Crashing Up - Mimetic Theory, Memory Training, and Logo Stories

Greetings from snowy New York (again)! I spent this weekend rebuilding my personal website and taking some time to see friends. Next weekend, I’ll be in Boston. If you have any recommendations for good restaurants and COVID-friendly things to do, I’d love to hear them!

Here’s what I’d like to share this week:

  • On Friday, I sat down with Tommy Searle, the co-founder & CEO of Wellnest, a brand new social mindfulness and self-care app. This may sound familiar to some of you. I shared it as a Tool of the Week a few months back and it’s quickly become one of my favorite apps to use. We had an amazing conversation about the idea behind Wellnest, early user insights, 2021 product roadmap, the future of social mental health, founder mental health struggles and much more.

Listen Here: Apple | Spotify | Anchor | Breaker

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Let’s get into it. Here’s a weekly collection of things that I’ve been learning from or enjoying recently…

📕What I’ve Been Reading: 

In the early years of WWII, hundreds of thousands of American Allied troops were stationed across multiple South Pacific islands. Large cargo planes would drop packages of cigarettes, whiskey, playing cards and other resources to keep the soldiers satisfied. Sometimes the soldiers would pass these items along to the island natives, many of whom had never seen such extravagances. Once the troops left, some of the natives gathered on the runways where the planes had landed mimicking the air traffic controller motions and other aviation signals. They were imitating the external behaviors of the soldiers, hoping that some of the good fortune fell their way. Of course, it didn’t.

This form of imitation is all too prevalent in the world of entrepreneurship. Cargo Cult Startups breaks down the rampant mimetic tendencies and metaphysical desires amongst the startup and creative industries. I’m as guilty as the next guy.

📺What I’ve Been Listening To:

The human memory is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it gets. You can also train it to do incredible things.

Sean McVay is the coach of the Los Angeles Rams. The youngest coach in the NFL, McVay led the struggling Rams to 11-5 in his first season netting him the 2017 Coach of the Year Award. In 2018, he led them to the SuperBowl. Part of McVay’s success comes from his rainman-like ability to recall any football play from his coaching career. Take a look at this video:

In this episode of Adam Grant’s WorkLife podcast, Adam shines more light into McVay’s encyclopedic mental play library and shares the amazing story of how Joshua Foerr went from being a forgetful journalist to a U.S. Memory Champion in only twelve months.

If you want to watch more of Sean McVay rattling off old plays like they’re elementary multiplication tables, here’s another video.

🤝 Kobe’s Loyalty

We all know that Kobe Bryant was a man of many values. Hard work, fearlessness, family all immediately come to mind. Loyalty and trust also sit high on this list.

A chance encounter between Bryant and a young UC Irvine Assistant Coach, Ryan Badrtalei led to a familial-like bond between the two that stretched far beyond the court.

🔋Tesla Logo

I’ve always loved learning the stories behind logos and making sense of the hidden details that are often missed at first (or thousandth) glance. The arrow in the Fedex logo or the Baskin Robbin’s “31” are two of my favorites.

Tesla’s is more creative than it seems.

🧰Tool of the Week:

Illustration Kit is a collection of premium open source illustrations updated weekly. They have over 55 characters featured in 110 scenes providing you with a relevant customizable illustration for any project, video, or website.

That’s it for this week. Let me know what you thought of this edition by clicking one of the links below. All feedback will be used to make this the best it can be.

If you learned something new today, I’d love if you passed along the knowledge to your most curious friends and family. I can’t wait to ~hopefully~ share my new website with you next Monday.