Models for the mental & captagon & PLG

Zakhar Kogan
4 min readJul 11, 2023



Mental models

Paradox of unanimity

What is consensus? - Research - Kunsido

The more unanimous the consensus, the less likely people are to think rationally and not be influenced by a particular case of the bandwagon effect.

“Under ancient Jewish law, if a suspect on trial was unanimously found guilty by all judges, then the suspect was acquitted.”

Epistemic humility

Tezcatlipoca, supreme god and ruler of the first world of the sun. He was  known as a Creator God, Invisible and omnipotent, the god of sustenance, a  patron of warriors and as

Via negativa in action. Instead of trying to be right, try reducing mistakes. Also reminding Buddhism hindrances and Tezcatlipoca in Nahui Ollin.

Mimetic desire

The more people want something, the more we do, too. Analogies: bandwagon effect (again!), hedonic adaptation, and the social comparison bias.

Overblown implications

A particular case of the spotlight effect: we’re afraid people will judge us by one event, but in reality everyone forgets/is worried about the same. Or, in better language, ‘Actors overestimate how much observers think an actor’s one-off success or failure offers a clear insight about a relevant competency’.

Ellsberg paradox

Can You Make Rational Decisions? - RetentionX Blog

We abhor uncertainty and a high-dimensional choice landscape, an effect called ambiguity/uncertainty aversion.

Fun fact: learning about it reduces but does not fully mitigate its effects on our decision-making.

Idioms: better the devil you know, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Product-led growth

This is an image of the Product-Led Growth Flywheel model that shows an illustration of the SaaS user journey. The inter circle of the flywheel shows 4 user segmentsevaluators, beginners, regulars, championswhile the outer circle shows how companies can move users through the flywheelactivate, adopt, adore, advocate. The flywheel replaces traditional business funnels.

‘Product-led growth means that the product itself acquires, activates, engages, monetizes, and retains users, funneling them through a payment flow, most commonly without human touch

Four Parts of the Growth Model

  • Acquisition: A user signs up for your product. Virality and advocacy are key drivers for new user acquisition, where an existing user experiences your products value and shares it with their network, leading to more new user sign-ups.
  • Activation: A user experiencing the core value proposition of your product for the first time.
  • Engagement: A user establishing habitual workflows around the core value proposition of your product.
  • Monetization: A user paying for the value of your product or upgrading their current spend.

‘A product-qualified account (PQA) is a sales lead generated by product usage rather than information collected at the marketing stage before product usage even happens.’

Product growth loop

The new user signs up they use the product they invite others through the product, or generates other forms of value generation they then attract more users and repeat steps of the loop.

PS. A good overview of business flywheels is here. Another awesome link for the interested.



A little white pill, Captagon, gives Syria's Assad a strong tool in winning  over Arab states | AP News

Turned out Syria produces 80% of Fenethylline. What’s that? In a nutshell:

A whole-brain connectome of a fruit fly

’cause admit it, you’ve always wanted to model a pretty fly for a white guy.

Optical illusions

150+ of them. Just what’s needed on a cold desert highway.

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