As a founder, how do you increase your chances for financial success? After all, a lot of self-development content out there is a bunch of bullshit… rah rah garbage getting hyped up by a charismatic speaker. In fact, modern paradigms in law, politics, medicine, science, economic and psychology are so flawed that I’ve learned to be agnostic about everything.
Since Plato, most people have viewed our “humanness” as logical thinking that must suppress our “animalistic” emotions. Scientists from the 1950s explained that our logical thinking occurs in the neocortex, our emotional reactions occurs in our limbic system (which includes the amygdala), and our subconscious habits occurs in our “reptilian” brainstem. These are dangerous ideas because they are completely false.
Thinking, subconscious habits and emotions actually are pretty similar. They are all simply our brain’s prediction machine. External sensory data including our visual cortex getting processed in the occipital lobe, our olfactory (smell) cortex, our motor cortex, our auditory cortex, and our somatosensory cortex (taste and touch) combine to form an auto-correction machine. We don’t learn, experience or simulate the world from our external sensory inputs. The brain’s prediction machine is like a scientist who makes billions of hypthosis; our external sensory input is like the research data that tests the hypothesis.
When the sensory cortexes fire together in different regions, they wire together. This is called neuroplasticity and it is mostly predetermined by our epigenics. Our epigenetics is the combination of our genetic predispositions plus the culture, concepts, values, self-identity and beliefs of our parents. Humans are the only species capable of goal-derived concept learning. Language adds even more richness to our concepts.
Modern neuroscience provides us with the scientific research that emotions are constructed. Animals don’t have emotions; they have survival circuits based on body budget management. In humans and only in humans, goal-derived concepts always proceed emotional experiences.
As an example, let’s take a red apple. So you grab an apple out of the basket and take a juicy bite. Clearly, the 🍎 is real, right? The truth is that your brain tricks you. In milliseconds, a human adult has the concept of an “apple” and of “red.” Based on our past neuro associations, our brain makes predictions about what our experience with the red apple will be. If your past neuro associations is that red apples always have worms, your brain will predict a “worm taste” 🐛 when you bite.
Ladies and gentlemen… we live in the Matrix. The red apple is simply a virtual reality simulation created by our brain. All emotions are constructed based on predictions upon past neuroassociations and auto-corrected by external sensory data.
Humans have a natural tendency towards hallucinations. The schizophrenic person hearing voices has an unbalanced body budget featuring underperforming external sensory data auto-corrections. The hallucinations are the brain’s prediction machine at work but the system fails without external sensory autocorrections. Other mental illnesses like anxiety and depression works exactly the same derived from unbalanced body budgets. On the other end of the unbalanced body budget spectrum, mental illnesses such as autism work exactly the opposite. In autism, the brain’s prediction machine fails and so a non-functioning autistic child only experiences external sensory data without prediction concepts.
Emotions, logical thinking and subconscious habits are all the brain’s prediction machines. When someone cuts you off on the freeway, your amygdala is not reacting with road rage. Your brain comes loaded with a pre-mapped instruction manual (it’s concept) of how your body should respond if your “boundaries” get crossed. The amygdala did not create this emotional reaction. The brain’s prediction machine created the emotion based on your concept and the amygdala executed it’s signals to the rest of the body.
What does all this jargon-laden neuroscience have to do with succeeding as a tech start-up? Well, I believe it has everything to do with your success. Successful startups come from successful cultures. Culture predetermines how we build our prediction machine concepts. It is not a coincidence that 85% of the US-based “unicorns” (aka the $1 billion companies) come from the San Francisco/Silicon Valley Area. Who we hang around and surround ourself with matters.
Our epigenetics matter. If you’re like me and grew up in a poor and emotional abusive environment, you’ll likely struggle and fail a lot more than a “tech bro” from Atherton who was walked into Stanford. In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that Bay Area tech startups don’t have more talent than non-Bay Area companies. They simply have better connections to the right mentors and access to way more capital.
For those that don’t have the access to the “tech bro” epigenetics, I’ve devoted my life to researching and developing resources to help you rewire your neuro associations. Unless you learn how to rewire your wealth self-identity (spindle neurons), emotion constructions, thinking, beliefs, values, subconscious habits and all other neuro associations, you will likely fail as a tech founder.
Venture capitalist are in the business of making predictions about your success. If they make wrong predictions, they lose other people’s money.