What we learned together this week

Key lessons and insights

Happy New Year!

Before we dive into all the details, here is a brief summary of today’s newsletter -

💌 The three key newsletters from the previous week are - Naspers: Story of a Conservative Newspaper Turned Venture Capital Fund + Consumption Diet, Defeat, My Defeat: A Poem to Start 2021, and Anti-Fragility, Ergodicity: 2 Concepts You Must Understand

✨ The second edition of a special newsletter by Network Capital mentor and patron; Harvard Business School Professor, Dr. Tarun Khanna.

💎 Network Capital in 2020, a review of our content, community, and learnings.

🎥 The Network Capital special masterclass on What a Wharton MBA Experience Feels Like Online and How to Break into Y Combinator

Now on to the weekly recap of what we learnt together


  1. Defeat, My Defeat: A Poem to Start 2021

    You may be surprised that we are beginning the new year talking about defeat but the way Kahlil Gibran talks about it makes it intimately relatable after the 2020 we have all had.

    Defeat, my Defeat, my solitude and my aloofness;
    You are dearer to me than a thousand triumphs,
    And sweeter to my heart than all world-glory.
    Defeat, my Defeat, my self-knowledge and my defiance,
    Through you I know that I am yet young and swift of foot
    And not to be trapped by withering laurels

    Read More

  2. Naspers: Story of a Conservative Newspaper Turned Venture Capital Fund + Consumption Diet

    Naspers used to be a conservative South African newspaper publishing firm that rigidly supported the cause of Afrikaner nationalism for years on end. Today it is best known as a Venture Capital fund famous for its investments in technology. Many of our subscribers work there and you should connect with them on the VC subgroups on Network Capital TV.

    Read More

  3. Anti-Fragility, Ergodicity: 2 Concepts You Must Understand

    Most of us revere people who are willingness to risk failure and have the gumption to bounce back from catastrophe with courage. But Taleb’s example shows that there is perhaps equal if not more heroism in taking the purposeful and painful steps to prepare for the unimaginable.

    Shocks and backlashes are going to be key features of the 21st century. Resilience is not enough. Surviving one shock or one crisis does not mean that we will be ready for the next one.

    We will need to make shocks and backlashes our teachers and learn from them. We will need to become stronger through chaos and crises. That is what Taleb calls anti-fragility.

    Something is called ergodic if as time goes on, luck/randomness plays less of a role in outcome. With this in mind, can you tell if the coinflip discussed in point 3 is ergodic?

    Non-ergodic systems are defined when there is a possible ruin (that Warren Buffet talked about in point 1) in the future. We tend to think (and are taught to think) as though most systems are ergodic. However, pretty much every human system is non-ergodic.

    A gambler walking into a casino is entering a non-ergodic system. He might get lucky a few times but if he continues to play, he is bound to experience RUIN. Ruin means you cease to survive and as Buffet says, in order to succeed you must first survive.

    Moral of the story: Don’t take risks that will finish you out. Life is non-ergodic.

    Read More

Dr. Tarun Khanna’s Newsletter

Here’s what I learned as an educator-entrepreneur working on issues of economic and social inclusion across emerging markets, with my students at Harvard College (think young adults, 18-22 years old), senior professionals (C-suite execs, investors, policymakers, think folks in their 40s and 50s), and my fellow entrepreneurs from Chile, Brazil, Nigeria, Kenya, India, Indonesia and indeed across the developing world.

Read More


What A Virtual Wharton India Economic Forum Organized By Wharton MBAs Taking Classes Online Looks Like

In this masterclass you learn -

  1. Exploring India: self-reliant, resilient, reignited 

  2. Learnings and reflections from 2020 and a virtual MBA program

  3. Principles for curating a virtual experience and engineering serendipity

  4. Taking the 25 year old legacy forward and hosting the first virtual WIEF conference

Watch the Masterclass

Register for WIEF

Scaling Consumer Brands with YC Alumna Pritika Mehta

In this masterclass you learn -

  1. Mental models for building D2C consumer brands in India

  2. How to scale things that don’t scale.

  3. The Y Combinator experience and future expansion

Watch the Masterclass

Network Capital in 2020: Summary


Network Capital was built on the simple idea that everyone has something to learn and something to teach. Today, thanks to your support, we have emerged as a global mentoring force with 100,000+ verified members from 112 countries. 

The socially-connected-yet-physically-distant world of 2020 gave us opportunity to explore new ways of virtual community building. Here are our top highlights.


Network Capital helps interesting people do meaningful things. This newsletter features one pillar of our content ecosystem (podcast + masterclass + newsletter) - our podcast

Through 2020 we have curated multiple conversations with global leaders that have helped our members learn new things and get smarter. After 33 podcasts and +2000 minutes of premium content, here are the top six Network Capital podcasts for 2020.


We wrote 300,000+ words this year and we are attempting to condense all insights into 300 words. Links are attached so feel free to dive deep into any concept or mental model that piques your curiosity. You might already have read some of our published works in Harvard Business ReviewWorld Economic Forum and Utkarsh’s best-selling book “The Seductive Illusion of Hard Work” but this newsletter also contains important reminders for all of us in the year ahead.

Afterthought: I am wondering whether, as we rush through our daily lives to accomplish the 100 things we need to do to be on schedule for greatness, we really stopped to reflect if this is what we really want, if we are not somehow fooled.

Your Network Capital Team

⚡️If you are new to Network Capital, start by going through our most popular - masterclass (Career Principles with Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller); newsletter(Writing Fast and Slow); and podcast (The art of writing with Dr. Shashi Tharoor)

🔮 As a subscriber you get access to ALL masterclassespodcastsnewslettersfellowships and 1:1 mentoring sessions

💝 Connect and network with other Network Capital members here. You can sign up for a networking session and our serendipity tool here.

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💞 Contact varya@networkcapital.co or aditi.nayak@networkcapital.co for any help.

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