Surya Dantuluri

Surya Dantuluri, newsletter

im going to try and posting more published thoughts on my OG blog from long time ago; and the concept around social capital is one i definitely am going to think more about in writing, but here's some quick thoughts on it:

i think the biggest and dangerous misconception when you're in your early 20s is to become financially rich. sure you can pump $PLTR or $WORK to the moon and cash in on options calls that 10x'd overnight (im definitely not saltY) or more commonly: take every decision with a financial incentive into account, but i think this is a horrible way to think early on.

unless you really need the cash, trying to optimize your way into stanford only to work at stripe as an ML engineer and shitpost all day on twitter (not isosteph) or work at fang in general just because its popular among university kids, is the worst thing you can do to your career. take this with a huge grain of salt though; i havent worked at fang and am basing my opinions on what ive seen (hearing stories and glancing tons of linkedin profiles from people who graduated from my hs in the bay area) so its entirely possible you could be living an amazing life at google building out google fiber for example... however i think you should be optimizing your life towards gaining social capital and thats impossible to do via fang

what is social capital

my idea of social capital is just knowing a lot of interesting people closely and attracting interesting people to come to you. the main way to drive up your social capital is keep on chatting with as many people as possible that are relevant to what you're working on. the best places to do this are: twitter, small online communities, university, physical interaction.


i dont think theres any other big social network where everyone in tech is on that doesnt feel creepy like fb; twitter is great if utilized properly (just dont be creepy and say/build interesting things; if you go full on fortune cookie mode with like a 100 followers, theres a 0% ill interact with you + i know its the easiest way to gain followers and i dont like being just a "follower" most of the time).

you can gain social capital really just by dm'ing a lot of people; if you have more than 500 followers + face, most people really wont care imo.

small online communities

genzmafia (specially being in the higher roles) and other small online communities are great since you have a few really interesting people that probably know other interesting people; you can easily gain social capital just by contributing back into the community without shilling your product 24/7.

university/real life

meeting people in person is next to none. most people are lonely and dont know that many interesting people; its mutually beneficial to get to know lots of people.

few examples

prime examples are cory levy and lachy groom; they're doing a lot of interesting things in the background and garnering very interesting people to come to them.

how to use social capital

the great thing about social capital is that it lasts forever; if you know one person well, it'll compound for lifetimes.

money is quantifiable but social capital is not, so how would you quantify it? here's the kick: you can't. people aren't deterministic, so it could be tomorrow or 3 years until you want to work on something together or they have an opportunity of the lifetime (or vice versa). but you'll always have the feeling that people know of your existence, which is next to none as a regular human.

what can social capital do for me?

a friend of mine went from 50 followers on twitter to 2k and raised a million dollars from clubhouse in a matter of weeks.

he just talked to people about what he was thinking of doing.

and if i wanted to, i know as a fact i can drop out and raise a seed on the same day, just because i can ping a few select people that'll set an alarm for others to try and get an allocation; investors are sheep.

you are the 10x stock

the great thing about social capital is that anyone can get it; you literally just need to talk with people without selling out and provide value for them in someway such that its mutually beneficial.

and just like stocks, people who have a lot of social capital know its people like you (who provide value like teaching them about an area you have a deep insight in) that 100x in the longterm; nearly no one will turn down a conversation from a future brian chesky and there are a lot of them subscribed to this newsletter.