Monopolies & Reverse FOMO

Sunday Summary — 01.24.21

Visual of the Week


Tangentially related, this 12 year old article from Tim Ferriss:

“It’s lonely at the top. 99% of the world is convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre middle-ground. The level of competition is thus fiercest for “realistic” goals, paradoxically making them the most time- and energy-consuming. It is easier to raise $10,000,000 than it is $1,000,000.”

How to Build a Personal Monopoly

On Thursday, I’ll be joining David Perell for a live workshop on How to Build Personal Monopolies:

“The Internet uniquely rewards people with Personal Monopolies because it rewards differentiation. But just as global markets increase the upside of having a Personal Monopoly because every creator can broadcast their ideas to a global audience, they make it hard to create one because of all the competition.”

RSVP to the live event, I look forward to seeing you there.


When David reached out for a photo to go with the above event, I realized I only had the stoic, unenthused image I’d been using as a profile photo for the last couple of years. (A freebie headshot from an art show in NYC)

When I saw it blown up on the event page, it made me wonder why anyone would want to attend an event with such a miserable looking character.

So I dug back through the photo set and found something a bit more approachable.

Got me thinking about the limited context a single profile image lends the text we post on the internet.

These emails are written by the person on the right:

FOMO in Reverse

I spent the tail-end of this week with drastically reduced screen time, and I must say it’s been a pleasure.

It got me thinking about an idea — the opposite side of the FOMO that drives us to constantly refresh our feed. We’re wired to forage for information in the same way we used to forage for food (read this for more), but we don’t seem nearly as concerned by the possibility of ingesting something poisonous.

I think we massively underestimate the negative consequences of being exposed to things we never wanted to see in the first place. While in search of agency over our minds and environment, our proximity to the algorithmic engagement-bait of social media deserves the most scrutiny.

Extra Curricular

I cracked open a bottle of shower gel from an old hotel stay earlier in the week and was instantly transported back to an otherwise very forgettable hotel room.

I’ve long been fascinated by the relationship between scent and memory but haven’t spent any time learning about it. Celia and I intentionally bought a different perfume for her to wear on our wedding day after being introduced to this idea, and we now have access to time machine of sorts. Highly recommend.

Here’s a great short article on “involuntary memory” now referred to as The Proust Effect after Marcel Proust’s body of work.

Wishing you and yours a healthy and prosperous week,