Twitter, serendipity and more: a chat with Eytan Messika

I love Twitter, it's by far my favorite social network because it triggers a lot of insight rushes, the feeling I get when I read a really smart tweet. It drives me to dig deeper, map the influence circles and contact the person via DM. As the wise social saying goes, "you have two lives on Twitter and the second one starts when you realize that the magic starts in Twitter DM."

This is precisely what I did when I stumbled upon Messika's profile. He has a great curation newsletter in French but most of the sources are in English. You can also check out his Notion in English. To tell you the truth, I can't remember how I came across his online profile (we should develop a feature that remembers these digital encounters). In real life, when you meet someone in person, it is always enhanced by the fullness of the senses: a ray of sunshine, the smell of fresh-baked bread, the shivering snow ... little things that are forever etched in our memories. This is especially important because, often, the first impression is the correct one.

We talked about curiosity (small parenthesis, I recently discovered the concept of curiology, "Being curious about everything but not just any way," which is a set of methods designed to maintain one's curiosity and amazement, as well as those of others. I find the very concept lovely.) We also discussed the importance of digging into your subjects. In my opinion, in order to master a theme, you have to dig into it surgically, at least that's how I proceed. As an example, Eytan quoted me this exchange between Elon Musk and Lex Friedman: "They wanted me to be good at management, I just read 20 books on the subject, it was 19 more than the others. That's how I learned what the principles were." So, we talked about reading, unconditional fans of Stefan Zweig that we are.

The exchange was so interesting that I wanted to share it with you. I hope you will enjoy this improvised interview!

Hello Eytan, can you introduce yourself quickly?

My name is Eytan, I'm 26 years old. I am passionate about education and technology. I have had the chance to work in a wide variety of fields, such as investment, marketing and consulting. I have developed a real interest in pedagogy by working as a teacher in a dozen business schools. I learn and teach disciplines such as artificial intelligence or Bitcoin and I have been working for the past year on the creation of a collection of educational books. I spend most of my time reading articles on the internet about just about everything, I'm a big fan of poker, soul and chill music, Christopher Nolan movies, Stefan Zweig books, the anime Attack on Titan and Top chef.

Which adjective best describes you? And why? What drives you?

I'm a curious generalist. I've always thought that specialization was inevitable to create a form of expertise that would allow you to be recognized in a field. But, to be very frank, I never found that field. Not because it doesn't exist, on the contrary. But rather because there isn't a single one.

This Tweet from Naval resonates every time I think back, “Specialization is for insects. I don't believe in this model of trying to focus your life down one thing. You've got one life just do everything.” What drives me is the desire to constantly grow and learn, to finish each week with a better understanding of the world around me and myself. And then to share it all, of course.

I recently discovered your newsletter, I was impressed by the quality of your curation, which you have documented in this article. Can you explain your intellectual journey to find new sources? Do you have any unusual tricks?

I am a great believer in the power of recommendations. To discover new sources, I spend a lot of time looking at the "suggested readings" of the people who inspire me, their Twitter feeds and related comments. Then as soon as I find a quality article, I read a couple more to see if it's consistent and sign up for their newsletter. It's a virtuous cycle. Quality newsletters recommend other quality sources. An unusual trick: type the names of personalities you like "in quotes" to find out who also recommends them. Chances are, they'll quote others you'll like. For example, I discovered the Mentor Tribe by typing "naval" "tim urban."

What readings (quotes, sentences, etc.) did you enjoy the most this year? And why?

1 "When you are rewarded for perception, not results, you need to show sophistication" - Nassim Taleb in Skin in the Game

This concept is a principle of life and business. When objectives are correlated with results, an alignment of interests is observed. Businesses that run on means obligations instead of results obligations will not work anymore, in my opinion. Steve Jobs said in 1992, "You've got to own the results." I quite agree.

2. "Self-esteem occurs when you're doing what you're supposed to do"- R Akiva Tatz in Living Inspired.

R Akiva Tatz is my life teacher. I owe him more than any other teacher. I am fortunate to be able to study with him every week and he has the talent to simplify complex things in a few lines.

3. "Choose what to work on" - Julian Shapiro

A clear approach that allowed me to refocus my projects and choose those that best match my values. Julian is one of the most incredible bloggers of our generation. His style is clear and remarkable.

4. "Take asymmetric bets" - Erik Torenberg

Probably the advice that changed my life from A to Z this year. I've always calculated the range of a poker shot without ever really understanding that it had an application in real life. Taking asymmetrical bets: if I lose, nothing changes. If I win, everything changes.

In your curation process, you mention Reddit quite naturally. What are your favorite subreddits? Why is that?

rIWTL, rEarthporn, rUnethicalLifeProTips, rbitcoin - a mix of learning, beautiful pictures and memes.

I know you like the topic of trends; what do you see emerging in the coming months? Beyond the obvious, what are the weak signals that you've spotted?

Indeed, it is a subject that interests me particularly. I think that something quite interesting is happening: we are witnessing a polarization of generations. On the one hand, Generation Z, which was born with technology, has not known the world without it; on the other hand, our parents' generation, who reject this world of mass addiction; and finally Generation Y, which is struggling to position themselves and who are suffering the consequences of this transition: reduced fulfillment at work, a recurring need to adapt to changes in usage, difficulty managing time and the digital environment, and repeated exposure to information and advertising. For me, I think we are going to witness a new polarization of this generation, which will either accept digital completely and join the ranks of the millennials, or reject technology and join the camp of the baby boomers.

A book to be absolutely read, a podcast?

A book to read: Stefan Zweig's Chess Player; style, elegance, history, psychology ... it's all there. :)

A podcast to listen to: "How to Get Rich" by Naval - three hours of content replacing five years of business school. Wild.

Finally, a recommendation, life advice?

1. Take the time to understand what your values are. It all comes down to that. A person's values are the raw material of their identity. Most of the time, all inner conflicts are resolved if one has a precise vision of one's own value system. Mark Manson has written a great article on the subject.

2. When there is doubt, there is no doubt

💎 Snippets & other curiosities

❤️‍🔥 How to think for yourself: “Unfashionable ideas are disproportionately likely to lead somewhere interesting. The best place to find undiscovered ideas is where no one else is looking.” Read here.

🤔 Futurists give us a sneak preview of tomorrow. Read here.

💡 Zoom & Gloom: Instead of corroding our humanity, let’s design tools to enhance it. Read here.

👀 Wearable technologies… and smart tatoos. Read here.

💡 Live life as an experiment: “The best way to handle a situation in which you have no power is to give up the illusion of power and appeal to the generosity of the person in power.” Read here.

🛍️ The story of a physical shop in the US that live-streams all day. Read here.

🎵 Next-generation of virtual concerts. Wow.

🎿 Getting cold feets while skiing? Here is a solution. BTW - I love the website animation.

🛍️ The best designed gifts of 2020 - I like the sculptural watering can. View here.

🤪 An ode to life in lockdown. Nuts.

🛍️ Live gifts? I’m buying the holiday pack stickers to make my Christmas gifts original.