Juan David's Newsletter - July 18, 2021

2-Year-Universities, Legends of Today, Friendship is Unnecessary

Hi everyone,

My midterms went well, and now I’m more than halfway through my classes.

The beauty of summer classes is how much we cut through the bs by focusing on what matters. There isn’t much time for lectures so the only effective to learn is to do a TON of problems.

Every time I hear, “Oh my God, these classes are too fast.” I remember how my roommate learned calculus (all three) in six months in India.

Four year degrees would be shorten to two years, if you’d run normal classes at this pace. Perhaps, not everyone learns their best at this pace but it should at least be an option for some learners.

But of course, less time is equal to less money. This is an example where incentives are misaligned between the students’ and schools’ interests.

Align the incentives, align the world.

Here are the Curiosities I want to share with you this week:


1. The Legends of Today?

Tell me who you look up to, and I’ll tell what’s important to you.

Let me give you an example. I went to this place where they had some posters about the “CHICAGO LEGENDS.”

What do our society deem as important? What do we look up to?


I’d much rather have other Chicago Legends in other fields such as TECHNOLOGY, SCIENCE, and ENTREPRENEURSHIP.

People like James Watson (DNA), Enrico Fermi (Manhattan Project), Ernest Hemingway (writer), Brad Keywell (Groupon), among many others.

How do make more progress? We instill a neophilia around scientists, inventors, and entrepreneurs!

500 years ago, Europe became the epicenter of the world because of this neophilia. Europeans developed a taste for the new and the intellectual. 

Scientists like Newton became celebrities.

2. Find Movies by Writing The Synopsis

Let’s say this:

You don’t know what movie you want to watch but you are feeling you want an action-based romantic comedy where the protagonist enters people's dreams and steal their secrets from their subconscious (sounds like Inception, right?).

But you don’t know any movies with this description. What do you do?

Go to this website that lets you discover movies and tv shows based on any story.

Let me know if you find your favorite movie you didn’t know existed.

3. Becoming Excellent?

What is excellence? How do you become excellent? Can you try to become excellent?

Here are some thoughts:

  • Excellence requires a social environment that provides us with enough comfort, respect and time to develop our talents. Wherever possible, pick jobs, friends and partners who fit what you’re trying to do.

  • Keep an eye on how you distribute your time. Make a distinction between growth and recovery, and make sure you use your free time in a balanced way.

  • The right kind of education is essential. Don’t get discouraged if you’ve had trouble in educational environments that weren’t oriented around your craft.

  • Have the creativity – and the courage – to challenge teachers and authority figures without abandoning your craft. Develop your own sense of what it means to do your craft well.

From How To Be Excellent

To me, excellence is a lifestyle. If you’re excellent, you’ll be excellent everywhere. The same goes if you try to be something else.

Like any lifestyle, excellence requires effort, dedication, and sacrifices. The question isn’t about becoming excellent. It’s about whether excellence is the lifestyle that yields your desired goals.

4. Mathematics SHOULD NOT be about Symbol Manipulation

Mathematics needs a new interface.

Forget about symbol manipulation (like using VIM).

What’s the VS Code* for doing/learning math?

Mathematics gives a way to understand the world that so many people are missing out on. Here’s an example.

We need new interfaces!!!!!

*If you don’t know what VIM and VS Code are, all you need to know is they’re interfaces for writing code. It’s like riding a horse versus driving a fancy sportscar.

5. Friendship is Unnecessary?

C.S. Lewis wrote:

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself…

It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”

Why should you make friends? To be friends with them. Nothing else.


I want to run the Chicago Marathon with a charity but I’d need to raise about $1,000. If I signed up, would you be willing to help me fundraise? Reply to this email to let me know.

I’ll talk to you next week!


Juan David Campolargo