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Saks Snacks #27: Mimetic Desire | Movement is Medicine | liike on lääke
Psychedelic Sector Growth | Vimazi's Launch | Hacking Metabolic Health for entrepreneurs
Hello amigos, from San Francisco 👋,
Let’s get into today’s content:
🔁 Mimetic Desire
🥑 Snacks of the Week (x3) - wellness tourism, psychedelic startups growing sector growth, hacking metabolic health for entrepreneurs
💰 Capital Raise Radar - Vimazi’s customized running shoes
🎙️Podcast of the Week - Mimetic Desire
🧪 Experiment of the Month - fueling for endurance race with Levels’ CGM
💥 Spark Moment of the Week - Movement is Medicine
#1 🔁 Mimetic Desire
The concept of mimetic desire has been living rent free in my mind the past few months. The TLDR about mimetic desire: We’re all just copycats…
We copy other people automatically, spontaneously, and unconsciously. We’re especially likely to copy people who are more successful than us, especially in moments of difficulty or uncertainty.
Mimetic desire is everywhere in the world driving our actions, and fear how it’s impacting our younger generations growing up in a digitally-connected world entrenched with social media that often portrays fake lives.
Social media’s impact on youth’s model of desires: From the ages of 8-10, sometimes younger, children have devices in their pockets projecting the desires of billions of people from every corner of the globe into a child’s brain, heart, and mind. Think about the downstream mental health consequences of this.
My positive models of desire: this got me thinking… who are my models of desire and how can I exclusively curate positive models of desire? Having positive models of desire act as a shortcut of sorts… it can serve as an “embedded wisdom in the world” so we don’t have to spend precious mental energy every day. Good positive systems of desire do that for us. We don’t have to wake up each morning and decide what we want, or what’s the most important thing to want.
Understanding human nature: There was a haunting 1-liner from Rene Girard’s book that Burgis mentioned: Can any of you relate?
"Man is like a creature that starts lifting over all the rocks on Earth looking for the 1 thing he really wants, and comes to find/decide in his mind that the one thing that he wants must be under the only rock that's too heavy for him to lift.”
What’s the takeaway? Rather than continue seeking for more, learn to love what you have.
It’ll literally be life transforming.
❤️ Love What You have
Stop in your tracks right now - what’s a narrative you’ve been told yourself the entire day that you can just knock it off? What can you take the next 60 seconds for to be deeply grateful for? What if you brought that mentality into tomorrow?
Question why you want that thing, promotion, material success, etc. you’re chasing. Zoom out and recognize mimetic forces are at play. I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t want that thing, but I’m telling you to put it under the microscope.
I must do the same everyday and balance the careful teeter-tottering of relentlessly chasing more while also being deeply grateful for what I have and where I’m at right now.
Health-tech impact: We’re social creatures that influence each other deeply. Mimetic forces are at play driving the intersections of health-tech too.
A few questions I’m posing to myself to explore in future editions:
What are the suggested desires that are emerging within health and tech?
What are the suggested desires from the emergence of social media? Outside of hot girl walks and “matching sets” stemming from TikTok culture, what trends and desires permeate deep in our DNA? As I sat in my barber’s chair and watched Aleve’s messages flash on the muted TV, I couldn’t help but think of big pharma’s $5 billion spent on advertising’s effect on our subconscious desires.
Curiosity piqued? If you want to really dig deep on this, David Perell’s essay on Peter Thiel is a great (but long) starting point.
#2 🥑 Snacks of the week
Want to learn more about the psychedelic mindset shift and the next-gen startups that will continue driving sector growth? Check out this article.
Historical TLDR: As I'd written previously, the culture wars have changed since the U.S. criminalized psychedelics during the War on Drugs in the 1970s. "This, along with how clinical trials were conducted, shuttered early research into psychedelics as treatment for depression and alcoholism". Perhaps you’ve checked out or heard about the latest Netflix doc with Michael Pollen - that series or this thread below is worth checking out.
Our energy and cognitive performance are inextricably linked to the food we eat. A few themes stood out to me from the article: How Founders Can Hack Metabolic Health For Peak Performance. Why is it important?
Sustainably eating in a way that keeps blood sugar stable means you’ll probably see an improvement in energy, mood, and cognitive performance — and be the best-performing version of yourself at work and in general
🐘 in the room: despite seeing all of this data reconfirmed time and time again, it’s important to address the elephant in the room: adhering to “tight feeding windows” is hard. Food is there for us as a comfort mechanism. Eating has so many emotional connections, and there’s broader implications with dopamine reward pathways and how we’re stimulated that greater self awareness and knowledge can help us regulate and be at our best everyday.
Merely narrowing your feeding window can be effective, but this can sometimes be difficult for founders because we often use food as a comfort mechanism or to deliver a burst of energy throughout the day.
Wellness tourism: Wellness consumers are willing to pay for experiences that promote holistic well-being. All sorts of health, fitness, and hospitality brands will continue building for this next-gen consumer wellness curious traveler. This Fitt Insider article explores “Destination Wellness”.
Catering to weary travelers, AmEx tapped Calm to open a relaxation space inside IAH’s Centurion Lounge. Spinning up partnerships, Peloton bikes are available at Capital One’s DFW lounge and Virgin’s Heathrow Clubhouse.
Consumers will continue paying a premium for experiences that enhance their mind, body, and spirit.
💰#3 Capital Raise Radar: Vimazi
This week check out a startup I met a few weeks ago at the SF Marathon Expo. Vimazi is a running shoe brand that’s calibrated and designed for the pace that you run at. Shoes should be customized to the runner as there’s different forces applied depending on the pace each runner is at.
The Portland company’s recent $1M raised brings total seed funding amount to $2.6M, ahead of its consumer debut launch in September. Check out 2 other finds that Alex & I had at the expo below.
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🧪#4 Experiment of the Month
I’d experimented with a Levels’ CGM the past month while writing an essay for their blog on how first-time runners can best fuel for their races with proper nutrition strategy. It was fun learning more and experimenting with different foods before and during my longer runs. If you’re curious about anything in particular as it pertains to running / endurance sports, comment below!
#5 🎙️ Podcast of the week: mimetic desire
Tacit knowledge: Luke Burgis gave me a definition for something we all experience in life - that gut feel that you have. The inarticulate knowledge. Tacit knowledge is undervalued in our society. We constantly want to be able to explain the science and give the hard reasons for everything, but a lot of life doesn’t work like that.
#6 💥 Spark Moment of the Week - movement
Rediscovering a Finnish 🇫🇮 term that’s as relevant as ever today.
Rereading books is a joy of mine. Repetition is the mother of all knowledge!
This week I’ll connect two of my daily moment observations that were separated by 638 days. They both were reminders of a life enhancer for me… movement.
Movement is medicine. We must wake up from our slumber, recognize how sedentary we’ve become, and recognize that it’s medicine. I appreciated stumbling upon this spark moment I’d captured earlier in the year when rereading Sisu, The Finnish Art of Courage.
4/9/22 Daily moment: I love a Finnish term: "liike on lääke". It translates to "movement is medicine". Last week was National Walking Day and it reminded me of this term I learned from the book, Sisu.
I've noticed its truth in my own life. I'm a worse version of myself if I don't move. I'm crabby, sluggish, and a less inspired version of myself. I'm the least happy on my "off/recovery" days.
In an effort to counter this, I've substituted “off days” with walks outside, which has about a 99% success rate of enhancing my mood... The challenge is just getting out the door. Today and this week, I challenge you to embody liike on laake, get some movement in, even when it’s not National Walking Day.
As I’ve thought more about what our country needs most, it’s light movement. Something to counter our sedentary patterns.
Light movement as a way to problem solve?
In addition to light movement as a mood booster, it gets our minds primed to be problem solvers. This was a separate spark moment that struck me 2 years ago when listening to Deep Work (great book) on a run.
7/11/2020 Daily Moment:
Our minds have evolved to consistently go in loops when problem-solving. When you recognize this, intentionally take that next step and direct energy to solving a problem and continuing to unravel the core problem.
Another concept: productive meditation. These are the sessions of daily activities such as daily walks, driving, and restful exercises where you can focus on deep thought and problem-solving.
Learned this concept while listening to Deep Work, finishing a run in the rain.
Reflecting on this now, I have “productive meditations” anytime I run.
Endurance sports are a powerful modality that fosters high-quality alone time and self connection that enables us to make intuitive, heart-driven decisions.
The beautiful thing? There’s so many forms of “productive meditation”.
Meditation often gets boxed into the mere act of sitting on a pillow alone, but there’s countless restful activities that foster this same sense of connection.
I encourage all of us to carve out a few extra minutes this week to tap into your parasympathetic nature and make time for those activities.
✨Endnote + Calls to action
Reading is and should be fun. As always, I encourage you to explore what interests you most. What did you think? Please share any and all feedback.
I’m Adam Saks, a Digital Strategy Lead at Google, and a creator focused on the emerging intersections of health and tech. If we share some interests…
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Have a creative week ahead,