What is it like being allergic to chicken? and other questions asked by my friends.

Being allergic to chicken, how to start an app and AI’s existential threat to humanity.

I asked my network to ask me anything on any topic they felt I would have an interesting perspective on. In this article, I answer some of the questions that caught my eye.

What is it like being allergic to chicken?

For those that do not know I have a bizarre allergy towards poultry. If I eat chicken or turkey, I go into anaphylactic shock, my hands, eyes, nose and mouth swell, and I have a pretty hard time breathing. Strangely enough, I can eat eggs.

Yes this means I’ve never had KFC, I’ve never had a cheeky Nandos with the lads, and I can’t have one of Singapore’s most famous dishes: chicken rice. I have been allergic for as long as I can remember so it just another normal part of life for me. I am yet to meet one other human who shares this allergy, if you know of someone, please let me know, would be nice to make a friend with somebody who can relate to the struggle.

I want to start an app, but I don’t know how to code, how can I get started?

Many people ask me this so if you have had this thought you are in good company. A year ago, I answered a similar question from someone who wanted to start an app for on-demand carwashing; this is the answer I gave:

It may actually be an advantage that you do not have a technical background. This will force you to test your business idea without having an application which is the best possible thing you can do in this context. I often see people spend months of their time of thousands of rands building an application that no one actually wants, the most important lesson I have learned in business is to test your ideas often and quickly.

My advice to you is not to build any website or application and see if you can actually go wash people’s cars and get them to pay you for it. Simply get people to email you if they want to get their car washed, hand out flyers around campus or at parking lots or simply ring on a bunch of people’s doorbells. The Flyer can say something like “Get your car washed at home! We will come to your house and clean your car for R50” you could even offer a 2 for 1 discount to incentivise people to try it.

Now the important thing here is to see how many people you can get to email you if you get 1000s then cool you just found South Africa’s next big startup idea getting funding will be a piece of cake. If you get a couple maybe ten or so then figure out how to get more, you can easily manage ten car washes yourself a week without an app, and if you get none, then you know this isn’t a viable business idea. Which may be bleak, but you learned that your business idea isn’t feasible in 2 weeks instead of in months after investing countless hours and thousands of rands into developing an application. This style of thinking is called “Doing things that don’t scale” inspired by Paul Graham. I would encourage you to read more about it here: http://paulgraham.com/ds.html.

If you absolutely must develop an app I would highly recommend checking out “no-code” tools that let you build apps without knowing how to code. Check out bubble and webflow

Have you planned out most of the topics you are going to speak about?

I have a very rough shortlist of ideas that I am keeping track of, let me know if there is a particular topic that you would like to see.

  • The future of education
  • Meditation
  • Debating at school
  • Mistakes I made as a first-time founder
  • Learning how to learn
  • Productivity
  • Habits
  • Therapy
  • Strive math
  • Free choice
  • Writing challenge reflection
  • How to get news coverage
  • The influential people in my life
  • What is a life worth living?
  • Education is broken
  • No code
  • How to start an app
  • The beauty of math

Does AI pose an existential threat to humanity?

Yes, but not in the way that most people think. Most people believe AI is going to wipe out humanity terminator style. Some experts do believe this is a valid risk. Hands down the best video on the topic is the following:

Whether or not this will happen is a heated debate, with valid points on both sides of the aisle. However, the more imminent and guaranteed risk of AI is widescale job displacement. The fourth industrial revolution will dwarf the first industrial revolution in terms of the number of jobs lost. The riots caused by the first industrial revolution stopped the economy in its tracks, there were violent protests and lootings, that took years to recover from.

A conservative estimate says that 400 million jobs will face automation by 2030. History has taught us humans aren’t too good at dealing with losing their jobs.

Rapid-fire:

  • Do you prefer chicken grilled or fried? I like deeply charred mustardy chicken thighs paired with a crunchy and refreshing fennel-basil slaw for the ultimate summer-night chicken sandwich.
  • Daddy Bezos or Papa Musk? Dogecoin to the moon 🚀
  • Bro, do you know where I can get textbooks easily and affordably online? Have you tried https://www.junkmail.co.za/ or Kalahari?
  • Why are you so bad at FIFA? 😑
  • Space vs. Staying on Earth? Should we hedge our bets or take responsibility for the rock we were born on? Both, but the time horizon on expanding through the solar system is far too long relative to the impact we will face on earth due to being dicks to mother nature. So we need to address climate change as the priority while simultaneously planning intergalactic domination.

This post is part of a 30-day writing challenge I am doing. Every day for 30 days, I am posting an article of at least 500 words. If you notice that I miss a day, I will buy you lunch.

EFSG8 | Founder at Strive Math | Founder at Quillo