This is a blog aimed at familiarizing ideas and concepts from unfamiliar fields and building an online mental toolbox to help you make better decisions and of course, think better.
A place for ideas, concepts and mental models from everywhere.
Exploring the intersections between thinking, finance and tech.
Nootropics, aka, smart drugs, are supplements that enhance your cognitive functions like memory and creativity. Caffeine is one of the most common nootropic and it is found to increase alertness and attention. Another compound that is shown be psychoactive is L-Theanine. It is usually found in tea and has been shown to mitigate the negative effects of caffeine. L-Theanine seems to increase brain concentrations of serotonin and dopamine.
Unlike NZT from the movie Limitless, nootropics in real life have a much milder effect. And this comes with a catch. Most of these drugs have recorded side effect both short term and long term.
THere are other drug-free options to achieve cognitive benefits. Exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, Blue light in the morning are some examples.
Users are exposed to a number of platforms in the digital world. Each platform has it's own quirks.
The typical strategy from a creator/publisher point of view is to create a core piece of content. Modify it for different platforms and publish them strategically. There are services that allow you to do this fairly simply.
Then there are open protocols in this space like RSS which enable sharing of text based content. Podcasts also follow a standard format allowing a creator to publish to different podcast players at the same time. Spotify announced an OpenAccess platform that will allow creators to publish their paid audio content on Spotify while still maintaining their direct relationship with their audience.
The need from the user point of view is quite clear here. We have preferences between different types of content. Some might like to read a full-fledged article or watch a Youtube video on the topic, or read a condensed twitter thread or, listen to it as a podcast form. While the underlying content is the same, the delivery channel is different.
The ways in which the user can interact with the content is also different in each case. In twitter they can retweet it or comment/like a twitter thread. While a blog post can be shared with others over email or any messaging social media app they use.
Monetization is different in these platforms as well. In Youtube the primary forms of monetization is either through the built-in AdSense or having In-Video sponsors. While the monetization for a blog/podcast could be a direct subscription model with individual users.
Prudential Algebra is a decision making algebra first invented by Ben Franklin. To boil it down it is a balancing act between the pros and cons of all the options involved in the decision stretched in a time frame of a few days.
The method as written by Ben Franklin in a letter to his friend..
In the Affair of so much Importance to you, wherein you ask my Advice, I cannot for want of sufficient Premises, advise you what to determine, but if you please I will tell you how.
When these difficult Cases occur, they are difficult chiefly because while we have them under Consideration all the Reasons pro and con are not present to the Mind at the same time; but sometimes one Set present themselves, and at other times another, the first being out of Sight. Hence the various Purposes or Inclinations that alternately prevail, and the Uncertainty that perplexes us.
To get over this, my Way is, to divide half a Sheet of Paper by a Line into two Columns, writing over the one Pro, and over the other Con. Then during three or four Days Consideration I put down under the different Heads short Hints of the different Motives that at different Times occur to me for or against the Measure. When I have thus got them all together in one View, I endeavour to estimate their respective Weights; and where I find two, one on each side, that seem equal, I strike them both out: If I find a Reason pro equal to some two Reasons con, I strike out the three. If I judge some two Reasons con equal to some three Reasons pro, I strike out the five; and thus proceeding I find at length where the Balance lies; and if after a Day or two of farther Consideration nothing new that is of Importance occurs on either side, I come to a Determination accordingly.
And tho’ the Weight of Reasons cannot be taken with the Precision of Algebraic Quantities, yet when each is thus considered separately and comparatively, and the whole lies before me, I think I can judge better, and am less likely to take a rash Step; and in fact I have found great Advantage from this kind of Equation, in what may be called Moral or Prudential Algebra.
One aspect about this method is the time frame recommended between different steps. There is enough time for both our conscious mind to spit out everything we know about it and our unconscious mind to spell out what it picked up on the matter. This also spills into a decision journal. Over time, the record of each prudential decision made would be a great feedback loop to assess flaws in your decision making process.