Juan David Campolargo

Specialize But Only in Your Curiosity

My weekends are always like a Piccadilly Circus. For the last few days, I was building a light-detecting lamp and moving back to college. But this morning, I’m all settled in my college dorm and ready to talk to you.

Today, especially today as I get back to college, I want to talk about something very much that defines who I am. It’s a trait. And maybe it’s not a good one.

If you read this newsletter with some frequency, you will notice quickly how literally every week I’m excited about something new. Just this summer, I was super excited about flying things, philosophy, “economics”, drones, a free food twitter bot, and of course this week I’ve been building a platform to raise the ambition of young Venezuelans.

You don’t have to tell me per se but anyone curious enough would ask themselves two things: 1) This guy is super curious, or 2) This guy is super distracted.

I’d like to think it’s number #1 but what if #2 is true? We know of many people who went from project to project and never really finish anything. For example, last week we talked about da Vinci.

Heck, just this weekend I was talking to an older programmer who works at a bank and teaches at a fancy university in Chicago. He asks me, “What have you thinking about?”

“Oh boy, wrong question” was exactly what I told myself.

I start spitting out all the things I’ve been curious about just that day from complex mathematics and natural language processing to the three-body problem and the Venezuelan ambition platform.

But for some reason, I was very excited and my brain was running at supersonic speeds. So fast that if I would have been in an early education American school, I would’ve been diagnosed with ADHD or even medicated.

Naturally, this person being a more conservative, doing what everyone thought was right (CS, works at a bank, etc) and driving a 2006 Camry (this was cool though).

He goes and tells me, “Oh that’s all great but you know, make sure to specialize in something.”

And all the other crap everyone tells you: Know a lot about one area, make sure you are hireable, be a soulless mf, and don’t do anything too crazy.

Thankfully I didn’t tell him about the other projects, he would have seriously told me to go see a doctor.

But I don’t disagree with him though. If I was more “sane” (and we’ll come back to this idea). Yes, I would 100% be doing this. Otherwise, what would I do? The “sane” people think the purpose of college is to get a job. The purpose of a job is to have a life with a house, car, vacations, and even a family (if you aren’t too out there).

But you see the purpose always seems to be something else, never the thing itself. It’s the moving goalpost, it’s exactly the idea of the limit in Calculus.

What if that’s not what you want for your life nor how you want to live it?

What if, only WHAT IF, they were the ones who were crazy? Remember, in a world of crazy people, the normal ones are considered "crazy."

I want to be careful with this point. I don’t want to create a “us” vs “them” dynamic.

We’re all the same people. The difference is in our level of NPCism. To an extent, we are all NPCs and some of us are less (or more who knows?). The point is something changes in the brain of some people like me who cannot help themselves but see the crowded fear of thinking for yourself and doing what your gut wants to do.

In the meantime, I will continue to fearlessly and furiously learn about all things and do all things.

And fine, I will specialize…but only in my curiosity.



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