Nerd Corner #53

Made to Stick, Boolean logic, and more!

Hi All!

I just noticed that last week’s email marked the first year of Nerd Corner! I started out just wanting to build a consistent practice of writing every day and suddenly a year went by. What a year! I’ve learned so much just by writing these emails, simplifying concepts, and finding cool and interesting links to share with you, that I’m excited about what’s next.

I want to thank you all for reading, sharing cool and fun stuff, and enjoying the ride along with me! 🚀

What I am reading 📚

Made to Stick was the last book in the “Marketing” section of my 2020 reading list and is by far my favorite one of them.

As the authors point out, the book is a complement to Malcolm Gladwell’s famous book “The Tipping Point”. While that book explores the moment in which ideas become a trend, go viral, explode in popularity, Made to Stick dissects ideas, and finds common patterns that they all must have to become popular and stick to our minds.

Chip and Dan use an—aptly formed—acronym that serves as a checklist for sticky ideas: SUCCCES. They argue that all sticky ideas must have these ingredients in order to stick:

  • Simple: powerful ideas are simple and short. Think about your favorite quote or aphorism. They are short and to the point.

  • Unexpected: we’re evolutionary hard-wired to notice things out of the ordinary. We notice when something breaks the pattern or surprises us. Sticky ideas show us something we didn’t know. Think about your favorite movie, book, or essay, what was the tipping point, the hook, did you expect it? Probably not.

  • Concrete: The more relatable and real a story is, the stickier it can become. We are not good with numbers, so statistics and abstract concepts are hard for us to follow. Make the story personal, and it’ll be easier to remember.

  • Credible. Of course, the idea must be credible and credibility stems from the previous points. If you make your idea simple and concrete it will be easier to make it credible.

  • Emotional. For an idea to stick, it must appeal to emotions. Emotions are so powerful that we’ll most likely remember something that made us feel very good or very bad.

  • Stories. All the sticky ideas studied by Chip and Dan tell a story. Great movies, books, and even products always tell a story that combines all the above elements. 

Nerd Corner 🤓

My cousin Roberto (co-author of @firearmsrats, you should check them out!) and I had a discussion about Boolean logic over the weekend. 

Despite its simple rules (it only has three basic operations, AND, NOT, OR) this algebra is very powerful and is the building block of any computer (at a high level you can think of your laptop as a giant network of interconnected logic gates). 

Without going into the mathematical detail of it, boolean algebra is very practical, and knowing a bit about it can help you find stuff faster. In fact, most services we use have a search bar and they all support some sort of logic to filter the results. Let’s see them in action:

  • Twitter’s “advanced search” provides a syntax to write custom queries that return you exactly what you need. For example, in the image below I can quickly search for all the Tweets I’ve written that contains the word “running” in them:

So, the next time you need to better filter your results try using boolean operators. Regardless of the service or app, you’re using if it has a search box, chances are they support some of these operations!

Cool Finds 🤯

  • Costco is one of my favorite companies. It is the original Amazon: subscriptions, low prices, and logistics. And it never stops to amaze me. This article tells the story of Kirkland products and how they’re made:

    they get the best manufacturers in the world — who already have products on Costco shelves — to make Kirkland products.

    "Costco forces manufacturers to compete with a better version of themselves."

  • Long time reader Nel is a fan of extreme team sports like Florence’s calcio storico. It turns out that other countries have their own crazy sports. For example, the Japanese have the Boutaoshi, a full-contact war style game that finishes when the last man standing (on a pole) is brought to the ground!

  • This diagram tells you what to wear when going out for a run depending on the weather. I’m sure I’ll be referring back to it once winter is back!

I have two questions for you! 😎

What would you like to see more of in these emails? What topics should we cover next? 

Hit the reply button to this email and tell me more!

Do you know someone who might enjoy what you read here today? 

Simply forward them this email and tell them to subscribe!  

Until next week,