Mental Models

“To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions

Charlie Munger summed up the approach to practical wisdom through understanding mental models by saying:

“Well, the first rule is that you can’t really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try and bang ’em back. If the facts don’t hang together on a latticework of theory, you don’t have them in a usable form. You’ve got to have models in your head. And you’ve got to array your experience both vicarious and direct on this latticework of models. You may have noticed students who just try to remember and pound back what is remembered. Well, they fail in school and in life. You’ve got to hang experience on a latticework of models in your head.”


if you know all the concepts and principles listed below (only 109…), you will know how to interpret most of things that will happen to you during your life…

General Thinking Concepts

1. The Map is not the Territory

2. Circle of Competence

3. First Principles Thinking

4. Thought Experiment

5. Second-Order Thinking

6. Probabilistic Thinking

7. Inversion

8. Occam’s Razor

9. Hanlon’s Razor


1. Permutations and Combinations

2. Algebraic Equivalence

3. Randomness

4. Stochastic Processes (Poisson, Markov, Random Walk)

5. Compounding

6. Multiplying by Zero

7. Churn

8. Law of Large Numbers

9. Bell Curve/Normal Distribution

10. Power Laws

11. Regression to the Mean

12. Order of Magnitude


1. Scale

2. Law of Diminishing Returns

3. Pareto Principle

4. Feedback Loops (and Homeostasis)

5. Chaos Dynamics (Butterfly Effect)/ (Sensitivity to Initial Conditions)

6. Preferential Attachment (Cumulative Advantage)

7. Emergence

8. Irreducibility 

9. Tragedy of the Commons

10. Gresham’s Law

11. Algorithms

12. Fragility – Robustness – Antifragility

13. Backup Systems/Redundancy

14. Margin of Safety

15. Criticality

16. Network Effects

17. Via Negativa – Omission/Removal/Avoidance of Harm

18. The Lindy Effect

19. Renormalization Group

20. Spring-loading

21. Complex Adaptive Systems

Physical World

1. Laws of Thermodynamics

2. Reciprocity

3. Velocity

4. Relativity

5. Activation Energy

6. Catalysts

7. Leverage

8. Inertia

9. Alloying

10. Viscosity

The Biological World

1. Incentives

2. Cooperation (Including Symbiosis and Prisoner’s Dilemma)

3. Tendency to Minimize Energy Output (Mental & Physical)

4. Adaptation

5. Evolution by Natural Selection

6. The Red Queen Effect (Co-evolutionary Arms Race)

7. Replication

8. Hierarchical and Other Organizing Instincts

9. Self-Preservation Instincts

10. Simple Physiological Reward-Seeking

11. Exaptation

12. Ecosystems

13. Niches

14. Dunbar’s Number

Human Nature & Judgment

1. Trust

2. Bias from Incentives

3. Pavlovian Association

4. Tendency to Feel Envy & Jealousy

5. Tendency to Distort Due to Liking/Loving or Disliking/Hating

6. Denial 

7. Availability Heuristic

8. Representativeness Heuristic

a. Failure to Account for Base Rates

b. Tendency to Stereotype 

c. Failure to See False Conjunctions

9. Social Proof (Safety in Numbers)

10. Narrative Instinct

11. Curiosity Instinct

12. Language Instinct

13. First-Conclusion Bias

14. Tendency to Overgeneralize from Small Samples

15. Relative Satisfaction/Misery Tendencies

16. Commitment & Consistency Bias

17. Hindsight Bias

18. Sensitivity to Fairness

19. Tendency to Overestimate Consistency of Behavior (Fundamental Attribution Error)

20. Influence of Stress (Including Breaking Points)

21. Survivorship Bias

22. Tendency to Want to Do Something (Fight/Flight, Intervention, Demonstration of Value, etc.)

23. Falsification / Confirmation Bias

Microeconomics & Strategy

1. Opportunity Costs

2. Creative Destruction

3. Comparative Advantage

4. Specialization (Pin Factory)

5. Seizing the Middle

6. Trademarks, Patents, and Copyrights

7. Double-Entry Bookkeeping

8. Utility (Marginal, Diminishing, Increasing)

9. Bottlenecks

10. Bribery

11. Arbitrage

12. Supply and Demand

13. Scarcity

14. Mr. Market

Military & War

1. Seeing the Front

2. Asymmetric Warfare

3. Two-Front War

4. Counterinsurgency

5. Mutually Assured Destruction


99 top films of the last decade

I do not agree with a lot of the choices, namely the chosen one for the top spot, but its the wisdom of the (pop) crowds (powered by Consequence of Sound):

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
  2. The Social Network (2010)
  3. Moonlight (2016)
  4. We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
  5. Hereditary (2018)
  6. The Act of Killing/The Look of Silence (2015)
  7. Under the Skin (2014)
  8. Phantom Thread (2017)
  9. The Handmaiden (2016)
  10. Inception (2010)
  11. Inside Out (2015)
  12. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
  13. Bridesmaids (2011)
  14. Get Out (2017)
  15. The Tree of Life (2011)
  16. Boyhood (2014)
  17. 12 Years a Slave (2013)
  18. Tangerine (2015)
  19. Green Room (2016)
  20. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
  21. Dunkirk (2017)
  22. The Invitation (2015)
  23. Call Me By Your Name (2017)
  24. Son of Saul (2015)
  25. Logan (2017)
  26. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
  27. Frances Ha (2012)
  28. OJ: Made in America (2016)
  29. 45 Years (2015)
  30. Zero Dark Thirty (2011)
  31. A Separation (2011)
  32. Her (2013)
  33. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
  34. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse (2018)
  35. Carol (2015)
  36. Fruitvale Station (2013)
  37. Before Midnight (2012)
  38. Looper (2012)
  39. The Babadook (2014)
  40. BlackkKlansman (2018)
  41. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
  42. Melancholia (2011)
  43. Shirkers (2018)
  44. The Revenant (2015)
  45. Inherent Vice (2014)
  46. Jackie (2016)
  47. Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)
  48. Amour (2012)
  49. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
  50. Nightcrawler (2014)
  51. Cold War (2018)
  52. Moneyball (2011)
  53. Roma (2018)
  54. Leviathan (2014)
  55. Young Adult (2011)
  56. First Reformed (2018)
  57. Force Majeure (2014)
  58. American Honey (2016)
  59. Baby Driver (2017)
  60. Amy (2015)
  61. La La Land (2016)
  62. Spring Breakers (2012)
  63. Annihilation (2018)
  64. Drive (2011)
  65. 13th (2016)
  66. Toni Erdmann (2016)
  67. Shoplifters (2018)
  68. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
  69. Paterson (2017)
  70. Midsommar (2019)
  71. Nocturama (2016)
  72. Good Time (2017)
  73. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  74. Phoenix (2014)
  75. Blue Valentine (2010)
  76. The Interrupters (2011)
  77. The Master (2012)
  78. The Tale (2018)
  79. Your Name (2017)
  80. Burning (2018)
  81. Manchester by the Sea (2016)
  82. Eighth Grade (2018)
  83. Parasite (2019)
  84. Sing Street (2016)
  85. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011)
  86. The Trip (2010)
  87. Columbus (2017)
  88. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016)
  89. Attack the Block (2011)
  90. Lady Bird (2017)
  91. Elle (2016)
  92. The Wind Rises (2013)
  93. A Ghost Story (2017)
  94. Krisha (2015)
  95. The Favourite (2018)
  96. Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
  97. Her Smell (2019)
  98. The Raid 2 (2014)
  99. Gone Girl (2014)


TED talks about you in the future

A new decade in the making

Soon, we enter a new phase…

It is a great time to reflect on your goals for the next year, and perhaps for the next ten.

Below are five great TED Talks, that can help prepare you to be the person you want to be this coming decade:

What Makes A Good Life? Lessons From The Longest Study On Happiness by Robert Waldinger

Inside The Mind Of A Master Procrastinator by Tim Urban

How Craving Attention Makes You Less Creative by Joseph Gordon-Levitt

How To Build Your Confidence—And Spark It In Others by Brittany Packnett

Your Elusive Creative Genius by Elizabeth Gilbert

20 by 20

we decided at Bright Pixel to ask 20 people to try and guess what 2020 will be all about…

I was one of the lucky “bastards” to write about the trends that we will looking for in 2020…

20by20 site

My two cents below…

What is a trend? A general direction in which something is developing or changing. Or, simply defined also as… a fashion. So, a trend can be fleeting or here to stay. You will never know.
Perhaps the best way to try to predict 2020’s trends is to look back.
For example, twenty years ago, the first camera phones were launched (by Motorola) and now we know for sure that, for the better and worst, they are here to stay and take notice in any tiny detail of our increasingly less private lives, blurring today our assumptions of what is public domain and what is not. The year 2000 also gave us, unfortunately, our first successful reality show – The Big Brother – and that also redefined the boundaries of what is entertainment and of what could be shared with a vast audience. The gaming industry had also a big bump with the launch of Playstation 2 and a set of novelties from Nintendo and others.
If we pick these few examples alone of our not-that-recent past, we can spend hours discussing how they evolved and morphed into new realities now.
A wide array of filters and gimmicks are now available for our collective and instant delight. A full set of businesses were born exploiting our digital presence, from short videos to snapchats and tik toks (the most valuable startup in the world, go figure…), from social media to influencers and other annoying ways to digitally share and supposedly interact with people 24/7.
Not all is bad in having an enhanced ability to digitally interact or define our digital self. We have more immersive ways of interacting (virtual, augmented and mixed reality, to name some new realities…) and engage with other people and entities in several contexts – companies like Didimo (one of the great portuguese startup examples) will help us have a better experience in several contexts of our lives.
For example, our digital self will be able to do a lot more online in several retail environments, that for professional reasons I tend to follow closely. Who would believe in the year 2000 that buying clothes, shoes or almost anything that you can think of online… would become the norm? Or that we have today people paying absurdities for digital-only clothing? And that perhaps make-to-order retail models that promote a more personalised retail experience whilst reducing inefficiencies and, hopefully, other eco-conscious trends will start to pick up more and makes us a bit less fast consumer oriented over time.
Advances in how we manage our digital presence also will be key for several other areas of our lives – from healthcare to education, mobile and immersive gaming to other types entertainment (where the content wars will be on the rise, by the way, between the deep-pocketed streaming services, that are killing our once beloved traditional content providers and distributors (TiVo was born in the 2000’s!).
Our digital existence also brings us other tremendous challenges in 2020 and years to come… how should we manage and protect our data? To what extent should we explore the power of AI in analysing our data and what are the ethical implications around everything that we will do and have sitting around in our digital worlds? Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence are just two taglines for a full array of trends around this existential issue of having this new resource to explore, protect and manage – our digital oil, called data. All of the companies within our portfolio are exploring in some way or manner this brave new world around our digital oil. They are the oil prospectors of the 2020’s.
Then, looking back, we also had the hype of the blu-ray discs in 2000… Is 5G our 2020 blu-ray equivalent? Or perhaps blockchain will also prove to be our digital blu-ray perfect example… we will always have fleeting fashions for our collective satisfaction. Enjoy 2020 while it lasts.


unreal people as a business


fake people, AI created



Sometimes I feel old and outdated. Think of a business of selling digital being that fake real people. Well that’s a thing.

Believe it or not… but this can be actually a conversation happening as we speak…

Mom, I work at a company that creates AI generated content on demand…

I am so proud of you, even if I did not understand a word that you just said…

World is spinning really fast…

Enjoy it or create an algorithm that can do that for you…


Should we duckduckgo?

What we search for isn’t that complex and perhaps we need duck and protect ourselves from bigger problems

Read this Wired Article 

It might seem ludicrous – DuckDuckGo has 78 employees and Google 114,096 – but often the outcome is the same. For the majority of your searches David, it turns out, is just as good as Goliath.

The Man in the Arena

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

the man in the arena