Hello! I’m Julian and I’m a Gen Z entrepreneur, software engineer, and podcaster. I am the fusion of an ambitious entrepreneur, a tech whiz, a futurist, a productivity aficionado, and a self-improvement junkie.
I am currently a Software Engineer at Facebook and the Co-Founder & CTO at a startup named Vize. Previously, I have interned with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Goldman Sachs. Learn about me at www.julianalvarez.me

Welcome to this introduction episode for the Inventing The Future podcast!

Never in history has the potential for entrepreneurs to disrupt industries and solve problems on a massive scale been greater. The decreased cost and increased power of technology has democratized our ability to solve large-scale problems. The convergence of exponential technologies (AI, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Blockchain, to name a few) is enabling us to solve problems that could not be solved before. Today, a single individual or team—driven by a purpose—can transform our world. 

Our mission is to inspire and empower entrepreneurs to solve the world’s biggest problems. We’ll specifically focus on the world’s biggest problems because, as Peter Diamandis brilliantly says, “the world’s biggest problems are the world’s biggest opportunities.” 

Join me, growing entrepreneur and computer scientist Julian Alvarez, as I interview those that are inventing our future. We’ll explore the problem they are eradicating, learn about their unique solution, and uncover the mindsets, insights, tools, strategies, and wisdom that have proved invaluable in their arduous journeys. If you are an entrepreneur, an aspiring entrepreneur, an innovator, a disruptor, or a highly ambitious person that dreams of making a massive dent in the universe, this podcast is for you. 

The best way to predict the future is to invent it. 

So, how will you invent the future?

TRANSCRIPT

Hello Universe, welcome to the Inventing The Future podcast with your host, Julian Alvarez. I’ll tell you a bit more about myself at the end of this episode but first, I’d like to discuss the purpose and the ideas behind this podcast

Why

The mission of this podcast is to inspire and empower entrepreneurs to solve the world’s biggest and most significant problems.

Let’s dissect this purpose: Why the focus specifically on the world’s biggest and most significant problems?

What is a significant problem? How do you define it?

  • Scale, frequency, and intensity, growing/decreasing

Why significant problems?

As Peter Diamandis says, the world’s biggest problems are the world’s biggest opportunities. I’ll go over three types of opportunities that problems create: impact, growth, and financial wealth

  1. Maximize your Impact On & Contribution To the universe → The bigger the problem is the bigger the opportunity will be and the bigger the opportunity is, the greater the potential for impact and contribution will be
    • Why are impact and contribution important? Two reasons:
      1. A life of contribution, service, and giving is a fulfilling life. Many of us fool ourselves into thinking that financial wealth and material possessions are what we want the most but what we actually want is the emotions that those material possessions will produce. The problem is that as soon as you achieve something or buy something, the euphoria only last for anywhere between a few minutes to a few weeks. Think about the last time you bought a car, a house, a nice watch, a fancy purse, or achieved a big goal. How long were you happy for because of it? Probably not long because with time, we become normalized to our reality no matter how good or bad it is, which is why we constantly have to be in pursuit of new experiences and better opportunities.
        • So in summary, who you become in the process of achieving your goals and what you are able to give because of how much you have grown personally and financially is far more meaningful than what you get or achieve in your life. The point is that what you get only lasts a moment, who you become in the process lasts a lifetime, but the impact of what you GIVE and create in this life will echo throughout eternity. I really like the way Tony Robbins puts it. He says that, success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.
        • How to measure impact: My success is defined by the positive impact that I have on improving the lives of others because that is what fulfills me the most. I define impact on two dimension: one is the number of people you impact, and the second is how significantly you impact each person. Now picture a graph where these two dimensions are axises on the graph. The goal for me is to maximize the area under the curve, which is basically what you get from multiplying the number of people you impact by how significantly you impact each person. You could achieve the same area under the curve by providing a small amount of value to a lot of people or to provide a lot of value to a small amount of people. I don’t want to make a tradeoff between the two: I want to add a significant amount of value to billions of people. And the only real way to do that is to solve the biggest and most significant problems.
      2. Living a life of contribution, service, and giving is so important is because when we serve others we are also serving ourselves because of who we become in the process of serving others
        • In order to solve a significant problem or overcome a massive challenge you will have to learn and grow an incredible amount. In other words, if you want to invent the future, you have to start by reinventing yourself.
        • When serving others on a massive scale becomes your north star, then learning and growing become a means to achieve that end. We all want to be better and grow but it is hard to become better and to grow just for the sake of wanting to grow. You need something more powerful than a desire for growth, you need a reason to grow. You need a purpose that will fuel your growth. And when that purpose is in service of humanity, when that purpose extends far beyond yourself, it becomes so captivating that you have no choice but to grow and work to fulfill that purpose.
          • Let me tell you a story about myself:
            • Ever since I can remember, I have felt a strong sensation of ambition within me. But throughout my childhood and most of my teen years, my ambition was mostly a desire for financial wealth.
            • Because this ambition was self centered, I never did much in response to what I felt.
              • I overdosed on video games and TV. I never read unless I had to for school. And I ate a ton of junk food.
              • I remember at one point thinking like wow I guess I’m just going to live an ordinary life because I knew I wasn’t doing what I needed to live the life I desired
            • But then something remarkable happened 4 years ago. I attended a Tony Robbins seminar named Unleash The Power Within and I experienced many breakthroughs but the most significant one of all was that I redefined my purpose in life to be something that was far greater than I could ever be. Through Tony’s wisdom on the importance of giving and service, I was now more focused on how I could serve humanity rather than thinking about how rich I wanted to become. And with that shift, after the seminar, I felt that for the first time in my life, I had finally begun to act in alignment to the ambition that I had been feeling for so long. I had quite literally awakened the giant within me.
            • After the seminar
              • After the seminar, I almost entirely quit playing video games and watching TV because I started to care much more about what I wanted the MOST, rather than what I wanted right now (instant gratification).
              • I began reading and learning more than I ever had because I realized that if I truly want to achieve my highest aspirations, then acquiring intelligence was a necessary means to that end. I didn’t love reading at first but as I started to rewire my neurological associations
              • And finally, I became extremely health conscious because I knew that if I wanted to fulfill my purpose, I would need an abundance of energy. I eat so many vegetables now that several of my friends call me a plant
        • So again, when we serve others we are also serving ourselves because when we work in service to all of humanity, we have no choice but to take massive action and grow exponentially.
        • We find ourselves when we lose ourselves in the service of others – Ghandi. Serving and loving others is the most humane act of all
  2. Professional and personal growth → The biggest problems and the toughest challenges present the greatest learning opportunity.
    • Initially, problems may appear to be something negative and overwhelming, but problems become gifts once you realize that they are actually opportunities in disguise. Problems can either be growth or business opportunities if you look at the problem from a perspective of what you can learn or what you can do differently to solve the problem
    • Why is growth so important?
      1. Progress = happiness and if you are not growing you are dying. But growth is not easy and there will be ups and downs but that’s part of the journey. Let me give you this perspective: The only way to know if you are alive is if you have a heartbeat. A heartbeat goes up and down and if it becomes smooth, you are dead. If you are here looking for a smooth life, you are already dead! The ups and downs tell you that you are alive so embrace it!
      2. The more you grow, the more you have to give.
        • And it works the other way too! The more you give, the more opportunities that will be presented to you. One of the reasons this happens is because of the law of reciprocity. When you give to others, they will want to give back to you. It’s human nature. And when people give back to you, you are able to grow even more, which allows you to give even more, and it goes on and on in a never ending cycle. In essence, life gives to the givers and takes from the takers. This is why Tony Robbins says that the secret to living is giving!
        • And also, keep in mind that when you give the most of yourself to the people you love and to the people you are serving through your work, you magnify the human experience for yourself and others.
        • So, the more you grow, the more you have to give. But in order to give the most of yourself you have to make the most of yourself. And that’s why growth is so important.
  3. Grow your wealth → Do you want to become a billionaire? Well, as Peter Diamandis says, the best way to become a billionaire is to solve a billion person problem
    • Money is not the most important things but it is important for many reasons. I’ll give you just 2
      • The more money you have, the more you are able to invest in yourself, while will help fuel your growth. Money fuels growth, growth fuels giving, and giving results in opportunities to make more money and to grow more
      • The more money you have, the more you are able to give.
    • If you have some deep rooted fears about money, just know that money doesn’t necessarily change who you are, it allows you to be more of who you already are.
  • Opportunity Cost: Why work to solve a small and insignificant problem when you can dedicate your precious time and ephemeral life toward solving a significant problem

How am I supposed to solve the world’s biggest problems? Besides, the world’s biggest problems are unsolved because they are extremely difficult to solve and they are likely almost impossible to solve so why even bother?

  • Well firstly, I agree when you say “how am I supposed to do it” because you need to find a great team to make it work.
  • Entrepreneurship is tough as hell. Many people glorify entrepreneurship but you don’t realize how difficult it is until you see what’s behind the covers. You will confront significant challenges, failures, and adversities along the way. The amount of work that you put in in the beginning, is disproportional to the results that you’ll see from your effort. It is easy to want to give up when things aren’t working out or when there are challenges that you do not know how to overcome. I myself have considered giving up with my current startup because of the lack of results we have had and how challenging things have been at times. But what has allowed me to persevere is understanding how incredibly significant the problem we are solving is. I always think back to what Elon Musk says, when I am struggling tremendously in my journey. He say: when something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor. Difficult problems have a lower probability of success but when the problem is significant and meaningful, you will be fueled with the passion you need to overcome the challenges along the journey. This critical component of perseverance increases your chances of success significantly. But you will only be able to persevere if you find a problem you are obsessed about.
    • Let me put it to you this way: You can have a great idea but ideas don’t work, people do. And what makes people work is an idea worth working for. The more significant the problem your idea is solving, the more you will be willing to work to make it work.
    • One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received is that if you aren’t willing to dedicate 10 years of your life to solve a problem, then you shouldn’t even try. It has to matter to you that much if you want to have a good shot at success.
  • For those of you that have full time jobs that you cannot leave, I know it is not easy but you will have to put in extra work to make your idea come to life. It is not easy to balance a side project on top of a full time job but you will have a hell of a lot more motivation to do so when the problem you are aiming to solve is significant.

First part of the mission: Why Entrepreneurship?

  • There has never been a better time to be alive. The quality of life that the average person has today is exponentially better than it was 100, 200, 1000 years ago. We are living during the most exciting time in human history. Technology has played a significant role in creating the world we have today but it is not technology alone that brought us here. Our prosperity is the result of teamwork between entrepreneurs and the tools and technologies that augment our capabilities. As the rate of change of technology continues to accelerate, it is entrepreneurs and their teams who will shape how technology works for us.
  • We live in an abundant world but there are a countless number of problems around the world that have not yet been solved. For example, some of the most significant problems that exist right now involve the environment, racial inequality, gender inequality, homelessness, poverty, corrupt governments, fake news, polarization, an outdated education system, an inefficient and ineffective healthcare system, and so on. I don’t tell you this to depress you, I tell you this to make you aware of the incredible opportunities that exist today for innovation and disruption. And it is important to emphasize this point because many people think that there are already so many ideas and products in existence that there isn’t any more space for innovation. But as long as there are problems to solve in the world, there will be opportunities for new solutions.
    • That’s what this podcast is all about. It is about inspiring and empowering you as an entrepreneur to solve the biggest and most significant problems because the future is not guaranteed. It unfolds as the result of massive action, the choices you make, and the risks you take.
  • The world needs entrepreneurs more than ever before and the potential for entrepreneurs to disrupt industries and solve problems on a massive scale has never been greater. I’ll give you three reasons as to why this is true:
    1. Starting a company is cheaper than it ever has been before: The cost of technology has dropped significantly while the power of technology has increased exponentially. In 1995 it would have cost you around to $5M to get a team together, build a website, set up servers, and do everything else you needed to do to start a company. Today, in most cases, starting a company will not cost you more than $5,000.
    2. Convergence Exponential Technologies: Over time, faster computers have helped build faster computers and these faster computers have enabled new technologies to be built. Computational power has increased so much that we can now run hyperloop simulations on the cloud, and test the whole system for safety and reliability. Exponential technologies like AI, AR/VR, Blockchain, Robotics, 3D Printing, and many others are converging with each other to enable new capabilities. And because of these new capabilities, we are able to solve problems that could not be solved before. Convergence means using many different exponential technologies together in a single product. For example, autonomous electric cars are leveraging the convergence of AI and ML for the autonomous driving, lithium ion batteries for the range of the car, 3D printing for building prototypes of the car, robotics for manufacturing of the car, and many others.
    3. Massive increase in Venture Funding: In the US, venture funding went from 8B in 1995 to 88B in 2020. That’s 11x more funding in the span of 25 years. Large chunks of this capital are flowing into technology. This is a trend we are seeing around the world, not just in the US. These VCs are willing to pour money into ideas that have a massive growth potential and the bigger and more significant the problem you are aiming to solve is, the more likely they are to pour massive amounts of money into your venture. All you have to do is find a big problem and validate that your solution has the potential to solve the problem.
  • Let me put it to you this way: 500 years ago, the only people capable of solving global grand challenges were kings, emperors, and pharaohs, then about 200 years ago, this power expanded to the industrialist, who built our transportation systems and financial institutions, 30 years ago it was large corporations or big governments, but today, our ability to solve large scale problems has become thoroughly democratized to the point where now a single individual or team driven by a purpose can change the world. I truly believe that you can change the world and manifest whatever you set out for your life. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? It is worth every ounce of pain and suffering you experience to achieve the creation of a better future for yourself and humanity.
  • And look, I think what matters most regardless of what career path you take, is that you develop and operate with an entrepreneurial mindset. This means that where others see horrifying problems and overwhelming challenges, you see tremendous business and growth opportunities. You can operate with an entrepreneurial mindset in your personal and professional life no matter what your career is. In order to operate with an entrepreneurial mindset, all you have to do is to look at the world not for what it is but rather look at the world for what it can be because we can create any future we want if we can imagine it. Our job is not just to imagine the future we envision but to live in that world so vividly that people think you are hallucinating. Dream so big that people think you are absolutely crazy and if people don’t think you are crazy then dream even bigger. And you are actually not crazy and delusional for dreaming big because, with all of the technologies that we have at our disposal today, the only limitation to your potential is the limitation of what the mind fails to imagine and believe is possible.

How do I plan on delivering on my mission with you?

  • I will mostly be interviewing guests but I will also have episodes where I share invaluable lessons, stories, insights, and challenges I am experiencing throughout my journey as an entrepreneur.
    • For the interviews, I’ll focus on entrepreneurs that are solving big and meaningful problems so that we can increase the awareness of these problems and highlight the startups that are working to solve them. If you find that you are passionate about solving any of these problems, then you have three options.
      1. You can engage your infinite source of creativity to come up with ideas on how you could solve the problem in an entirely new way. And btw, I recommend that you do this even if you don’t end up starting a company just so that you can exercise your creativity muscle because the more you exercise your creativity, the better you get at it. At the end of every episode, I will make a post on the Facebook Group that I created for this community to ask how you would go about solving the problem that was discussed in the episode. I encourage you to write down your answer here and engage with others.
      2. You can join the startup featured in the interview or another startup that is solving a similar problem. This is also a great option because I think working to solve a problem you really care about is more important than whether you are the one to create the company or not. At my current startup, I wasn’t the one that discovered the problem or came up with the idea but I decided to join near the beginning as a co-founder because I realized that the problem was so big and significant that I cared more about working to solve the problem rather than worrying about whether I was the one that came up with the idea or not. And when I do start my own company in the future, I’ll be a hell of a lot more prepared thanks to this experience
      3. Finally, you can influence whatever company you work at to solve this problem, if it is within their domain. In this sense you can operate as an intrapreneur, which is kind of like being an entrepreneur within a company. This may be difficult to do depending on the company but if you can back your case up with data, your argument for moving in the direction you propose will be much more compelling.
      4. You can do nothing and live an ordinary life because if you aren’t proactive about living an extraordinary life, then ordinary will claim you.
    • Apart from focusing on the problems that these entrepreneurs are solving, I’ll start by asking them why they decided to be an entrepreneur, we’ll then explore the problem space, then their unique solution and the team behind the initiative. Finally, I’ll dig deep to uncover mindsets, insights, tools, strategies, and wisdom from them that will empower you to succeed as an entrepreneur.
      • Mindset:
        • Even if you have the best idea in the world, you have the tools to bring it to life, you have the funds, and you have the people, you could easily fail if you don’t have the right mindset that will help you persevere through all the challenges and failures that you’ll face. You have to operate from the mindset that there is no problem that can not be solved in order to give your mind the confidence it needs to come up with the breakthrough solution.
        • I like how Tony Robbins puts it. He says that 80% of success is psychology and 20% is the mechanics. And in order to master the external world, you first have to master your internal world first.
        • Mindset is your most important and valuable tool as an entrepreneur and I could talk endlessly about it but I’ll save it for another episode.
  • The final way I plan to deliver on my mission is by creating a community where you can meet like minded people and either collaborate on an idea or help each other by sharing your experiences and insights.
    • The main idea here is that the potential of a single mind is limited but when the consciousness of a mind unifies with others, its potential is magnified. In other words, 1+1 ≠ 2, it far exceeds 2. Many times we think to ourselves “I am not enough” (I am not good enough or I can’t do that). Notice that this limiting belief makes use of the word “I” and not “we”. In some cases, it may be true that you are not capable of doing something on your own. However, it is rarely the case that a collective intelligence is incapable of achieving something. A single mind is limited in its power but the collective synergy between many minds is infinitely powerful.
    • So for this reason, I have created a Facebook Group and you can find the link in the show notes for this episode. I am committed to serving this community and would be happy to help others with any questions or challenges that come up throughout your journey.

Closing

  • More about who I am
    • I am an entrepreneur, software engineer, podcaster, and a life-long learner. Currently, I am a Co-Founder and the CTO of an early-stage startup named Vize, where we aspire to help billions of low-skilled workers find a job that they love and empower them with the skills they need to advance socioeconomically. In the next episode, I’ll talk more about Vize and my entrepreneurial journey.
    • I recently graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Computer Science and In June 2021, I will start working as a Software Engineer with Facebook at their HQ in Silicon Valley.
    • Previously, I have interned as a Software Engineer at Facebook, LinkedIn, and Goldman Sachs.
    • If you’d like to learn more about me, to julianalvarez.me, and I’ll include that in the show notes along with my social media handles.
  • So, If you are currently an entrepreneur, an aspiring entrepreneur, an innovator, a disruptor, or a highly ambitious person that wants to make a massive dent in the universe, this podcast is for you. If this is of interest, I invite you to subscribe to the podcast, subscribe to my newsletter, and follow the podcast’s social media accounts so that you can be notified about new episodes. I’ll also include insights, resources, and quotes in the newsletter that are designed to help you live a healthier, fulfilling, and more productive life. The link to the newsletter and social media handles will be in the show notes. If you found any of the topics in this episode interesting, feel free to reach out to me and I would also be happy to recommend any books or resources to help you out with what you need.
  • You can expect episodes every two weeks on Thursdays.
  • With that, I would like to welcome onboard to this rocket. Tighten your seatbelts because I don’t know where the hell this rocket is going but I sure as hell do know it’s going to be a hell of a ride.
    • Before I go, let me leave you with this: As Alan Kay says, The best way to predict the future, is to invent it. So now I’ll ask you: how will you invent the future?
  • I’ll talk to you guys soon. Take care, and stay infinite my friends.

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