On Building Capital

I was reading an AMA with Patrick McKenzie when I came across this quote of his:

“I’d encourage y’all to understand that whatever you’re working on right now, you will build capital (skills, reputation, a body of work, technical assets, email lists, etc) that makes everything you do for the rest of your life better. You can make choices to optimize how useful the current thing is for you.”

I think about this often. When you’re working on something, it’s often the secondary effects of your work that end up being the most valuable.

In every endeavor you’re working on, ask yourself “What human/social/career capital am I getting out of this”? If you can’t find any, then it might be more wise to work on something else.