Andy Trattner

June 2, 2024


Based in Singapore Or more accurately, wherever the intersection of my girlfriend & tourist visa requirements are. She's from here and likely staying until ~August 2025. Singapore is amazing, modern, hot. Good food abounds. Local language is English. I can do 90-day stints, possibly with a month in Malaysia between, still figuring that...
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February 13, 2024

WHOOP-sy daisy

I've developed a useful rule to reject all social media, coupons, and wearables. A few weeks ago, I broke my rule. In January, I spent $400 on a 2-year WHOOP subscription after diving into Bryan Johnson. (For the uninitiated, I think of him as an alternative, inward-facing version of Elon Musk—Paypal fortune origins, then some interest...
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February 2, 2024

Learning To Love

I remember talking with an elementary school friend, Quentin, after we saw a Milwaukee Bucks game and admired the cheerleaders. As second-graders, we swore to each other we wouldn't go on dates or have a girlfriend before age 18, because girls were obviously silly and pointless and we weren't trying to get married as was Wi...
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January 18, 2024

Second in Command

The concept of career moats has been on my mind for nearly 4 years thanks to Tiger. I take keen interest in things that inspire the professional lives of people I find impressively accomplished yet unusually humble and thoughtful. Interestingly, other people's religious texts don't always resonate with me directly, in the same way Seth...
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January 11, 2024

Extreme Adopter

In some respects, I'm quite normal... but in many ways, I'm very unusual. I don't currently have health insurance. Nor a fixed address. For someone who studied computer science at MIT, I'm surprisingly non-technical. Few people blog or publish life content (outside of social media) like me. I'm a late adopter for various things "normal...
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December 30, 2023

What's it about?

I'm surrounded by other writers typing away at Ada's Books & Cafe in Seattle. They're a friendly bunch, and the table asks as I sit down what I'm going to be working on this afternoon. "Oh, you have a blog, open to the public... wow... that's so brave!! What's it about?" My superficial answers—just random thoughts, only handful of frie...
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November 3, 2023

Reversible Commitments

Very few things are permanent in this world. I'm not sure if it was the Lindy effect or some other concept I absorbed from the 80,000 Hours Podcast. But basically, the idea is this: given nothing but the amount of time a thing has existed—an institution, a company, a state—in expectation that thing will most likely continue to exist fo...
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November 2, 2023

Hire Slow, Fire Fast

It's a very useful statement. Tiger recommended this philosophy to me over a year ago. Since then, I've hired over a dozen people across my startups and had to let a handful go as well. Yesterday, I onboarded two new hires to my team at Shuffle. One is backfilling an under-performer I had to fire a couple weeks back within 24 hours of ...
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August 25, 2023

Seth just mentioned ME?!

I made a 30-second clip for posterity - Watch it, read the description, and please tell me what happened because I am still pinching myself! For those who did not suffer through the early years, this was my first blog post: Thanks Seth. A few ways I've "worked" with him since are detailed he...
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August 1, 2023

Failure is Part of The Thing

Dear Investors, I've made the difficult decision to shut down Senseg Inc. After speaking with many of you, this seems the best path forward. It has been over 3 months since pivoting away from Ecuador payments, and it's becoming clear that I'm unlikely to succeed as a solo founder. Better to return cash instead of spending it all on my ...
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June 23, 2023

Dear Derek Sivers

Hi Derek, I purchased "How to Live" over a year ago, and just listened to your podcast with Tim while traveling. Here is a screenshot of my player: As you can see, I consume a lot of Seth Godin and Tyler Cowen! I've had the pleasure of speaking with each briefly, over zoom, and they loom large as influences on my life and thinking. I'v...
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May 13, 2023

The Bards of Our Day

What does this title evoke? The title "The Bards of Our Day" evokes the idea of modern-day poets, musicians, and artists who use their creativity to tell stories, share their experiences, and connect with others. In the past, bards were professional story teller, verse-makers, music composers, oral historians and genealogists, employed...
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May 6, 2023

Shutting Down Banconect

We've done a lot since I fundraised last year: • lawyered up and did payment license paperwork, • built an app and bank API infrastructure, • got dozens of customers willing to pay us, • helped pass a new fintech law and demoed to regulators, • spoke with bank executives interested in integrating with us, • spoke with leaders at other ...
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March 3, 2023

These Are The Days

I was walking in circles on my roof this morning. Suddenly felt the urge to listen to that song "these are the days we won't forget." I took a few laps, breathing above Quito. Letting the music wash over me as coffee took hold. Yesterday was the founding anniversary of my startup, Senseg Inc. Avicii's caffeinated lyrics cohered in my s...
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November 17, 2022

The Real Winner in Carlsen vs Giri

Watching Magnus thrash Anish today, a certain well-placed product caught my eye. I thought, "is that an energy drink or some new kind of cold brew?" There's no way these chess players are having alcohol...that only happens in blitz... Turns out Liquid Death is a hilarious, mission-driven water brand. I felt compelled to share it with s...
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October 14, 2022

Back on LinkedIn

Here's my new profile - Please reconnect with me. Write a couple sentences of recommendation if you can! I'm recruiting engineers. LinkedIn turns out to be an essential tool, especially in Ecuador where the tech network isn't as dense and I'm not fully plugged-in yet. I super appreciate your h...
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September 29, 2022

I Suck.

I can't remember the last time I really beat myself up. It feels like I've received overwhelmingly positive feedback throughout life, so at this point I'm deeply confident and optimistic by nature. If I had to guess the last time I really let myself have it, this was probably in high school and likely chess-related. Losing a game of ch...
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June 18, 2022

A Remote Team Bonding Activity

The Playbook: 1. Grab a drink, hop on Zoom. 2. Watch this together (or this). 3. Doodle and chat for an hour like we did today! 4. Export videos to share. Notes: • Depending on team size and time constraints, can leave watching videos for folks' own time. • Optional: implement quadratic voting to determine top 3. I would make a spreads...
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May 16, 2022

Adblock Plus

For the past year, I've been removing Google from my life. It started with Hey instead of Gmail, which was a huge upgrade. Then on all my devices, I switched from Chrome to Brave, set DuckDuckGo as the default search (although I would strongly consider Ecosia too), used 1Password instead of the built-in manager, swapped Calendar for Ta...
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April 16, 2022

It's Dangerous Playing Hardball

Notes on the Blog I hugely appreciate everyone who replied to the post on fundraising learnings! It's my first in a long time (ever?) to spur an "I really found this content valuable and worth sharing" reaction. I'm so happy to have written something useful and interesting. Given that my current identity centers on work, and I'm now ob...
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April 15, 2022

What I Learned from Friends & Family Fundraising

Last week, I exceeded my goal of raising $200k for Senseg. It was quite the leap to go from tinkering in the metaphorical basement to having other people deposit their life savings into my company's very real bank account. At the beginning of March, I didn't have a company, let alone said bank account. Fundraising helped me grow, commi...
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March 16, 2022

A Tale of Two Business Cultures

The United States has a highly developed culture of business. Folks think transactionally, and the system is geared towards economic growth. There are reasonably many regulations and relatively good enforcement. And yet...why did I know that Delaware was the best place to incorporate before I understood what it really meant to make som...
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March 3, 2022

Lex is OK

It's a beautiful rainy Wednesday here in Vilcabamba. I just finished listening to Lex Fridman interview Thomas Tull. "Thomas Tull is founder of Legendary Entertainment, Tulco, part-owner of Pittsburgh Steelers, and guitarist for the band Ghost Hounds." (FYI Legendary is behind the Batman Dark Knight Trilogy, Jurassic World, many more.)...
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February 26, 2022

The Road Previously Travelled

Ankur Moitra told me that innovative mathematicians will spend many of their formative years laboring to reproduce known results. Junot Diaz told me that it would be more productive for my writing career to endure a shitty, tough job for four years rather than to obtain a degree in writing. Both of these experts understood how grapplin...
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February 14, 2022

What I Learned From Marketing My Work

A few days ago, I blogged about making my chess books free. What started as an innocent post quickly became an epic journey to the top 10 of Hacker News. This whole process was very surprising to me, both in the moment and even still now. I began by drafting an email saying "hello folks, the books are free pdfs now." Then I thought, wh...
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February 11, 2022

Teaching and Enjoying Chess

I decided to make my chess books free! Please upvote this HN post because it will help others find these resources. They are very short, concise reads. Great for parents, newbies, and dabblers. No chess background required. Sharing on your socials or directly with folks you know is extra credit, and much appreciated! (tweet) Thanks to ...
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January 31, 2022

Come Visit Ecuador!

Hey world. Be like Wendy. Visit Andy. Take a peek, here's what it looks like -
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January 22, 2022

An Evergreen Home Activities List

1. Sleeping 2. Meditation 3. Yoga 4. Exercise 5. Slow walk, stargazing 6. Mindful minimal eating 7. Journaling, musing 8. Writing, blogging 9. Creative hobby (painting, music, pottery, long G45+ chess game, flow) 10. Reading a book 11. Cooking, gardening, cleaning, rewarding mindful choring 12. Making a gift, writing a letter, deep con...
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January 21, 2022

El Gordo Sano Is Dead

I joined Sukkha Wasi to help organize and grow the business. After a successful first month, average revenue went from $200 to $500 per week. We achieved profitability, but we also discovered limits inherent to our team and the local market. What would be the best path to $1000? Perhaps we could set up shop in a more central location, ...
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January 11, 2022

Too Much (Birthday) Chocolate

I don't celebrate or broadcast my birthday. I've participated in midnight parties, but never my own. From a solar-powered Kuti Kai cabin, dark amidst the mountaintop crickets of Vilcabamba, sleeplessly emailing this to the world is the closest I've come. Like so many good things in life, I'm doing this accidentally. The blog has been o...
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