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SDC Weekly; Moral Decline; Rolex Daytonas; Goal setting #2
Made it to week two! Stay to the end for a bonus.
Howdy, scroller… those of you who read my Instagram captions will get the reference :)
Anyway, welcome to the second edition of SDC Weekly! Only an hour after posting the previous edition, I was chatting to a friend and described how stupid it sounded to have started a ‘newsletter’… and then I said, “I should have called it the ScrewDownChronicle instead”. Might still change it, will see.
I found it amusing to see the the reaction to the journalism post I shared on Instagram last week… since then, every major publication decided to talk about it. Now, I am not arrogant enough to claim I caused this reaction, but I definitely feel proud to count myself among the first to have said anything at all, and whether or not people want to credit or attribute their reaction to ‘pressure’ or ‘delays in copyrighting’ is their business!
On that note… In case you missed it, I appeared on the Dialed In podcast with Tim bender at Fog City Vintage to reflect on this post, and surrounding issues. We discussed some of the f*ckery plaguing the industry and explored the need for a self-policing community for enthusiasts. It’s about an hour long - let me know what you think! Also on that note, another well known person weighed in on this topic as well - you might know him: Jack Forster, of Hodinkee fame? Cheekily talking about Hodinkee in a positive light is entertaining, but his final paragraph was pretty savage - as Steve Hallock said in Jack’s Insta comments section.
Anyway… lets do this, shall we?
In this edition:
And a bonus story…!
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The illusion of moral decline
People have a tendency to reminisce about the past through rose-tinted glasses. We believe people had purer morals, were more honest, respectful and kind. Turns out, that may be a cognitive illusion! Survey data in this paper shows people in at least 60 nations around the world believe that morality is declining, and they have believed this for at least 70 years!
“If, as people all over the world claim, morality has been declining steadily and precipitously for decades, then people's reports of current morality should also have declined over the years”
Except, they didn’t! This of course suggests the perception of moral decline is an illusion, according to the researchers.
This makes me wonder about the ‘decline in the watch collecting hobby’ which I hear some collectors complain about - this could be negative feelings about what watches are available, or how fickle and superfluous some collector conversations are becoming… I tend to disagree. The hobby isn’t declining - the people you’re surrounded by, might be in decline - just find new circles to connect with, or seek new watches outside of the hype bubble! This quote form Henry Ford comes to mind:
I was reading this paper entitled “How Goal Specificity Shapes Motivation: A Reference Points Perspective” - as the title suggests, it discusses how goal specificity affects one’s motivation throughout the pursuit of said goal. A few takeaways I’d like to share:
Specific goals tend to define a desired end-objective, such as “buy a Rolex GMT Master Pepsi” or “complete a half marathon in 90 minutes.”
Nonspecific goals don’t specify a measurable objective, and they tend to imply direction or intent loosely; like “buy a luxury watch soon.” How soon? What is luxury anyway?
When pursuing specific goals, people compare themselves to their end objective, whereas with nonspecific goals, they tend to use the initial state as a ‘reference’.
The key insight here: Progress toward specific goals tends to increase subsequent motivation (by bringing you closer to your reference point), but making progress toward nonspecific goals tends to decrease subsequent motivation (by moving you away from your reference point).
The solution: Using a nonspecific goal helps in the early stages of goal pursuit, when it would be demotivating to focus on a distant end objective. As you progress, it seems more beneficial to ‘upgrade’ to specific goals.
I see this often with new collectors in relation to starting relationships with authorised dealers, or with older collectors who are stuck in a habit (as discussed in this post, where one collector wasn’t able to convince himself to buy very expensive watches).
What this paper suggests, is we could start out with macro goals (e.g. buy a single watch minimum 20k) which helps focus the mind on evaluating a pool of options, and then once the shortlist is ready, set a goal of acquiring a specific piece on the shortlist in the best condition (just a made up example, but hopefully you get the idea!).
I suggest you start with this old post:
I find myself revisiting this old Daytona post quite often. In the previous newsletter, Lee left a comment asking to hear my opinions on the Daytona - I suspect this was in reference to the newly released Le Mans, but the question reminded me of the above post so figured I’d share it as a starting point.
So… what about the new release?
The Daytona is a status symbol at this point, and I have a whole other post about that too. This means, it becomes difficult to evaluate the watch entirely on its external, observable merits, because there’s a portion of ‘value’ attributable to the watch which will always be intangible (even unknown) for anyone except the wearer.
That said, I like the new Daytona, given I have concluded I actually like Daytonas in general - as per the old post, determining this is difficult because of the surrounding hype and perceived status. What immediately left me with positive emotions about the Le Mans, is the ‘lollipop batons’ in the subdials - shown in the image below. (As an aside, the whole article - about the details in a Newman Daytona - is also a fun read!)
The moment I saw the new Daytona, it reminded me NOT of the Paul Newman Daytona, but of my Laventure Automobile Chronograph, which of course took inspiration from the Newman Daytona. That is a personal connection, and more applicable directly to me - your results may vary, but the point is, I like that detail, and so it is only natural that I would like it in a different watch too!
As a result, I like the watch. Do I want to get one? Not really. Beyond that, I don’t think I have much more to add on the matter… 😅
Links of interest
🤲 This essay by Branko Milanovic, one of the world's foremost inequality researchers, concludes this century has seen a stunning decrease in global inequality — bringing it down to levels not seen since the 1870s, driven by China and India.
🤩 A kind reader got in touch, and shared this fantastic story entitled “Lucky call” - I am sure you will enjoy reading it.
🤯 Well, this came as a surprise to me, but Netflix’s password-sharing crackdown already appears to be working in the US!
🎸 Sir Paul McCartney told the BBC AI has been used to extract John Lennon’s voice from an old demo to create “the last Beatles record”!
🥽 I have declared my excitement about Apple’s new product, along with many others - but here’s an alternate take from the inimitable Scott Galloway, who concludes “I believe the Vision Pro will be remembered as a Neanderthal, an evolutionary dead end — a heavy, thick-browed experimental species destined for extinction.”
💀 In yet another AI win - GPT-4 seems to be pitch-perfect too, outperforming humans in creating investment pitch decks!
😵💫 Here’s a huge collection of optical illusions and other visual phenomena to keep you entertained!
I think I’ve landed on making this a weekly update every Wednesday - the first one was shared on a Tuesday, this is being shared on a Sunday due to my upcoming travel complications… but under normal life conditions, I think Wednesdays will work best for me.
I said this before, and here’s another reminder: I appreciate all feedback - even if you never comment, please make an exception. Is this newsletter worth your time? Anything missing that you’d like to see? Anything here which you thought was not worth including? I honestly share about 10% of what I consider interesting, and there’s just never enough space to fit it all it, so I tend to ‘guess’ what folks might like to see… the feedback would be immensely helpful. Let me know, and thanks in advance!
Please share this. Getting subscribers is my own form of dopamine, so help a brother out lol!
Until next time!
Bonus link: Challenge your thinking
“So the question we should ask is this: in worshiping diversity, in making it the highest value, what is it that we are missing? Is this an exercise in attention redirection, a kind of magic show in which you’re watching the magician and don’t notice the gorilla jumping up and down in back of the stage?
There’s a latent premise in this line of questioning. When you observe, as we did, that what’s going on is both very evil and very silly, it sounds almost self-contradictory. How can something be both very silly and very evil at the same time? The answer is that what’s going on is very silly, but the silliness is distracting us from very important things. That’s the nature of the evil.
Diversity becomes a kind of divertissement, distracting our attention from the things that really matter.”