UP is designed around a number of design principles. Many overlap so consider this a casual taxonomy.
We recognize that human beings are complex adaptive systems made up of many interacting factors. Adjusting one part may not reliably cause a change in another part.
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.
We start with a change hypothesis and rapidly design and test an intervention. We then improve the intervention and retest until something works.
Each UP is a new experimental intervention. We make testable predictions, take baseline and follow-up measurements, and confirm or disconfirm our hypotheses.
UP focuses on object-level immediate impact (e.g. fitness, finances, relationships) and meta-level secondary effects (e.g. strategy, agency, focus).
It’s your life, not anyone else’s. NDAs, restricted file access, and de-identifying data are among a few of the many precautions we take to ensure your privacy.
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.
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.
We’re always improving–we will never be done. We regularly incorporate the latest peer-reviewed research, DIY experiments, and macrotrends into an UP.
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.).
We develop a full taxonomy of your life and help you upgrade every area you choose. We’ve identified ~40 foundational areas you could improve.
We consider “you” to be a composite of your past, present, and future selves. Due to buggy temporal discounting, you reliably forget about your other temporal selves.
You are not just “you”. At any given time you have several psychological subagents that are cooperating or fighting with each other. We design for all of your subagents.
We build a digital exocortex (external brain) that collects your team’s shared wisdom on who you are and how to get you what you want. This may live on forever, if you wish.
First determine your terminal and instrumental values. Everything you do in life stems from what you consider valuable. Deeply introspect, research, and clarify.
Life is 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.
Wherever possible, we default to the scientific literature on what works in changing lives and what doesn’t. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are core to UP.
Two brains are better than one. Five are better than two. The more computational power you have, the more strategic your decisions will likely be.
Essentially no one does this, but it’s best to focus on what matters most first (i.e. usually your highest expected value work). Simple to understand, but hard to do.
Return on Investment
UP is theoretically the best investment you can make, by design. We calculate your expected ROI before beginning and proceed iff UP is plausibly the best you can imagine.
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.
We freely admit that we don’t fully know how to upgrade you. Neither do you. We expect to be wrong and fail often. That’s perfectly okay. Self-compassion is key.
We build a quantitative model to intelligently allocate your resources to acquire what you value most. You can’t easily do this math in your head, unaided.
The world is more grayscale than black or white. Learning how to think in probabilities (X is Y% likely to happen) lets you navigate reality far more effectively.
Many self-development practitioners ignore counterfactuals. With UP, we can only claim success if you succeed in such a way that you otherwise would not have without UP.
Don’t let systemic forces you’re mostly unaware of shape the majority of your life outcomes. “Live deliberately.” -Henry David Thoreau
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.
To aid with our forecasts, we build an internal prediction market where your team predicts your life outcomes. This helps everyone get better at achieving your goals.
We work to enhance the percentage of your discretionary resources that you allocate on a moment-to-moment basis toward achieving your highest values.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Grow your ability to grow. Think recursive self-development. Grow exponentially where you can, linearly everywhere else. Embrace cumulative advantage.
We try to predict your plausible future outcomes before we begin your UP. We then regularly update these predictions as we execute your plans and learn from reality.
You’re a function of your environment. Your home, workplace, vehicle, city, social dynamics, etc. all profoundly influence you. Focus on them to upgrade yourself.
Every great entrepreneur, investor, scientist, engineer, celebrity, and athlete had a team. You deserve a team 100% dedicated to your goals. Don’t go at life alone.
We hold each other to the highest standards of integrity. If we say we’re going to do something, we do it. If we fail to do it, we quickly apologize and fix it. Full ownership.
Four hands are better than two. Ten are better than four. Raw hours, intelligently distributed to the right tasks at the right time in the right way feels like magic.
You have to diligently practice mental, physical, and emotional skills. Especially the parts you’re bad at. If your practice isn’t hard, you’re probably not doing it right.
Some people are better at X than Y. Generally speaking, distribute your workload so that people better at X do X and not Y. Collectively, you all win.
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.
Within reason, we aim to move extremely fast. Speed means more experiments, more insights, and more success. We systematically eliminate all bottlenecks.
Be curious about yourself, others, and the world. Explore mindfully and persistently. You will never know everything that’s useful to know, but you can try.
You can only learn so much on your own. With a team you have more brainpower scanning the world to discover new and better ways to help you achieve your goals.
We use chunking, spaced repetition, rapid testing, and other accelerated learning techniques to quickly cram decades of insights into your head.
Everyone learns differently. We determine how you best learn (and remember) and then customize our lessons directly for you. No friction, no waste.
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.
We’re audacious enough to attempt a radically different approach to figuring out what a life well lived might look like in the 21st century. Wish us luck.