FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

About UP

What is the Upgrade Program (UP)?

The Upgrade Program (UP) is a science-based, step-by-step program outlining how to set, plan, and plausibly achieve your life goals. We do this through a novel combination of emerging technology, behavioral science, and applied rationality.

How is UP structured?

UP is structured around three core pillars, three modes, 50+ principles, and 450+ concepts that we’ve cataloged over the past 20+ years of studying and teaching self-development. A full UP includes 95 key steps and 1,015 substeps across 1,187 hours.

See How Is UP Designed.

What are the modes of doing an UP?
  • Life Mode: The aim is a maximum amount of value created over a lifetime (<122 or thousands of years). The focus is on meta-level thinking, strategy, systems, and projects that have very long term horizons. This is ideal for clarifying life purpose, strategy, goals, and values. We will attempt to develop your agency to the level you need to effectively accomplish what matters most to you, which we expect to change as you grow.
  • Annual Mode: The aim is a maximum amount of value created in 365 days. The focus is on meta-level thinking, strategy, systems, and projects that have moderate time horizons. This is ideal for designing and executing large upgrade projects that have positive ROI over a year. It’s a mix between big picture thinking and aggressive execution. This is the most common UP mode, especially if you’re not in a position to do a very deep and potentially challenging dive into self.
  • Max Mode: The aim is a maximum amount of value created in 100 days. This mode is ideal for finishing projects that simply “need to get done now”. It’s analogous to a jet using an afterburner: you’re the jet and we max out your velocity by guzzling fuel. It’s unique in that it allows for short-term practices to enhance focus, but it will ultimately attempt to transition you into a lifetime of sustainable growth.
What makes UP different from other programs?

We have 22 key differentiators:

  • UP aims for your theoretically highest possible ROI
  • UP builds a quantitative model of your values
  • UP builds you a personal team
  • UP is your systems integrator
  • UP provides more strategic life planning
  • UP optimizes your exocortex
  • UP practices open science
  • UP aims to beat your counterfactual outcomes
  • UP does team-based forecasting
  • UP is heavily rationality-based
  • UP operates from a first principles perspective
  • UP is an experimental intervention
  • UP is more comprehensive
  • UP is heavily technology-centric
  • UP operates from a radical accountability perspective
  • UP provides extreme personalization
  • UP is heavily science- and evidence-based
  • UP designs for your extended self
  • UP includes intensive environmental and incentive design
  • UP is more meta
  • UP is intensive 1-on-1 education
Is UP a life coaching program?

UP is a customized coaching-based program that encourages the client to allocate his or her resources more effectively towards his or her life goals. It follows a rigorous experimental design consisting of 10 steps and lasting 100 days, 1 year or 100 years.

How long does it take to complete an UP?

UP consists of ten steps that are split into seven design and execution phases usually spread over one of three possible modes: 100 Days (Max Mode), 1 Year (Annual Mode) or 100 Years (Life Mode).

A full UP is approximately 94 primary steps, 295 substeps, and 780 subsubsteps, for a total of 1,169 steps. This requires approximately 1,957 hours from the client and 191 hours from the UP Coach, for a total of 2,148 hours. Roughly speaking, this gets the client to a point where they are moderately optimized.

Is UP really 100 years long?

It might be more accurate to say an UP lasts for thousands of years. We don’t necessarily expect you to live that long—although with our focus on optimizing your health and the possibilities of life extension that is debatable—but we do expect your legacy to last hundreds or thousands of years.

How much does UP cost?

UP is designed to be adaptable to a client’s financial situation. Most UP programs are designed around a set period of time and billed as a package. The three most common set lengths are: 100 years, 1 year, and 100 days. You can choose to start with a shorter UP and decide to extend  if that makes sense for you. 

See Pricing.

What payment types do you accept?

We accept Bitcoin (BTC), USDC, and US dollars (USD).

How do you conduct sessions with UP clients?

All sessions are conducted virtually unless you choose to work with a coach in-person. You cover any associated costs with working in-person.

Who will be my UP Coach?

All of our UP coaches have 10+ years of professional coaching experience. We have a careful vetting process for coach applicants to ensure the highest quality service. All UP coaches are thoroughly screened for their suitability to conduct an UP with a client. This includes background checks and psychological evaluations.

How do you assign an UP coach to a client?

We match you with the most suitable coach who can help you achieve your life goals and address your immediate needs. Prior to initiating your UP, we will arrange an open-ended conversation between you and your UP coach to determine if there is a fit. 

What if I want to change my UP coach?

We respect our client’s preferences. If you request to change your UP coach, we will assign a new coach to you as quickly as possible.

How can I track my UP coach’s hours?

All hours are tracked and shared regularly. All unused coaching hours are forfeited. 

Note we never pad hours. We work as efficiently and effectively as we can. We will immediately fire any UP Coach or UP Team member that is caught padding hours. You have full access to every minute of time logged.

Can I refer someone to do an UP?

If you refer someone that ultimately does UP, then you are eligible for a (1) US$1,000 referral fee or a (2) US$2,000 credit if you also do UP yourself.  Just ask the person to mention your name when they sign up.

What potential outcomes should I expect in a full UP?

Very roughly speaking by the end of your UP you will have:

  • Set your life goals
  • Written a life plan
  • Built a qualitative and quantitative “self-model”
  • Built a team of 2-15 talented people aligned to your highest values
  • Created a forced-rank list of 10-1,000 upgrade projects
  • Created a 1-15 page, 5-50 step plan for each major upgrade project
  • Used your team to execute each project sequentially or in parallel
  • Iterated to new plans for each of the projects when necessary
  • Learned 450+ concepts helpful for reaching your life goals
  • Made significant progress on your life goals

Specifically, you could choose to focus on:

  • Optimizing your finances
  • Advancing your career
  • Improving your health
  • Strengthening your emotional well-being
  • Tackling any major barriers you’re currently facing
  • Or thousands of other valuable upgrade projects

The tools and resources you get access to for doing an UP are substantial. They’ve taken many thousands of hours to create—time which you don’t have to spend yourself. See What Comes With UP.

Do you offer refunds if I'm not able to complete my UP?

All down payments are non-refundable, but otherwise, the engagement is renewed and paid for on a month-to-month basis. You can stop at any time if it’s no longer valuable to you. And to be clear, we would strongly encourage you to stop if that were the case.

About Upgradable

What does Upgradable do?
  • Research: We research and develop novel strategies and tactics for maximizing human flourishing.
  • Application: We work with clients to upgrade them as efficiently and effectively as possible.
  • Teaching: We speak about our work to companies, organizations, and communities globally.
What is Upgradable’s Life Areas Taxonomy?

It is 42 classifications of life areas that you may use to help focus your upgrading to yield the greatest and highest ROI. Upgradable Life Areas Taxonomy follows the scientific research method to systematically code, analyze, and compare phenomenon by breaking things down to the lowest common denominator, similar to organism taxonomic rank. Upgradable tries to break down human life areas so that each area can be upgraded progressively. 

See What Can You Upgrade.

Why should I trust Upgradable more than the other players in the self-development space?

Because we publish our outcome data for you to criticize while also being clear about our principles.

Why do you publish your mistakes?

We do this to potentially save others who are doing similar work from repeating our mistakes, as well as to help prospective clients understand our full track record.

Do you receive affiliate payments for recommending products/programs to UP clients?

To avoid conflicts of interest, UP never takes affiliate payments for recommending any tool, product, or program to clients.

Is UP right for me?

Who can do an UP?

• Individuals: This is the basic version of UP. We take into consideration your personal and professional relationships, but we do not focus on improving anyone around you unless that is directly necessary for your growth.

• Teams: This version aims to upgrade several to all members of a startup, SME or MNC team.

• Families: This version upgrades you and your immediate or extended family members. Special consideration is paid to aligning individual needs with family needs, communication norms, and role expectations.

• Groups: This version upgrades groups of individuals (e.g., best friends, fellow community members).

See Who Does UP.

What are the requirements of doing an UP?

This is not a program for the meek. At a minimum, it will require:

  • A significant level of agency
  • A deep, unrelenting hunger for growth
  • Hundreds of hours of focused time to invest in yourself
  • Thousands of dollars to invest in salaries, tools, products, and programs
  • Deep epistemic curiosity
  • Significant courage
  • Significant patience
  • A cursory understanding of at least 50% of the key terms in the Concepts page
  • At least a cursory understanding of epistemic and instrumental rationality
What are some outcomes previous UP clients have experienced?

Here are some actual outcomes previous clients have experienced. Our clients attribute approximately 15% of these outcomes to UP.

  • Securing $4M in funding for a venture
  • Receiving a $2.8M golden parachute payout
  • Securing $300k for a venture
  • Building a cryptocurrency hedge fund that raised and traded hundreds of thousands of dollars
  • Securing a six-figure job
  • Shifting into a new life and career path with a much higher expected value and life congruence
  • Discovering a potentially dangerous health issue
  • Getting a $10k/year raise for doing the same work with better hours and friendlier colleagues
  • Successfully managing a necessary breakup with a loved one (and regaining about 25 hours/week of productive time)
What tools and resources do you provide for UP clients?

The tools and resources you get access to for doing an UP are substantial. They’ve taken many thousands of hours to create—time which you don’t have to spend yourself. These includes the following:

  • UP Protocol: a 1,000+ step process for running your Upgrade Program
  • Life Calculator: a quantitative model that prioritizes each of your goals by return on investment
  • Self-Model: a qualitative model of who you are, your values, your purpose, and your strategic path in life
  • Life Area Plans: customized step-by-step plans outlining how to upgrade each area of your life (e.g., Emergency Preparedness Plan)
  • Life Dashboard: a tool to help you to systematically track your life metrics
  • Goals Dashboard: a tool to identify, set, prioritize, plan, and reach your goals
  • Tools Database: a curated database of 50+ proprietary and 1,400+ public upgrade tools
  • Life Assessments: 150+ industry-standard assessments to objectively measure your performance
  • Files Archive: a drive folder with 1,000+ files ready to use to help you achieve your goals
How much time will I need to dedicate to doing an UP?

Failure is perfectly normal! We interpret that as evidence we should probably change the client’s goals—perhaps by making the short-term actions they’re taking more manageable. We generally review progress on a weekly basis so there’s plenty of opportunities to course correct. If you feel that your UP is failing you overall, then we’d either rethink our approach and try something substantially different or mutually decide to stop working together. That’s  okay! An UP is hard and not for everyone.

What if I fail my UP attempt?

Failure is perfectly normal! We interpret that as evidence we should probably change the client’s goals—perhaps by making the short-term actions they’re taking more manageable. We generally review progress on a weekly basis so there’s plenty of opportunities to course correct. If someone feels as if their UP is failing them overall, then we’d either rethink our approach and try something substantially different or mutually decide to stop working together. That’s perfectly okay! An UP is hard and not for everyone.

UP doesn’t sound like a fit for me. What other options do you recommend?

Here are a few alternatives you could consider: (1) continue with your normal approach to self-development, (2) do an UP-like program completely by yourself, (3) do an UP-like program with a team you manage yourself, (4), do an alternative self-development program, (5) choose to not focus on self-development. 

See If Not UP Then What.