View Sidebar

Brian Mayer: product and marketing strategy consultant.

I am based in New York City and I update my blog infrequently. About me.
Shook

Shook

Every once in a while, you realize what you thought about yourself just isn’t the case. And it can leave you feeling pretty down on yourself and shaken up. On the other hand, if you are truly honest with yourself, you can turn this realization into a learning experience, and be better off in the long run.

Both of these things happened to me over the last four days, and it has been a difficult experience facing hard truths that, put simply, I just have to accept. The good news is, I think I can move past this if I acknowledge where I went wrong and work to stop it from happening again.

If that all sounds rather cryptic, I apologize. I haven’t yet mastered the art of putting honest, personal views on the public internet. I do appreciate my friends for both calling my attention to my own shortcomings and being patient with my very, very shallow learning curve. I hope you notice a difference soon.

April 1, 2019Comments are DisabledRead More
Day 90

Day 90

As of January 1, I’ve now written 90 blog posts for 90 days of the year.

To be totally honest, I’ve slipped a bit and haven’t always kept up day-to-day. There are days (such as today) where I’ve written 2 or more posts I had missed to fill the gap. Other times, I write posts on the go and then post them when I have a connection.

I’m finding that the writing is getting a lot easier as I force myself to sit down and do it. There is very little writers’ block filter left. If I don’t know what to write about, I can usually look around the room and see something that reminds me of something to write about.

I thought by now I would be tired of this, but I’m finding that it is somewhat therapeutic to write every day, even knowing that almost no one is reading it (if you are, don’t be shy, comment!). It is exposing, but it isn’t embarrassing–at least not yet.

Posts 91 – 365, here we come.

March 31, 2019Comments are DisabledRead More
Checking My Phone

Checking My Phone

Literally not an hour goes by where I don’t check my phone. I bet you’re the same way.

The dopamine rush you get from a notification is addicting. I think they’ve made it that way on purpose.

Of all the areas I need to most improve (and we all do, honestly, as a society), learning to unplug and be OK with not being in constant contact with the entire world at all times is probably at the top of the list.

In the meantime, I’ve checked my phone twice while writing this. And it’s not even that long a post. But I’m waiting for a text, so that tends to make the time drag on real long.

March 30, 2019Comments are DisabledRead More
Old Friends, Old Restaurant, New Calorie Tracker

Old Friends, Old Restaurant, New Calorie Tracker

So, on the heels of my epic months-long quest to eat healthier, I’ve dropped my strict dietary restrictions in favor of counting calories straight up. There’s a baseline ‘budget’ I get each day; when I exercise, I get more. As I’ve found out, when I drink, the budget gets eaten up (no pun intended) real quickly.

So, going out tonight with old friends to one of our favorite K-Town spots means I will get to do very little drinking, very little eating, or I’ll blow my budget in one meal.

It’s not the worst problem I’ve ever had, but I’m trying to give this whole calories in, calories out thing a shot. So far I’ve shed 3% of my weight after about a week…so at this rate, I should be the size of a thimble by August. If I can last that long *fingers crossed*

If you’re interested in doing the same thing, the app is called Lose It. Look, they’re app developers, not marketers.

March 29, 2019Comments are DisabledRead More
Cake Ceremony

Cake Ceremony

Tonight I had the honor of hosting Drink for LiNK for supporters of Liberty in North Korea in New York.

We had the opportunity to meet as a community and share a quick celebratory toast in honor of 1000 of our North Korean friends who have reached freedom. We lit a candle on cupcakes as they do, explained by LiNK:

North Korean refugees who meet our field staff in Southeast Asia end their difficult journey with a special tradition. They each light a candle on a small cake before reflecting on how far they’ve come and celebrating their first hours in freedom. We call this the cake ceremony. Celebrate this epic milestone by having your own cake ceremony in honor of our North Korean friends.

As moving and poignant as tonight was, there is so much more to do. Please consider donating at our new LiNK NYC page here. Our annual goal is $50,000, which will go directly to the rescue & resettlement of NK refugees. Every bit helps.

Thank you!

March 28, 2019Comments are DisabledRead More
12 Rules for Life

12 Rules for Life

In protest of the New Zealand bookshop that banned the book after the horrific Mosque shooting two weeks ago (though, strangely, it failed to ban Mein Kampf), I went ahead and bought it and started to read it. 12 Rules for Life isn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but it is in a genre I don’t usually even consider reading: Call it self-help meets moral psychology, with a healthy dose of Greek and Christian mythology mixed in. This alone makes it interesting. Of the three rules I’ve read so far (“Stand up straight with your shoulders back”; “Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping”; “Make friends with people who want the best for you”) they are all rather practical advice, supported by a mix of anecdotal, literary, mythological and scientific evidence.

I understand why people find the author so ‘controversial’ — he flatly rejects and in some cases slays sacred cows of liberal academia, from the blank slate to the idea of gender as a social construct. He frequently references the foundational Western myths, though is quick to point out that other cultures share universal beliefs and values as well. He accepts the existence of various social hierarchies evolved out of millions of years of conflict and reproductive competition, and provides some possible scientific explanations–that have been discussed and debated elsewhere, notably by Steven Pinker–why these hierarchies might exist.

However, I have yet to get to the chapter where he advocates the slaughter of innocent Muslims in their house of worship. No doubt when I reach that part, I will understand why a bookstore saw fit to ban the book. In the meantime, though, I’m enjoying the jolt of self awareness I get thinking about various times in my life I have followed these 12 Rules, and other times I have failed. In many ways the rules parallel my own growing list of rules, and have also given me more to think about.

No doubt this attempt at “de-platforming” the author has resulted in more sales; when will people learn that books don’t kill people, people kill people?

March 27, 2019Comments are DisabledRead More
Young Stalin

Young Stalin

I just finished Young Stalin by Montefiore and if you haven’t read it yet, definitely do so. It’s a thorough biography of Stalin before he was Stalin, from his birth all the way through to the Russian Revolution of 1917, a profile that covers many episodes about which, according to the author, have never been published.

Two ideas struck me from reading this book.

First, though it is a fact of history that political Marxism is violent, I never realized how inherently violent it was from the beginning, at least in the case of Russia. I had always assumed that communism becomes violent over time as its utopianism comes into contact with reality. The narrative traditionally holds figures like Lenin in great esteem as visionaries who unfortunately strayed from their ideals as they grew more powerful, or alternatively, had their ideals corrupted by others. This book–and I’m sure any similar examination of the rise of Marxism in Russia–puts those ideas to rest. Stalin rose to prominence as a terrorist (at least that’s what we would call him today), organizing violent underground Marxist gangs, extortion rackets, murder plots, bank robberies, piracy, and more to raise funds for the party and overthrow the Tsarist government. Lenin, for his part, actively supported and committed acts of terror against the state for which he was wanted and eventually exiled; upon returning, he fomented violent revolution against the provisional government until taking over Russia. The Bolsheviks of Stalin’s Georgia, including the overpraised Trotsky, were indeed idealists, but their ideals were steeped in, and required, blood.

The second thing that stood out was the history of the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, the latter of whom ended up being largely purged in years of civil war. However, long before any form of socialism had taken hold in Russia, as early as 1905 the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks were already at each other’s throats. What’s fascinating to me is the fact that such an embattled minority, who largely agreed on the need to overthrow the Tsarist regime and replace it with a socialist republic modeled on the theories of Marx, spent so much effort fighting each other, conflicts resulting in much violence and even murder in the Caucasus where Stalin was cutting his teeth. It seems crazy to me that there should be two Marxist revolutionary factions before either party had any power. It reminded me so much of today’s Democratic Party that spends so much time battling over insignificant differences in opinion with each other rather than unifying to fight their common enemy. I wonder if there’s something inherent to leftist politics in particular that creates intraparty conflict and a need to signal more purity than the rest of the field?

In any event, I found the book replete with historical and modern lessons, and a great primer in the origin of the murderous disaster that was the Soviet Union.

March 26, 2019Comments are DisabledRead More
What kind of influencer do I want to be?

What kind of influencer do I want to be?

Open question for my readers as I continue to learn lessons from my experiment in growing an Instagram following: what kind of influencer do I want to be?

It clearly isn’t enough to just get followers. You have to get engagement as well. And engagement means compelling content and an audience that wants it.

I have some cool photos, but what will really sell the feed is the story around it.

So I’ve debated being a generic ‘travel’ influencer but that’s boring. Food is cool but I’m not going to spend as much as I need to spend to take the pictures.

I got a suggestion that I should try something very, very niche. Like ‘guy who eats eggs.’

Anyway, would love it if you were to visit me on Instagram and let me know what you think would work!

March 25, 2019Comments are DisabledRead More
Get Wellory Soon

Get Wellory Soon

I’m very excited about an angel investment I just made in a NYC-based startup called Wellory.

Wellory is a platform to connect millennials with certified health coaches for personalized health advice and custom wellness solutions. Health coaching is a $6 billion market in the US and, little did I know, there are twice as many health coaches as yoga instructors.

Unlike a traditional marketplace model, Wellory hires its coaches as in-house contractors, guaranteeing quality control and the benefits of continuity of membership.

If you’re interested in focusing more on your health and could use a leg up, you can get 15% off by using the code WFRIENDS at checkout: click here to sign up! And let me know how it goes 🙂

March 24, 2019Comments are DisabledRead More
Cooking

Cooking

I’m fully aware that this is going to come across as yet another millennial who has “discovered” cooking.

And yes, I’ve been cooking more recently.

But it’s not some brand new discovery of things like cost, the joy of producing something new for yourself, or health. It’s just a re-evaluation of how I choose to spend my time.

Food has always been somewhat of an inconvenience for me, if I’m not spending lavishly on a meal for the express purpose of having a great experience prepared by professional chefs, that is. But for everyday meals, it has always been more efficient to order in or eat out than to spend time preparing a meal. It purely came down to the tradeoff between money and time. Theoretically, it would be worth more to me to work the extra hour, and then spend a portion of that labor on food, than to waste the hour not working and cooking instead.

But as I’ve gotten more protective of how I spend my own time, including with the people I spend it with, I’m finding myself with lots of free, non-work hours, with which I have the time to invest in things that are important to me. I’ve been practicing the piano more, reading more, and now, cooking more.

So, here’s to the grilled shiitake mushrooms and lamb chops I fried up this evening. Couldn’t have gotten a better meal at Peter Luger.

March 23, 2019Comments are DisabledRead More