Louis Pereira

Founder of AudioPen

Louis lives a dual life. During the day, he works with his family business in the offline world in Goa. At night, he builds assets on the internet – most recently, a product called AudioPen.

What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?

I live a dual life. During the day, I work with my family business in the offline world. At night, I build assets on the internet.

On a typical day, I’m juggling tasks from both my lives, and doing my best to time-box them in ways that avoid overflows. I don’t have a productivity system or anything. I just try to complete what’s important on that day as fast as I can, without sacrificing the quality of the output.

I think productivity hacks are overblown – the best productivity hack is to like what you do, and I’ve been fortunate to have my life trend in a direction where that is becoming a reality.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I just build and ship an initial version as fast as I can. Over the years, I’ve learned the hard way that ideas are worthless. I’ve also learned that I’m terrible at predicting what will work and what will fail. The ideas I’ve had the most success with were those that were complete accidents. And the ones I thought would succeed ended up failing.

So now I just ship stuff. And double down on what works.

What’s one trend that excites you?

In my internet life, I’m a lone ranger. And I love it. I’m excited about building a one-person business that I can uniquely tailor to my life.

With today’s tools and technology, I think it’s only going to become more mainstream.

What is one habit that helps you be productive?

I postpone boring tasks until I’m forced to do them. This way, I end up completing them much faster, although it does come with the downside of being a nagging item on my to-do list for longer than I would like.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Just do what you’re interested in. The dots will connect looking backward.

Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you.

Migrating to a different geography for work is a bad decision in the long run (unless it is driven by compulsion). In the long run, you end up sacrificing too much in terms of local social ties in order to attempt to obtain high status.

What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?

Eat with two forks 🙂

So much better than eating with a spoon and a fork. And more convenient than eating with a knife and a fork.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

Nap or shower. Both help my mind relax.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?

I follow my interests, make many random bets, and double down on the ones that work. In other words, I make noise and listen for signals. And I always aim to do things I enjoy. Because otherwise, I’d give up before a bet paid off.

What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?

I built a real estate company with a friend when I was 23. It failed to reach the scale I hoped it would. I hated working in the industry and was badly suited to it.

We ended up selling it off and moving on in life.

That experience taught me the importance of founder-market fit.

What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?

If you’re into building real-world businesses – build a chain of Shawarma carts. The unit economics are amazing, the business operations are simple, and the supply chain can be centralized.

What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

ToDoist is my default to-do list. It’s amazing. I’ve tried a bunch of productivity tools, but this ToDoist strikes the fine balance between being simple enough to use quickly, but advanced enough for more complex task management. And it’s free.

What is the best $100 you recently spent?

I spent $3 on an eye mask that helps me sleep better. My room faces east, so it gets really bright in the mornings. I had a choice – spend ~$800 on blackout curtains, or $3 on an eye mask. I went with the eye mask. No regrets.

Do you have a favorite book or podcast from which you’ve received much value?

A book that’s impacted me more than most –The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium, by Martin Gurri.

What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?

Modern Family. I love watching shows that are light, fun, and don’t need me to think too much after a long day at work. This is exactly that.

Key learnings:

  • Embrace randomness. Try a lot of stuff. Double down on what works.
  • Don’t over-index on productivity hacks. Just try to do things you’re interested in, and productivity will take care of itself.
  • Always consider founder-market fit before committing to a business idea.