 days for a full year, or you take kind of gross example and take money, you have a thousand dollars and you have an interest that pays 1% interest every single day. Well, 1.01 to the 365th power is almost 40.

So meaning that if you have $1,000 in the bank account and you get 1% interest a day, and that compounds at the end of one year, you have almost $40,000 because 1.01 to three 65 is almost 40. So in that sense, if you can get 1% smarter every single day, you will literally become 38 39, 37, 38 times smarter, close to 40 times smarter. Exponential compounding is very unnatural, but you can see that simply from just something that's so incremental, just a 1% improvement component over time turns into something that is completely massive and counter intuitive. So another way to think about this, that's maybe less abstract and more physical thinking about a flywheel. These are the little spin wheels that people play around with where you blow, and then you get more and more momentum as this wheel spins. And that's another way to visualize this concept of compounding.

As you get momentum to move something, it's kind of like activation energy. Once you get things moving and you put more and more energy into that system, it becomes easier and easier and easier. So that might be more helpful for more visual learners or more physical, less abstract learners to think about mathematics, the abstract numerical outcomes of compounding interest and exponentials vs. more of a physical system, or this notion of activation energy to get something moving. And once it's moving becomes really, really, really easy to move things really, really fast.

Now, why is the idea of compounding so interesting? Well, I think a simple way to think about it is that the most interesting paradigm shifting innovations or ideas really have compounding effects on our own life and our own realities. So if we can understand how to unlock the compounding nature of ourselves as individuals, our teams, our communities, our nation states, that will likely, I think be one of the most powerful levers to improve ourselves and improve our circumstances.

So really understanding this counterintuitive exponential function, where that's for business, whether that's for health, whether that's for culture, I think really understanding, and then mastering and potentially leveraging this concept in our everyday practice. Because again, if we can do something consistently, that's a little bit of improvement over a long period of time. Again, it goes out back to the compound in nature, if it's 1% improvement and you do that consistently day after day after day after day after day and 1 year, you're literally 37, 3x bigger than you were day one. So again, that's very counterintuitive, but once you look at the math, look at the power, you're like, wow! Unlocking, and having that power behind your sails turns you into a completely different beast very, very quickly. So I'm going to break down this idea of compounding in 3 different buckets and explore this with you.

So, one very valuable approach in terms of where I apply compounding is to health. And specifically in health is the amount of productive time we have in our limited human lifespan. We're all, if we're lucky, get 70, 80, 90, hopefully even longer years of consciousness on this planet. And clearly some people seem to do much more with that time than others. And what is that difference? Well, I think clearly people are allocating our time more valuably, and we'll all talk about what I've seen patterns in terms of what those patterns are in terms of associating with the right types of people, as well as contemplating the right types of ideas. But one just even more fundamental aspect is if you have more time to compound, like you have more life, again, it's like 1.01 to the three 65 versus 1.01 to 1000. I mean, 1.01 to 1000 power is what let's just do the math real quick. That's almost 21,000 X. So 1.01 to 365 is 37 38 X. And then just 3 years of compounding is literally almost 21,000 X. Again, very counterintuitive for the length is only 3 X, but the number is almost a hundred X in terms of multiple on the starting position. So in that lens, if you, and I have more time, more productive time, then we can get a lot more done. We can expand, grow, learn so much more. So that's where I've really focused. A lot of my time and energy, trying to master an understand and metabolism and physiology in longevity, because if I can expand the time that I'm smart, productive, efficient, and really pushing and thriving and not just being alive, that compounding nature of my productive efforts can go that much further.

So that's why I think it's ultimately very important to invest into metabolic health, healthy diet, healthy exercise, healthy sleep patterns, because if you can increment just 10% increase lifespan, you can get 10 X more compounding time to expand out your knowledge, to expand out your resources, to expand out your ability to influence the world around us. So we have to start with ourselves. If I only have 30 years to live one more day to live, there's just not that much I can do. Even if you're the richest or most powerful person in the world, and you have 5 days to live, this is your ability to impact reality around us is limited. There's just that much you can do in a hundred hours. So no, regardless of physical power or money, if you don't have time to implement change, well, then you die and you go in the grave and you're no longer influential in the mortal realm.

So again, that's why focusing on investing in health and it is so important. And then you might argue, well, is that extra workout or is it eating ketogenic, or is stabilizing my blood glucose that valuable? Well, maybe on a single day, it doesn't matter, right? Like I can eat a candy bar today and we're all resilient Human body's not designed to be so such a snowflake. Like we'll be able to metabolize that, that cookie or that candy bar quite nicely. But again, we go back to compounding, if you consistently spike your blood sugar day after day after day, over an entire year, over a decade, and you have this compounding damage that may be exponential, then you actually detract overall performance, overall health spent that long period of time. So to me it's less so about, but individual action. It's about the pattern over a long period of time that I care about.

So that's the motivation, the inspiration for myself. When I have an easy option to go drink that extra alcoholic beverage at a friend's party, or to skip a workout because I'm feeling lazy or eat that delicious cake. I will indulge on circumstance and I will not hate myself for it. But I think about the long-term compounding effects of this behavior over days, weeks, months, years, decades, I'm playing for the long game, not for the immediate short-term animal dopamine, serotonin hit. I'm greedy long-term. So when I think about that, short-term indulgence, I think about the long-term goals of trying to learn and enjoy as much of our limited time on earth as possible. And given the compounding nature of life, I want to have longer amounts of time to compel on those experiences and those assets and that knowledge over that time. So hopefully that gives you a sense of why focusing on health, nutrition, exercise, healthy behaviors is valuable, not just because they want to lecture you on, Oh, do the right thing. It's framing it within a context of compounding power of these healthy behaviors and how it stacks, and because exponentially valuable over that long period.

Now let's move on to lens two or topic two in which we can analyze compounding and that's people. And one thing that I've realized in my career, in my very, very short blip of a lifespan on this planet is that some relationships and some people really push you and cause that exponential growth where other people basically stabilize you or keep you at the same level of performance. And maybe another way to express the same thing is that if you look at performance of people, if we stack rank people, we see a power law distribution of outcomes. You have people that are top of the field, Whether you're LeBron James, a Kanye West, or Elon Musk, or Jeff Bezos, their ability to, as a single person with a compounding infrastructure beneath them, their impact is literally exponentially more than someone like me who has much less of an infrastructure, right? Like these people are literally speaking and influencing millions of people and billions of dollars of assets and infrastructure and associating and being elevated with people that can push you to that level is massive because we have limited time. And if you choose to spend time with someone that can have exponential or compounding improvements on your dreams, your goals, your skillsets versus someone that is the 10th best, or the 100th best or a thousand best or someone that's not even on the list. Well, again, because the compounding power loss nature of the learning outcomes, it's a very big difference of who and where to spend your time with it really matters. And one thing that I've observed is that, and I liked this Benjamin, I believe it's a Benjamin Franklin quote. It's if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. Because again, it's going back to the compounding fact that the people who get things done end up having more and more projects to even work on and they have more and more work to do. And the ones that really shine and really master this productivity are people that figured out processes and systems to be able to handle that much bandwidth. And you almost want to focus on the busiest person, you know, and try to learn, copy, figured out like what they're doing, right? Because the busier they are, it's like that flywheel, like they've clearly figured out something, some magic combination that infrastructure mindset, a team, the people around them where they can get a lot done. So now it might be counterintuitive, but when you think about people that you want to do business with, or explore ideas with, it's sometimes the obvious, the first answer be, Hey, find someone who has time because they have time to work with you. But I think what I've realized is that no, no, no, no. If they have free time, they're probably not on that escape velocity of compounding experience, compounding network, compounding value, find a busiest person, you know, and ask them in, try to get them to work with you. And I think that's been one of the most beautiful realizations I've learned in my personal life over my career, which is that as I find and work and learn from people that are very, very busy, I can really accelerate my own personal maturation and clarity of thought because these people have clearly learned at an exponentially deeper, more meaningful, more visceral pace than people that do have time.

So I think when you have time by people and where again, we have limited by time and the people that we surround ourselves, like get that much more valuable because those are the influences that justify      and influence what we think is valuable. What we think are worthy causes to spend time on. And you might say, Jeff, well, I don't know these people. I can't have access to Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk or Kanye West, or Pablo Picasso, or Alexander the great or Gangas Kahn. And that's true. I don't have access to them either. But the great thing about language, about technology, about information sharing is that, and I think the great thing about podcasts is that I feel like I can't actually understand these people by reading biographies, by listening to their podcasts, where you can get a sense of their personality, their process, their genius, by trying to learn from them through a biography, from their writing, from their podcast.

So another way to think about it is that if you can't have an in-person conversation with someone that's, high-performing, why not do the next big, best thing, which is have a simulated conversation essentially by learning through their biography and their podcasts. And I felt like that's been actually a very good shortcut for me. And that's why I'm a huge fan of podcasts, long form conversations and reading history and reading biography is because while I cannot contemplate and discuss and debate who Marcus really is I can read his meditations, his journals, and understand his mindset as he's going through a very stressful time as a Roman empire is being invaded by barbarians and what he needs to do to develop a stoic philosophy, to be productive, to have courage, to move forward in a stressful and dangerous time. So in that sense, you do not need to limit the people that you spend time with people that you spend time in reality.

I mean, we're in COVID time I barely, I don't really even see people in person. I have zoom calls. So why not have a podcast or a reading where it's basically a zoom call in the sense that you can at least understand through written language or oral language, that person, that mindset. I think that's where the best podcasts are long form and discursive, because you can really understand the personality, the thinking, the frameworks behind what drives that person. So to me, I don't think of my people network. That's limited by the people I grew up in my neighborhood or the people that I went to college with, or the coworkers I have I think about. I don't even think about it limited by space and time. I want my peers to be Gangas Kahn, Caesar Alexander. I want my peers to be the very most interesting humans across the history of mankind of humankind. That is something that we should think about and focus ourselves. Let's not limit the people that we're inspired by just by who we randomly are born into in terms of our neighborhood, our inspiration, our networks should be across the space time continuum. Why not pretend to have a conversation of what you, you know, through Steve jobs and through his interviews, his works, why not understand his mind to all of the historical record? Why understand Attila Dahun or the first emperor of China or these interesting characters that have money through much harder times than you are I who have access to internet, have modernity have running food and water. I think when you have the historical context, it's, it makes this challenges of modernity almost trivial. And once you have that lens, it feels like the problems that we have, you and I today are very, very tractable.

And this goes into a nice third segue, which is the compounding value of ideas. And there's another great quote on the, there might be another, be another Benjamin Franklin quote, but like, it's something to the effect of small mine's gospel people, great minds. Talk about, you know, something medium mind and talk about some medium level and then great minds talk about ideas. I totally butchered that quote, but the point here is that I've focused my time and energy focusing on ideas. I think so much of our energy is focused on gossip. It's Trump, this button that Kim Kardashian, that celebrity that, and those are just like national kind of shared characters that we're all talking about, but like, even if their own lines, Oh, this person is dating that person, girlfriend, boyfriend straight gay, black, white, there's so much like just trivial discussion on arbitrary people activities, but these are such narrow non compounding ideas.

I think the most interesting things that make my life beautiful is thinking about the concepts that can compound. And then beyond that, thinking about a cluster, an ensemble, an entourage of ideas that unlock things that are not covered in a single discipline alone. So another way to put that is I think, where I found the most beauty, the most interesting this is being multi-disciplinary across a number of fields. And in some way, I've, again, you cannot connect the dots moving forward, but looking backwards, being classically trained, computer scientist at Stanford, and then going into the human performance metabolism physiology world, I feel like I have a very unique lens as I try to solve problems within health, metabolism, physiology, longevity. Anti-aging I feel like I, it just phenomenally interesting to think about how the algorithms, how machine learning, how AI, how systems principles can be applied to physiology metabolism, and then what I'm talking to MDs, classically trained and just biology.

There's real knowledge sharing because I can translate and understand their domain and also bridge it to cross the functional domains. And, and, and from there you have this exponential compounding factor of unlocking newer, more interesting ideas. And I think that's been the magic sauce behind this podcast in terms of the awesome conversations that we've had, but also the business, the culture, the focus, the research, and my personal research areas, just at the intersection of engineering and physiology engineering and metabolism. And because I don't even care about physical bounds, it's just been fun to just explore the territory between therapeutics on the medicine side to enhancement in terms of making better humans. And that could be a more enhanced metabolic organic humans, or it could be uploading consciousness to the cloud. I don't see these boundaries because to me, as I've collected former books and ideas across disciplines, across academic fields, I feel like I just am following the footsteps of Plato, Socrates of aerosol, just being a natural philosopher, just trying to be curious, learn from the experts across all fields and just find truth.

So as we go through compounding effects of health ,compounding effects of finding the right people and ultimately finding the compounding nature of the right ideas altogether, I think that ultimately has informed a lot of my life philosophy, which is that I simply want to learn as much about this universe as possible before I die. I have a very simple mission. I just want to understand everything. And once I understand everything, um, I'm happy to die. And that I think is a very elegant thesis statement that channels across why it's important to have improved health, because then I have more time to reach that asymptote of understanding everything. Now I'm not delusional. I'm not egomaniac. I don't expect to learn everything, but I think it's a great limit to have, Hey, like that should be a, like, we're never going to reach perfection, but I think it's a great to have a goal that is inspiring.

So to me, I just want to have a high goal of just understanding everything I know I'm not going to reach there, but it's something that will motivate me to focus on my health, to focus on increasing the lifespan, the health span, the amount of productive time I can do researching learning and innovating and creating and debating and exploring. And that also is motivating in terms of compounding with people and another subtle effect around compounding is that what I've realized is that great people know other great people. And that's been one of the awesome side effects of being a part of H.V.M.N., running a podcast is that I have met so many awesome people that are really the top of their field. And as I speak to them, I can't pick patterns from each of these individuals who are the top of their field and connect it and bridge that to other people that are masters in a completely different field. From cycling to speed, skating, to special operations, to the, to academics, to entrepreneurship, to philosophy, to computer science, it's simultaneously inspiring to see how rich the human experience is, but also how similar the drive them and the curiosity is across those disciplines. So it is at one point humbling and another point just on inspiring to see that everyone like they're the best in their field, just feel very much the same. Everyone is just seeking truth and by associating and finding people that match that desire. And again, it doesn't have to actually be in physical space time synchronicity. You can find those peers through podcast, right? Like not to put myself in that category, but when I'm talking to you right now, we're not synchronized in the space and time. But I think through this monologue, you have a sense of my personality, my thinking, my framework, and you can borrow steal, evolve, incorporate these ideas into your own life. And we can have this conversation. And I think with social media, with internet technology, we can have these asynchronous conversations.

So don't limit your, your community with just the people that are born in your neighborhood. And, or just in your time era. Commune have friends have peers across time span. Why not try to incorporate the best of Nikola Tesla with, I don't know, Aristotle and, and, and, and Galileo and Copernicus, and try to collate your peer of people that is your tribe. And it doesn't have to be a physical space time synchronous tribe. It can be across a historical record. And ultimately what that leads to is just a focus on the most inspiring ideas. And again, I think small people talk and gossip about other people. Great people think thought about ideas and that's ultimately is something that I love to just spend the rest of my life thinking about, which is exploring concepts, bridging concepts, and just pushing the limits of understanding of reality of our universe.

And this is hopefully something that I like evolving Free Fatty Fridays too, because, maybe admittedly, I think a lot of the questions that I've been getting are very, almost pedestrian. And that's not to say you can't ask those questions to me, but I love popping out of just ketosis or fasting because yes, I've essentially answered a thousand variations of different fasting nutrition protocols. And of course there's nuances and details there. But I love talking about the frameworks that, that make me a lot, allows me to make judgments or prescriptions or commentary on what I think is a proper or an appropriate consideration of how to incorporate something new into your life. So if we can do that for everything and it, to me, it's like, if you understand how to derive all of electromagnetism or relativity or quantum mechanics, you don't need to memorize the small formulas because you can derive them as they come up. So to me, it's like if we have this tree of knowledge and there's so many little factoids that are leaves, if we can start understanding the branches, and then the, eventually the core trunk, everything can be derived if you have the core ideas, right. And that is what we should be searching for. We should be searching for an improved health span so we can have energy, have the lifespan to then focus on the right people to help us find the right core trunk of knowledge.

So this is Free Fatty Friday #8, I hope this sparked some thought, and I'd love to have this conversation across space time, right? We can have an asynchronous conversation about compounding, about how this notion of company affects, health span, how this notion of company affects, people selection, how this notion of compounding affects, idea selection. I hope this was a fun discussion around this topic. Hopefully it's sparked some ideas in you, and I'd love to hear what those ideas might be.

Again, if you appreciate this conversation, this thought the best way to support is to do all the algorithmically good stuff, meaning five stars, thumbs up, subscribe, comment, and share. I know me and my team read all the comments and we really, really appreciate it.

So I'm going to wrap it up here. This is Geoff Woo. Hope you do something that makes you stronger, more resilient. Do every single day that's how you compound, one little tagline that I love to get your feedback on is do something every day that makes you harder to kill. It's a little bit maybe barbaric, but I think it's tongue and cheek. I think it matches like the energy and the vibe. Well, which is Hey compound and do something that makes you stronger.

So every day do something that makes you harder to kill.

Geoff Woo out!