The Brandon Zhang Show
#029 "George Mack - Mental Models, Sensory Deprivation and Attracting Luck"
Nov 18, 2020
Today, George Mack joins the show talk about attracting luck, what high-performance lessons we can learn from Josh Waitzkin, sensory deprivation tanks, and the mental models behind video games. George specializes in growth marketing for e-commerce and tech businesses, and he studies how mental models influence our thinking.
1. George's Twitter
2. Brandon's Twitter
3. Brandon's Website
How to Operate
Thread on Josh Waitzkin
Nicholas Nassim Taleb Bot
Thread on Incorrect Experts
3 Ways to Attract More Luck
5 Key Takeaways:
- The Lindy effect is a theory that the future life expectancy of something or some idea is proportional to their current age, think of it almost like a half-life. So if a book has been around for 10 years you can assume it will be around for 10 more.
- When you have specific knowledge in something, so for example, going back to growth marketing, say for example, the Social Dilemma, the film that came out, there'll be specific things about data and what people can do with Facebook ads, which I know isn't true. And I'm seeing it in the Financial Times, or I'm seeing it in the Economist, like publications I respect, and you're then in a very, very weird phase, because you go, "okay, that's clearly not true." But the only reason I know this is from spending years in it to have a lot of nuance and a lot of depth within that field. And the interesting thing that then arises you go Oh, shit, okay, so that for every other article, which I had no nuance or specific knowledge in, has probably the exact same thing. And, and it's a very, that's, that's a very, like, red pill moment in the matrix.
- [On sensory deprivation chambers] So you basically enter a tank that is sort of 500 pounds of Epsom salt, you close the lid, the water is heated to the temperature of your body, no sight like you can't see anything, you can't hear anything. It's the darkest thing you've you've ever seen. And there's no stimulation. So that is very much the opposite to modern life.
- Yeah, so I find whenever I get stuck on a project, I will break it down into a video game. So a clear example of this, of how it actually looks is I wanted to learn about programming and I wanted to create a bot that would just churn content out and I set that as level 10. And then let's just work all the way back. What is level one, and level one for me is always let's just try and map out the other levels with enough insight that I have right now. Level two, let's just find three good articles that explain it. Level three is find the simplest instruction from those articles and write it out. And then you begin to build that and you have constant momentum. And you feel like you're winning at every, every scale. Whereas when you don't do that, because you're maybe you're at level five, and you're like, I'm not at level 10 and you quit too early.
- Even if they were just hired, or they've been there from day one, they are all constantly repeating the simple sentence back to themselves. Whereas if you gave them a sort of 200 page guidebook with over 72 principles, would it have worked? Definitely not. But having like, one simple sentence that you can repeat back to yourself defines the company culture.