WHY UP?

Do you want to massively impact the world? Do you know how to become a Francis Bacon, Marie Curie or John von Neumann? We don’t, but we’ve spent 20+ years investigating the question and have a few ideas…

WHAT'S UP?

The Upgrade Program (UP) is an experimental program that uses emerging technology, behavioral science, and applied rationality to help you set, plan, and achieve your life goals. It has roughly ten steps.

1. Do Epistemic Housekeeping

You don’t know what you don’t know. And much of what you “know” is wrong. We start by rethinking your life from first principles. 

2. Model Your Priorities

Out of trillions of possible actions, what should you do right now? To answer that, we need to build a quantitative model of your values.

3. Set Life Goals

Working from your values, we determine your life goals and decide how much of your time, attention, and money you’ll allocate to each.

4. Assess Yourself

What is your baseline success rate on your goals so far? Are you progressing, maintaining or regressing? We take hard data to find out. 

5. Build a Personal Team

Self-development is the wrong framing if you want maximal success in life. Instead we focus on your team’s development. 

6. Plan Each Goal

Actually achieving your life goals is hard. To make it easier, we create realistic, tailored, evidence-based plans for each goal. 

7. Execute Plans With Team

We work with your personal team to do the thousands of discrete tasks necessary to realize your goals. The real magic is (strategic) hard work.

8. Analyze Results

Even with your team’s best efforts, many of your plans will fail. But we’ll mercilessly analyze the data and learn how to do better the next time. 

9. Iterate on Plans

We’ll repeat the plan-experiment-learn process until we get it right. Trial and error is inevitable, but as with startups the goal is to move quickly. 

10. Restart

Once you’re on the path to reliably achieving your life goals, you’ve reached what we call UP v2.0. Then things start to get really interesting…

WHAT'S UP LIKE?

UP can be framed in a number of different ways, depending on how you approach life. Here are a few analogies. 

You = Superhero

Imagine you’re a superhero (e.g. Batman). To become Batman you must have relentless drive, excellent strategy, detailed plans, ample resources, and be in peak physical condition. You’re completely devoted to your cause. UP is your Alfred or sidekick.

You = Startup

Imagine you’re the founder of a fast-growing Y Combinator startup. You are intense, take calculated risks, love metrics, and want to build something to impact the world. You aggressively innovate to make it big, quickly. UP is your co-founder or adviser.

You = Olympic Athlete

Imagine you’re an Olympic athlete, aiming for gold. You are intense, disciplined, obsessed with metrics, dedicated to iterative growth, and in peak physical condition. You’re laser-focused on winning. UP is your coach or training partner. 

You = Robot

Imagine you’re a robot. You have a CPU (executive functioning), hard drive (long-term memory), RAM (working memory), electricity (blood), chassis (skeleton and muscles), and software (beliefs). Every part of you is upgradable. UP is your robotic scientist or programmer.

You = Organization

Imagine you’re the leader of a corporation, lab, military or government. You strategize, plan, recruit, manage people, execute, and evaluate results. You deploy substantial resources to create and capture enormous amounts of value. UP is your Chief of Staff or Board of Directors.

You = MMORPG

Imagine you’re a player in a massively multiplayer online role-playing game. You can level up your skills, secure better equipment, team up with others, and engage in quests to achieve specific goals. Your experience is whatever you make of it. UP is your guild. 

WHAT'S UP BUILT ON?

There are three core pillars of UP.
Ekso_Bionics_Exoskeleton

Emerging Technology

Mindfully incorporating the most useful nootropics, wearables, smart devices, apps, and other tools makes you effectively superhuman. UP guides you to the technology best suited for you. 
Brain

Behavioral Sciences

Understanding the science of how to live well is extremely useful. But the research literature is huge and growing exponentially. UP acts as your personal research assistant and operationalizes what is most useful for you.
XKCD_Is_It_Worth_The_Time

Applied Rationality

Your brain is the most complex tool you possess. And it’s notoriously full of buggy software (e.g. procrastination, self-deception, etc.). UP helps you debug that software and more effectively pursue your goals. 

HOW IS UP DESIGNED?

UP has a number of design principles. 

Return on Investment

UP is theoretically the best investment you can make. We calculate your expected ROI before beginning and proceed iff UP is at least plausibly the best you can imagine. 

Expected Value

Life a series of bets. Generally speaking, if you bet on lottery tickets, you’ll lose. If you bet on low-cost index funds, you’ll win. This thinking is foundational to UP.

Extreme Personalization

UP is entirely customized based on your values, goals, personality, and unique circumstances. No two UPs are exactly alike. You’re not generic and neither is UP.

Lean Science

We start with a change hypothesis and rapidly design and test an intervention. We then improve the intervention and retest until something works. 

Measurable Change

We measure just about everything meaningful to you and track your progress over time. No more guessing whether a program, tool or course worked or not. 

Global Ambition

UP is designed to help you achieve great things for yourself and the world. We want you to leave a legacy your descendants would be proud of.

Hairless Apes

We begin from the broad evolutionary perspective that humans are, in essence, hairless apes. It makes it easier to understand why we do what we do.

Counterfactual Reasoning

Many self-development practitioners ignore counterfactuals. With UP, we’re only happy if you succeed in such a way that you otherwise would not have without our help.

Multiple Selves

You are not just “you”. You’re composed of many psychological subagents, with varying levels of cooperation. We design for all of your subagents.

Mission-Driven

We’re a social enterprise that puts purpose before profits. Ethics matter to us. We only work with clients who intend to do at least some good for the world. 

Technology First

We have one of the largest databases of technologies for growth in the world. If there’s a way to use a technology to advance your goals, we do that first. 

Quantitative Modeling

We build a quantitative model to intelligently allocate your resources to what you value most. You can’t easily do this in your head, unaided. 

Evidence-Based

Wherever possible, we default to the scientific literature on what works in changing lives and what doesn’t. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are gold.

Experimental Intervention

Each UP is a new experimental intervention. We make testable predictions, take baseline and follow-up measurements, and confirm or disconfirm our hypotheses.

Radical Accountability

Normally people set goals, halfheartedly pursue them, and then forget about them. With UP, you either (1) succeed or (2) pick better goals. We don’t let you forget.

Lifelong Framing

UP is framed around your entire life. We help you strategically allocate your 700,000 hours and millions in lifetime earnings and other assets into what you value most.

Exocortex

1 brain is good. 2+ brains are better. We build a digital exocortex (external brain) for you to collect your team’s shared wisdom on who you are and how to get you what you want. 

Marginal Thinking

At some point the marginal cost of an action you take will often exceed the marginal benefit. We help you think on the margin so you make smarter trade-off decisions. 

Temporal Selves

We consider “you” to be a composite of your past, present, and future selves. We design for game theoretically satisfying outcomes for all versions of you.

Humility

We freely admit that we don’t fully know how to upgrade you. No one does. We expect to be wrong and fail often and that’s perfectly okay. Self-compassion is key.

Personal Team

Every great hero, entrepreneur, scientist, engineer, investor, celebrity, and athlete had a team. We build you an extraordinary team 100% dedicated to your goals.

Comprehensiveness

We aim to develop a full taxonomy of your life and help you upgrade every area you choose. We’ve identified 40+ areas to improve. 

Transparency

We practice open science. We try to make every step of our work as transparent as possible. We invite you to “check our math” and decide for yourself if what we do works.

Multi-Layered Impact

UP focuses on object-level immediate impact (e.g., fitness, finances, relationships) and meta-level secondary effects (e.g, strategy, agency, focus). 

Incentive Design

We may pay you to achieve your goals…or your enemies if you don’t. We may donate to a charity you love if you make progress. It all depends on what actually motivates you.

Intense Planning

We’re obsessed with plans. Yes they often fail. But no that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do them. You should just do them better. “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

Prediction Market

We build an internal prediction market where your team predicts your life outcomes. This helps everyone get better at realizing your goals. 

Embodied Self

We consider “you” to be a synthesis of your biological substrate (your body and mind) and non-biological substrate (e.g. computer, phone, clothes, brand, etc.). 

Co-Creation

We co-create an UP with a client. It’s a collaboration from beginning to end. We’re always deeply honored to be a part of someone’s life through an UP.

Perpetual Beta

UP is always improving–it will never be done. We incorporate the latest peer-reviewed research, DIY experiments, and macrotrends into our work. 

WHAT COMES WITH UP?

UP is based on your particular goals, so it comes with essentially whatever you need to succeed. Here are the most basic elements.
Coach

Dedicated coach

An UP Coach that will serve as your guide, partner, and cheerleader for months
Blueprints

Upgrade plans

Customized step-by-step plans outlining exactly how to upgrade each area of your life
Laptop

Vetted tools

A curated database of 1,000+ tools, techniques and programs for upgrading your life
Space

Clean exocortex

A meticulously organized computer, online drive, phone, tablet, office, home, and vehicle

Dedicated team

A carefully handpicked team of experts and assistants fully dedicated to your goals
Group

Life calculator

A quantitative model that prioritizes each of your goals by return on investment
Calculator

Ready-to-use files

A Drive folder with 1,000+ files ready to use to help you achieve your goals
Files

1-on-1 education

A tailored course on 200+ of the most valuable self-development concepts
Learning

WHY DO UP?

Because life is short and you have a lot you want to accomplish. 

GOALS

Improve the odds you achieve what you truly want in life

PURPOSE

Improve your strategy, values, value-action alignment, integrity, and clarity

CAREER

Improve your compensation, advancement, career capital, skills, satisfaction, and future-readiness

FINANCIAL

Improve your net assets, future earnings, portfolio diversification, and security

BEHAVIORAL

Improve your self-control, procrastination, habits, routines, and rituals

COGNITIVE

Improve your decision-making, learning, attention, memory, and creativity

EMOTIONAL

Improve your emotional intelligence, well-being, happiness, stress, and anxiety

HEALTH

Improve your lifespan and reduce illnesses, diseases, injuries, and medical costs

FITNESS

Improve your strength, physique, weight, flexibility, and speed

SLEEP

Improve your waking and sleeping rituals, duration, quality, and dreams

NUTRITION

Improve your food’s nutritional value, quality, taste, convenience, and variety

RELATIONSHIPS

Improve your relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and romantic partners
More reasons why

WHO IS UP FOR?

UP is for the wildly ambitious who intend to leave their mark on humanity. Do you have the following?

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AGENCY

A significant level of agency that you can focus on yourself

GROWTH

An unceasing hunger to be better than you were yesterday
Time

TIME

Thousands of hours you and your team can dedicate over months or years
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CAPITAL

Thousands of dollars to invest on salaries, tools, and assessments

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

We genuinely want to help you live the life you most want to live. Please reach out if you think we can be of service to you.

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