Every entrepreneur—and especially every apparent overnight success—has their own story. This is an exclusive interview and story of Delos Chang, investor multi-millionaire at age 25, entrepreneur and magician.
A brief background: Delos Chang began his entrepreneurship journey at the age of 19 after winning the $15,000 1st place prize at Dartmouth College’s Greener Ventures Entrepreneurship Competition. After graduating Magna Cum Laude, he moved to San Francisco to pursue his startup dreams at a solar financing company, which was later acquired. He now spends most of his time investing in technology, performing magic, meditating as well as pursuing other hobbies.
“One of my guiding questions in life is ‘where do I want to struggle beautifully? And why?’”, Chang says. “When I think about this question, I find it helps to think also what my values are and then from there, I can understand what my real goals are. Freedom has always been my one of my highest values. So on one level, that means financial freedom or time-location independence: being able to wake up when I choose to, work from anywhere and do whatever interests me at the moment. If I want to become a professional magician or spend months shooting billiards, why can’t I do that? Or an even better question: what would it be like to take the leap and do that? The other aspect of freedom is internal and emotional freedom: that’s a much harder rung on the self-actualization ladder but for me, it means largely giving up the preferences of the mind and accepting things as they are.”
“Freedom is a cup with which to fill something. Once I knew what my values and real goals were, I quickly also realized that that these values inform my marginal utility of wealth curve. That is, to say, the incremental dollar is only useful insofar as it serves your real goals. Most people’s wealth curves are likely logarithmic but the mind has a funny habit of making the curve seem linear because we hedonically adapt to our circumstances. Add into that equation that we are usually trading time for wealth, even if it’s only headspace. So the opportunity cost is actually quite high if you’re not doing what you love or rather, loving what you do. Dalio, the billionaire investor, has a great saying: you can have almost anything you want, but you can’t have everything.”
“For me, that was the art of magic. After investing for a while, I wanted to see what it would be like to dedicate myself more fully to the craft. I worked at a local NYC magic shop for a couple months before someone liked what they saw and hired me to perform a professional gig. Life has a funny way of opening doors for you if you are willing to walk the path. Those were some of the happiest times of my life because I was growing in a dimension that was in accordance with my values. In many ways, I think humans seek not the summit but actually just the satisfaction of the climb.”