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Fifty Two. / The Behavioral Lens Edition.
On Evolve or Die, Watch Microbrands, and Embracing Our Inner Weird.
As we get through the first quarter of quite the unpredictable 2023, I’ve been trying to approach life more through a behavioral lens. In times where people are more often letting their emotions get the best of them, things like rational things and eternal genuine curiosity are being pushed to the side. Some of these actions still get to me, especially as I’m getting Le Cinq back to a good cadence, and even though I’m trying for it to feel non-invasive, I’ve lost handful of subscribers along this path (including one who’s contributed an edition in the past).
It’s obviously not the best feeling, but I’ve been trying to apply this new behavioral lens to it, trying to understand (a) why it happened, but more importantly, (b) if I should truly fret about it. I’ve been able to get my rational brain back in the driver’s seat, but it’s a hole that we all have fallen into, and depending on the type of hole, isn’t always as easy to get out of.
The behavioral lens has two kinds: Psychology and Economics. These days, I analyze my daily personal and professional highs and lows through both, as the Psychology lens focuses on my response to them, and the Economics lens focuses on a big-picture perspective. The two intertwine with each other; if people are not happy, morale is down, which leads to decreased productivity, and ultimately a negative economic response.
Happiness feeds productivity. Productivity feeds a successful market. A successful market feeds a successful economy and community. And a successful community feeds the opportunity to create more benefits to its constituents, which, well, should generate more happiness, right?
I highly recommend trying out this perspective on your daily lives, and if you do, let me know if it helped or not in the comments!
What are you currently working on?
It’s been great helping the team at Ruckus these days as I work through things. The best kinds of teams are the ones who are undeniably scrappy and focused on bringing their best work forward. Their client list definitely shows that.
Lots of exciting things coming down the pipe on the OMP side as well! If you’re around on March 16th, our next showcase of students is coming up in NYC. You can find tickets here.
And finally, VHS Ventures is a slow but steady process. It’s nice to be able to get more insight into the fundraising climate, but it’s right now all about rushing in and finding the right people to back and grow!
What are you currently excited about?
Note: “Excited” is probably the wrong word for this part; I would use “concerned but optimistic” this time.
I’ve been a longtime fan of Monocle, from their gorgeous shops to their solid collection of online newsletter, podcasts, events, products, and things in between. I was also a longtime subscriber to their print magazine, and the publication has some great writers and content.
That said, I’ve been having a bit of a dilemma when it comes to the head, Tyler Brulé. It’s no secret that he is a fan of the European lifestyle and mindset compared to American society and culture (and it’s also no secret that a significant percentage of Europeans look down on the latter).
While the American idea of diversity and inclusion is obviously not perfect (especially in modern times, where systemic, racial, and income inequalities have been created by the loophole generators in capitalism), it bewilders me that Tyler’s argument shows that the rest of the world’s systems, anchored by historical religious and cultural norms, have no place for a necessary (and yes, progressive) evolution.
Furthermore, Tyler’s conversations with “friends and policymakers” in other countries bolster the fact that parents are straying away from sending their kids to US colleges, as if it’s almost a brainwashing effect that would be created. (It almost feels like the “know your place” mindset hasn’t left the household.)
Fortunately, most countries that are often “trapped” by those norms, norms set by an older generation, are being challenged more and more by younger generations. Look at what’s happening in places like Iran, India, and parts of the Middle East. We’re lucky that Gen Z (and millennials, for that matter) generate their thinking with behavioral lenses, questioning outdated systems and pushing for real evolution versus staying in their lanes.
There’s still a lot of work to be done, but the message from these younger generations, frustrated with what they’re stuck with thanks to their elders’ choices, is simple: Evolve or die.
What’s a story or article that you're currently thinking about?
The New York Times Magazine profiled Donovan Danhausen, better known as Danhausen on the professional wrestling organization All Elite Wrestling.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re into the world of sports entertainment or not, this is just such a fun read to get into, because it also taps into and celebrates our inner weird, especially when you can channel it into something you absolutely LOVE doing every. Single. Day.
“I think we’re all weirdos, and they can connect with that. In a good way.
What’s a product you’re currently obsessed with?
I’ve been intrigued by the rise of microbrands in the watch world. Yes, the luxury space will continue to be dominated by the Rolexes, Cartiers, Omegas, IWCs, APs, ABCDEFGs (sorry, couldn’t resist), but what makes the space unique compared to me is how beloved some young upstarts can become. I have watches from brands like Farer and Brew, but two I’ve been loving lately are one I own and one I’m watching from the sidelines:
I own the Every-One by Vague Watch Company, a Japanese brand that originally sold vintage Rolexes and turned into building gorgeous homage watches. The line to me (Every-One) notes that great things should be enjoyed by all, and the tropic dial of the Rolex Explorer that it pays homage to was Ian Fleming’s personal sidekick. (Being a Bond superfan, that obviously sold me.)
I’m watching the Model No.1 GMT by Lorca, a new brand by Jesse Marchant, a Canadian singer-songwriter who wanted to make a 36MM watch that can handle his travels (GMT hand), swimming and hiking (200M water resistance), and a strong mix between casual and formal. It’s quite a beautiful piece.
Wild Card: What’s an item you can’t shake your mind off of?
I’ve been spending less and less time on social media these days, primarily because Twitter (outside of 2 private DM groups dedicated to Knicks fans and sneakerheads) has felt more like a cesspool, full of negativity, sh*tposting, and people just casually throwing out such hateful, hurtful things without any thought to the consequences they create or set for themselves. How on earth did we get here??
It’s truly healthier to approach life in a positive, optimistic (but reasonably cautious) manner, where eternal curiosity drives the way forward. Can we achieve that staying online during most of our days, especially when adults are now averaging at least 4 hours a day on screens and kids a whopping minimum of 8 hours a day??
Yes, as long as we truly unplug, explore, learn, and expose ourselves to the wonders outside and in the fun corners of the internet.
(PS: Need a place to start online? Try here.)
"Reputation is what people think of you. Character is what you are."
- Oxford, The King’s Man
~ C O L O P H O N ~
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