Show cover of Shit You Don't Learn in School

Shit You Don't Learn in School

Formal schooling does a terrible job of preparing you to thrive as an adult. The Shit You Don't Learn in School podcast exists to make up for this societal failure. In this show, Calvin Rosser and Steph Smith share stories, insights, and resources designed to help you improve the quality of your personal and professional life. If all works out, you'll be at least 1% better at navigating the waters.

Tracks

76. The Half-Baked Business Idea Roast: Sensory Museums, Zyn Tins, Unrecordable Spaces, and Much More
This is the 10th episode back for SYDLIS, so if you want us to continue creating new episodes for the podcast, let us know by leaving a review at ratethispodcast.com/learn. In this episode, Steph and Cal bring a medley of half-baked business ideas to the table. They introduce the origin story of each idea, rate it on a scale of A-F, discuss modifications that would make it better, and most importantly, roast each other when the idea is a little too half-baked.This episode is a part of the broader nudge Steph and Cal push for everyone to see that there are endless ideas to pursue when you learn to see them in the world.Business ideas covered:Marketplace for premium goodsHot sauce tasting kits Long-duration gifting platformAI-powered collectible evaluatorsThe upgraded ZYN tin!Unrecordable digital spacesMaking friends as an adult workshopBidirectional poll-based newslettersHyper-localized surf guidesImmersive, animal sensory museums
50:45 11/5/23
75. Identity: The Strongest Force in the World
There is something out there that can make one person more productive and kind, while another inharmonious -- even resentful. That thing is identity.And while we passively adopt parts of identity, we often forget that much of our identity is left up to us. In this episode, Cal and Steph explore the depths of identity and how being intentional around what parts of your identity you adopt, shed, or embrace can lead to a more fulfilled life.
37:35 10/15/23
74. Opportunity is Everywhere: Using Twitter, Wikipedia, Patents, & Niche Databases to Discover Trends
The internet has a treasure trove of information that you can use to generate business ideas, spot trends, and understand what the future will look like before everyone else. But to benefit from the internet's wealth of knowledge, you need to learn how to use it in the right ways.In this episode, Cal and Steph discuss four unconventional ways that you can use the internet to find good ideas for businesses and products that people actually want.You’ll learn how to:Use Twitter searches to discover products that people wantTap into a rich reservoir of unsolved problems with WikipediaLeverage a sci-fi technology database to dream up the futureLeverage patents to see what companies are investing inResources MentionedWikipedia’s list of unsolved problemsPatent Drop newsletterNot Boring Sci-Fi Idea Bank and further reading on the databaseTwitter Searches"request for product" min_faves:200"someone please build" min_faves:200"I’d pay for" min_faves:200“why doesn’t this exist” min_faves:100"business idea” min_faves:1000This episode is not affiliated with Steph's work at a16z and is for informational purposes only; should NOT be taken as legal, business, tax, or investment advice or be used to evaluate any investment or security; and is not directed at any investors or potential investors in any a16z fund. For more details please see a16z.com/disclosures.
54:55 10/7/23
73. Writing to Save Your Life
Writing is one of the most powerful tools on Earth. But few have mastered the craft.Perhaps because success in writing often actually veers you off course, leading you to a life of talking instead of living -- the very thing that drove the quality of your writing in the first place.One man  -- (who has written several novels, thousands of poems, and hundreds of short stories) has some merciless takes on the art of writing. And although merciless, many ring true.In this episode, Cal and Steph dive into the mind of Bukowski and the key lessons we can learn about creating art that truly shakes you alive. This episode is not affiliated with Steph's work at a16z and is for informational purposes only; should NOT be taken as legal, business, tax, or investment advice or be used to evaluate any investment or security; and is not directed at any investors or potential investors in any a16z fund. For more details please see a16z.com/disclosures.
62:54 9/30/23
72. Inside the Early Days of Digital Nomadism
Few waves have hit the world quite like remote work; a wave impacting billions of people overnight due to a worldwide pandemic.But in reality, this wave was brewing for decades and thousands of nomads had long been proving there was a different and viable way to work. Calvin and Steph were two of those people, starting in 2016.Now that the world has caught up, they decided to reflect back on what was so special about that period and what, in retrospect, they might've seen then that much of the world had still not (and in some ways still hasn't) understood.Listen in for a look inside the early days of digital nomadism.This episode is not affiliated with Steph's work at a16z and is for informational purposes only; should NOT be taken as legal, business, tax, or investment advice or be used to evaluate any investment or security; and is not directed at any investors or potential investors in any a16z fund. For more details please see a16z.com/disclosures.
57:04 9/24/23
71. The Most Influential Artist You've Never Heard Of
Few people inspire us more than Yayoi Kusama.Cal recently discovered this 94-year old's work while at the Guggenheim in Bilbao. Like many others, he was immediately gripped by her art – enough to be the only artist he looked up after his visit. Little did he know she was one of the world's most successful living artists, had been creating thousands of pieces across nearly a century, and has quite the storied past.In this episode, you'll learn about this incredible artist, from her long-time struggle with mental health (she has been living out of a mental facility for 50 years!) to her alienation from the art community and Japan, and how she ultimately succeeded beyond all of that noise by continuing to create a gobsmacking amount of art. A true hero's journey. It's truly a wonder that we hadn't heard of Yayoi earlier. We hope this episode leaves you just as astounded by her as we are.
40:25 9/18/23
70. What Do You Want?!
Many people waddle through life without asking themselves a simple, but important question: What do I want? In this episode, Steph and Cal discuss how to figure out what you want and avoid some common traps that take you down unhelpful detours.The episode is based on two of Cal's recent articles, which you can read here:What Do You Want?Calvinball: The Only Game Worth PlayingThis episode is not affiliated with Steph's work at a16z and is for informational purposes only; should NOT be taken as legal, business, tax, or investment advice or be used to evaluate any investment or security; and is not directed at any investors or potential investors in any a16z fund. For more details please see a16z.com/disclosures.
33:37 9/9/23
69. Tipping Culture: Have We Gone Too Far?
Some people argue for tipping. Some people argue against. But the one thing that unites most people with an opinion on the topic is a lack of understanding of where the practice came from in the first place.In this episode, Cal and Steph walk through the history of tip culture, how that led to vastly different norms around the world, and the confusing place we're left in today – especially in an era of Square terminals and where tipping seems to be infiltrating the unexpected.Has tip culture gone too far? Listen in to find out.This episode is not affiliated with Steph's work at a16z and is for informational purposes only; should NOT be taken as legal, business, tax, or investment advice or be used to evaluate any investment or security; and is not directed at any investors or potential investors in any a16z fund. For more details please see a16z.com/disclosures.
59:55 9/2/23
68. The Cost of Excellence
The Master Somm test is widely recognized as one of, if not the hardest test in the world. Only 273 people have passed it since it was incepted in 1969, also making it one of the rarest distinctions out there (
59:07 8/26/23
67. The Long Road to San Fransisco
After years of being nomadic, we embarked on an experiment of living in Encinitas. That experiment lasted 3 years, but provided us with a clearer view of what we wanted next.But could we get past the multi-year stand-off around location and find a place that fit both of our needs? Listen in to find out.This episode is not affiliated with Steph's work at a16z and is for informational purposes only; should NOT be taken as legal, business, tax, or investment advice or be used to evaluate any investment or security; and is not directed at any investors or potential investors in any a16z fund. For more details please see a16z.com/disclosures.
59:28 8/19/23
66. The AI Debate: Where Do You Sit?
ChatGPT broke records in adoption, hitting 100m monthly active users in a matter of months... faster than any other web platform prior. Even faster than TikTok!But with fast adoption comes equally swift resistance, surfacing  questions around how this technology is changing the wider world. Should AI models be allowed in schools? How about the courtroom? Do stock image photographers have a fighting chance?In this episode, Cal and Steph step into the shoes of many people tackling these difficult questions right now. From the middle school teacher to the college admissions officer, to the owners of a stock image sites, or even the head of the Bar Association... how would you respond? What questions would you be asking? Listen in to hear Cal and Steph's takes.This episode is not affiliated with Steph's work at a16z and is for informational purposes only; should NOT be taken as legal, business, tax, or investment advice or be used to evaluate any investment or security; and is not directed at any investors or potential investors in any a16z fund. For more details please see a16z.com/disclosures.
61:06 2/16/23
65. Finding a Life Partner
One of the most important decisions in life is who you choose to spend your life with, yet it's also one of the hardest things to get right.Inspired by a recent conversation with a friend that may have unrealistic expectations, Cal and Steph discuss the data behind dating, but also their own very different approaches to it... and if they ever ended up back on the market, how they might do things differently in an era dominated by apps.
44:37 2/10/23
64. The Weight of Things – From Physical to Digital
Have you ever looked around your home and thought, "Where did all this stuff come from?!"Cal and Steph are currently going through this exercise, as they go through their first move in years.It turns out they're not alone in this feeling of overwhelm and is shared by many others who used to be nomads. The need for *things* is universal, but so is the slippery slope to acquiring too many. In this episode, Cal and Steph explore why weight of stuff – both physically and mentally – and how our decisions are often unconsciously driven by phenomena like the Diderot and Endowment effects. They also explore how our digital lives, although seemingly benign, can also turn into weights on your life and what simple frameworks they're using to change behavior.
36:29 1/19/23
63. The Best Sh*t We Learned in 2022!
Each January, Steph and Cal sit down to reflect on the prior year and this one is no different. You'll find out their...Best New IdeaBest New Life HackBest New ExperienceBest/Worst PurchaseBest/Worst TrendBest Personal Win/Accomplishment#1 Goal for Next YearPrediction for the New YearJumpstart 2023 by doubling down on the best activities and avoiding the worst. It's going to be an awesome year.PS: If you liked the sound effects in this episode, we found them here.PPS: Since Steph now works at a16z, please note that the content here is for informational purposes only; should NOT be taken as legal, business, tax, or investment advice or be used to evaluate any investment or security; and is not directed at any investors or potential investors in any a16z fund. For more details please see a16z.com/disclosures.
60:55 1/12/23
62. Opportunity is Everywhere: Lupini Beans, Niche Sports, and More
A few weeks ago, Steph and Cal had a locksmith come in. It cost $185 and was shockingly quick... just 10 minutes! Little did they know it would also be the fodder for one of Steph's most popular tweets of all time.Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising – people love learning about new opportunities. That's why they decided to record this (hopefully) recurring segment where they share various opportunities they've found in everyday things and how they're crafted a curious lens with time.In this episode, they discuss 6 business ideas:niche sports like freedivingsecond-hand LEGO marketsthe AI education opportunitylupini beans: the next healthy snack?the story behind the musicusing the full agave plantLet us know if you liked this episode on Twitter. If there's enough demand, we'll continue to run it monthly.
41:57 11/30/22
61. Is Cheating Ever Okay?
There has been a wave of recent cheating scandals, from chess to poker to fishing. But cheating is not new, nor is it a rare occurrence. In fact, some articles sport stats like "75 to 98% of college students have cheated" or "over 46% of respondents in a monogamous relationship said they had affairs."In this episode, Cal and Steph discuss when – if ever – cheating is okay. They even share their own experiences of being caught in the act and how it's shaped their perspectives since.
44:18 11/25/22
60. Generative AI: The Next Big Thing?
For years, people thought that artificial intelligence would wipe out repetitive tasks, but leave the creatives untouched. But recent developments have left many people surprised and taken the creative world by storm. Tools like DALL-E, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion gave anyone with a keyboard and a wifi connection the ability to spin up images from text prompts, far earlier and higher quality than many imagined. So what comes next for the artists... the writers... the musicians...? No one knows for sure, but in this episode Cal and Steph discuss the exciting new world of generative AI. They discuss what it is (and isn't), the tools they've played with, how culture and trust are shifting, who "wins" in this new world, and what they think might be on the horizon. Check out Steph's new AI-generated avatarCheck out Calvin's new AI-generated avatarLexica prompt databaseNat Eliason's articleMarie Dolle articleProfile Pic AIAvatarAI
66:24 11/15/22
59. Be a Magnet, Not a Jail
It's human nature to worry about the things that can go wrong.But often overlooked is the mentality of attraction instead of detraction, or in other words focusing on what you can bring to the table instead of what you can prevent from happening.While so many companies signal they want entrepreneurial candidates yet don't allow side projects, want out of the box thinkers yet expect them to work in a box (office), and vow they only hire top talent yet pay below market rate... there's power in thinking through whether you're truly focusing on attracting the right people or just trying to prevent wrong behavior.In this episode, Steph and Cal discuss the mentality of being a magnet instead of a jail, originally inspired by this tweet of Steph's.
43:11 11/2/22
58. Money x Relationships
Money is a leading cause of problems in relationships. It’s not just not having money, it’s conflict around money, lack of alignment, and the downstream effects of that.Money is complicated because it’s influenced by your direct circumstances, but also by your childhood, psychology, and trajectory. It's also complicated because so few people talk openly and honestly about money.In this episode, Steph and Cal open up the kimono and explore how they deal with and think about money in their relationship. They share their current working philosophy on money and stories about the things they struggle with and are still working on.
62:55 10/25/22
57. [Part 3] How to Get Married in 10 Days
In part 3 of our 3-part series, Steph and Cal discuss how they planned a wedding in 10 days, what they did (including traditions kept and scrapped), and the pros and cons of taking a less conventional approach to marriage.
63:27 10/18/22
56. [Part 2] Love, Marriage, and Monogamy
In part 2 of this 3-part series, we decided to re-air part of our most popular episode, #35: Does Marriage, Retirement, or the 40-Hour Work Week Still Make Sense?In this segment, we share:How humans are actually not wired for monogamyWhat animals within the animal kingdom are monogamousThe history of marriage and when marriage started to be associated with loveExplore the concept of love and whether the 37% rule could be applied to itUnderstand the key difference between animals and humansThe importance of travel and exposure to different ways of livingHow narratives drive the adoption of technology
35:43 10/13/22
55. [Part 1] The Narratives Behind Love with Amanda Natividad and Marissa Goldberg
In part 1 of our 3-part series, we're joined be Amanda Natividad and Marissa Goldberg – two friends of the podcast – to discuss the traditions that surround love.After getting engaged last year, Steph found herself in a place she didn't expect and with emotions that she didn't feel entitled to have. That led her down a deep rabbit hole of questions, ultimately ending up in a bunch of societal narratives.She discusses them here with Amanda and Marissa, as they share how they navigated the narratives that underpin love, from engagement to name changes to family involvement and more. Without giving too much away, all three women have found their own unique way forward.Resources:The Gottman Institute (for fantastic research-based marriage advice) Harvard grad speech on committing A name change service that Marissa recommendsA before marriage list of questions Post-engagement anxiety article 1Post-engagement anxiety article 2Getting engaged made me feel miserableAmanda's "declaration of interdependence"Marissa's elopement video Thank you Amanda and Marissa for joining us! You can find them at...Amanda's personal siteAmanda's TwitterMarissa's personal siteMarissa's Twitter
58:15 10/8/22
54. Ask Us (Literally) Anything
In this special episode, Cal and Steph answer audience questions across a wide range of topics including writing, relationships, finances, and even death. Listen in to find out.Next StepsEssay about the nuance of privilegeIf you liked this episode, make sure to subscribe and leave a review. To receive the latest updates, follow The Sh*t You Don't Learn in School on Twitter.
64:16 5/15/22
53. The Promises and Pitfalls of the Creator Economy
Steph has some exciting news to share in today's episode! Listen in to find out.In this episode, Cal and Steph also cover the rise of the creator economy -- both its promise and pitfalls.They breakdown why the heightened attention toward creators, whether we can expect a creator "middle class" anytime soon, the importance of IP, and even explore what it truly means to be a "creator"...Is it the things they build?Is it the audience they have?Is it the money the make?They also cover upcoming trends that they expect to hit this growing "creator economy" including the rise of digital influencers, content automation, crypto, and gaming.If you'd like to ask Cal or Steph a question for an upcoming AMA episode, we encourage you to submit your questions here!
57:09 5/5/22
52. Deciding Where to Live with Endless Choice
We all know that where you live is one of the most important decisions you can make, but it may be more important than you think. And with more people working remotely, there is no more freedom than ever in deciding where you call "home."In this episode, Steph and Cal discuss how to think about where you should live, why it matters more than you think, and how you can make a decision when it involves two people who have different desires from a location.In one of our next episodes, we'll be answering listener questions! You can ask your questions here: Next StepsPaul Graham's essay: http://www.paulgraham.com/cities.htmlIf you liked this episode, make sure to subscribe and leave a review. To receive the latest updates, follow The Sh*t You Don't Learn in School on Twitter.
51:14 4/13/22
51. The Life You Could've Lived
Life feels like a bunch of micro-decisions, yet a few macro-decisions often end up determining how you spend most of your time.Perhaps one of the most significant are the degree you choose and the first job you take. The decisions that follow those are inevitably pulled by their inertia.In this episode, Cal and Steph discuss the importance of exploring the diversity of jobs out there and how many people become fixed in a singular path.If you liked this episode, make sure to subscribe and leave a review. 
53:53 3/28/22
50. Making a Difference During Wartime
We believe that the desire to give is universal, but is just as much a skill as anything else in life. In this episode, Cal and Steph discuss the how you can make a difference during your limited time on this earth, with the limited resources you have -- especially during times like these.They dive into...Creative ways that people have supported UkraineStriking a balance between hedonism and altruismMaking difficult problems tractableA breakdown of the gender pay gapImpact starting with small actionsWTF is effective altruism?Whether charities should be structured differentlyIf you'd like to join us in giving back, we're giving to givewell.org. 
67:29 3/19/22
49. The Hidden Power of Language
Language is one of the most powerful tools that humans have accessible to them.Don't believe us? Consider the fact that someone could walk up to you and say something that could immediately change your mental state.Nothing around you has changed, other than the words echoed through the air.In this episode, Cal and Steph discuss the power of words and how language can shape the way we think. They use untranslatable words to convey these concepts and share how language has been shown to impact anything from our impression of time, space, or even emotional regularity.If you're interested in digging into this more, Steph has built a directory of untranslatable words (Eunoia, which itself is an untranslatable word) and has written an article about the topic here. Send us a message with your favorite "untranslatables"!Liked this episode? Make sure to subscribe and leave a review. 
64:37 2/19/22
48. It's Time to Leave the Casino
The allure of getting rich quick is intoxicating.It's even more intoxicating when you're trapped inside and it seems like all your friends have cashed in big.In this episode, Cal and Steph discuss Cal's experience with active investing over the last 20 months and ultimately, why it's time to walk away from the casino.If you liked this episode, make sure to subscribe and leave a review. You can also read Calvin's article on the topic here. And if you're also stuck in the casino, don't be afraid to reach out to Cal or Steph on Twitter. We'd love to hear your story.
55:32 2/11/22
47. What Can Happen in 300 Years?
"The only constant is change", they say.In this episode, Cal and Steph discuss just how drastically the world has changed and will continue to change.From the iPhone... to the Internet... to antibiotics... to human flight... to to the sequencing of DNA... to perhaps the most important fact that humans now live more than double as long... these developments all happened within the last 100 years.Given that things within a single lifetime can go from being inconceivable to ubiquitous, it's mind-blowing to imagine what might be come.They use the remainder of the episode to explore what might be to come, whether it be proactive medicine, computer-brain interfaces, printed food, digital warfare, and much more.If you liked this episode, make sure to subscribe and leave a review. Resources: The Great (TV show)Life expectancy dataNeal's fun tools
60:29 2/6/22