Why do bars exist?

Getting Started...

If you made it here, I'm assuming the subject line caught your attention. This past week, I've been thinking a lot about how and why people socialize the way they do. I had the pleasure of visiting my first bar, where I got a 'non-alcoholic ginger beer.'

After getting my drink and finding a place to sit, with some friends, I looked around. This particular bar had a large open space in front, where people hung out. As I looked around I noticed most people came in with groups or in pairs.

Next, I noticed people go up to one another to start conversations. I found this interesting, it's not often that you see someone going up to a stranger to start a conversation.

It turns out that a bar environment is a place where this is seen as 'acceptable' behavior. I wonder why people don't find it acceptable to do this in other settings.

As I continued to observe my surroundings, I was reminded myself of an encounter I had after my first ever 'house-party' in college during freshman year. At the end of the night, I asked one of the girls I had gone out with, "why do you drink?" she responded by saying, "so I can talk to guys, alcohol makes it easier."

This led me to think of a few things:

What's the barrier for one to talk to another?

It's entirely in our minds. A bar environment and the product it holds, 'drinks,' create an 'acceptable' environment to socialize.

Digging deeper, do we need certain environments to behave in certain ways?

For me, no, but for some, it may be.

I've found that most 'limitations' only exist in my mind. Once I change my mind, it's easier to do the things I want to do.

If you'd like to see more on the history of bars, read more here.

This also begs the question, do environments influence people or do people influence the environment?

I wrote a paper about this in my expository writing class.
For those who may be interested in reading, read it here.

Providing a catalyst

Every week I’ll share key insights from a conversation I had learned a lot from in a series called, Providing a Catalyst.

Last weekend, I visited a friend in Vancouver. He's in his mid-20s and has built a marketing business from the ground up as a solo-entrepreneur.

Here are some of the highlights from our conversation:

Direct response marketing is about getting 1 person to buy a product or service. This can be scaled online by creating customer personas, identifying people who are likely to buy your product or service, and selling to others who match that persona.

Marketing is applied psychology. It requires understanding what a user wants/ needs and then educating him or her about why this product or service is for them.

The one skill he attributes most of his success to is: copywriting. Copywriting is the act of writing text for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing.

We talked about everything from business to our fears. I don't remember many of the specifics from our conversation but I do remember one thing distinctly well.

We talked a lot about what freedom meant to us.

People think 'starting a business' will lead to 'freedom.' As someone who has done that successfully at a young age he learned--it's not true. He told us about how, at first, he didn't like responding to a client's every whim.

He eventually dropped all of his clients and re-built the business from the ground up with a better foundation and clear expectations.

Freedom to him is the ability to do what he wants, when he wants, where he wants.

My friend and I agreed with this sentiment.

Creating or being in an environment where this is possible is difficult. Identifying what freedom means to you is the first step though.

This past Saturday, I spent some time with a group of friends. Ages ranging from the early 20s to mid-20s. They came from different backgrounds. One of them worked in tech while the others worked in sales at a telecommunications company.

We talked about how socializing changes from college to post-college.

I've learned that socializing 'post-college' takes more effort than it did in college. One of the arguments a friend made was it's easier to connect with people outside of the normal 'cliques' that form in school.

I responded 'cliques' make it easy to align your interests with a group. This is why many college students join clubs or organizations. To feel like they're a part of something.

Once work takes up 60% or greater of one's time, it becomes difficult for people to find and sustain interests outside of work. This is why I think socializing requires more effort post-college.

Going to the bars on the weekend is one way of doing it though!

Lighting a match

I hope these articles inspire you to do something or learn something new.

Deep Dive

If I had to pick one article from above this would be it...

The Power of Intuition — I

Brace yourselves for an incredible story.

"I began my journey of self-discovery by unplugging from the matrix."


"Now apart from creating a sense of purposefulness, I did have one advantage: Of never seeing myself as homeless.

This wasn’t because I forced myself to feel this way; its actually just the way I naturally felt.

You can call this delusion. But there are far worse delusions I’ve seen people hold within their lives of privilege and luxury."


"I have never wanted to work for anyone else, but I was more than happy to trade my time, in return for learning to make really good coffee."


"This was around the time another girl would describe me a character from the book: The Alchemist.

It’s kind of funny to me that over the years, I’ve been affectionately nicknamed by people as Morpheus, Merlin, Buddha, etc.

Even though I was really just being myself, to others, I obviously meant and represented something.

In a way, I was probably living through a different archetype, for each year I experienced through my journey]"


"My homelessness and the value I could provide had no correlation at all. Yet Vin was the first person to actually recognize this and put a value on it."

My Updates:

With the help of a few incredible friends, I launched a personal website and the new home of this newsletter: activationenergy.io

Last weekend I visited Vancouver for the first time.

I'll be speaking at a Gen Z Marketing conference about the current state of Voice assistants this upcoming Saturday. It'll be my first time speaking about the topic in front of 200+ people. It's definitely something that's outside of my comfort zone.

A question that's been on my mind recently is:

Are food, water, and shelter basic human rights?

Thank you for signing up and reading this edition of Activation Energy.

- Abhi Vyas

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