Frank Chen

Frank Chen

email newsletter #16

lieutenant speirs, young people energy, engaged buyers, japan

lieutenant speirs

I recently rewatched Band of Brothers.

There's a soldier in the series by the name of Ronald Speirs. He was a real person who was portrayed fairly accurately despite the Hollywood dramatization of his character. For the most part, the stories surrounding his bravery (and savagery) have been confirmed.

The scene I'm talking about is the American assault on Foy.

Leading the assault was Norman Dike, a "rank-climber" who had no business being a commander. He was more or less an absentee leader throughout the bombings in Bastogne, which occurred in the weeks before Foy.

At the beginning of the assault, it quickly became clear that Dike wasn't making smart decisions, or really, any decisions at all. The Americans were held up just within German shelling range at the edge of Foy, waiting on Dike's orders. The dude was basically freaking out, mumbling shit about sending half the squadron in a flanking mission around the town while American soldiers were sitting there, getting bombed to hell.

Seeing this, the battalion commander at the time, Winters, calls upon Speirs to take over for Dike. Speirs trots up like lamb waiting to feed, and without even a "yes sir", runs off to relieve Dike.

Speirs relieves Dike and decisively gets shit moving. Mortars and grenades to stop German snipers, fuck all this waiting, screw the flanking plan, and move directly forward. You know, the original plan, rightfully executed.

Later, Speirs does a legendary marathon run through enemy fortified positions to reach a flanking platoon in the back of town. No covering fire, no incremental movement or cover to get closer, just straight up ran past an entire battalion of German soldiers. He made it there and back while being shot at the whole time.

I think that somewhere deep down, we all could be a little more like Lieutenant Speirs - some version of ourselves that makes moves, takes action under pressure, and exhibits high courageousness - rank be damned.

Be more like Lieutenant Speirs. 🪖

young people energy

I see an energy in young people that older folks should strive not to lose. I first noticed this chatting it up with some of the younger folks at my jiujitsu gym. While talking, I had this weird out-of-body experience, listening to what was coming out of my mouth as compared to what was coming out of their mouth.

These young-uns talk about the can do, the excitement, the finding of ways, the almost borderline naiveté that gets them just on the verge of getting in trouble. But they make it work. They're gonna out-wrestle and out-sub everyone on the mats. They're going to be world champions. They're gonna find a career as a martial artist. These guys are savage operators. They think less, talk less, and do more.

I also see it in how Gen-Z handles social media. There are these teenagers out there that push content like crazy, and can grow online social media accounts to 10k followers in as little as 2-3 weeks. I've been sitting at 200 followers for 3 fucking years 😆. There's an element of social media savvy here for sure, but it's combined with that borderline naiveté that makes it work.

We older folks, if we're not careful, seem to have this energy beat out of us one way or another. Dreams can sometimes be replaced with "buts", cynicism, or overanalysis. Sometimes we get stuck in ways. As we get older, responsibilities pile on and then we have to finance those responsibilities. We make excuses and use trite stories of the "starving artist" to reason our vitality away.

There's some balance to be struck. For me, I think it takes a little bit of a constant conscious effort to make sure I'm still dreaming, to hold on to that sense of optimism and hope. It might take the form of courageousness, mischievousness, or playfulness. I purposefully keep my responsibilities and burn rate low, so I can take more experimental leaps that involve more risk. I find that this is my strategy to maybe, just maybe, trend a little closer to being a savage operator as the years go on. 🔪

engaged buyers

I couple weeks ago I sold my motorcycle. I've been getting messages from the buyer updating me on how things are going with my old bike. He's shared pictures and details on the fixins he's done to improve the quirks and issues I had during my ownership.

As a curiosity point, this has never happened to me. I almost never get messages from a buyer, especially for something like a motorcycle. I'd understand if it was a new owner reporting back to an animal shelter to send updates as to how a new pet is getting along. That makes a little more emotional sense versus reporting back on a … motorcycle.

Hot damn though, I thought it was a nice touch. It's cool to care. My bike lives on! 🏍️


In other news, I'm going to Japan tonight. I'm proud to say I've easily one-bagged many of my international trips with a 16L Datsusara bag:

I absolutely love minimal traveling. It's doable for everyone.

That's all for now folks, see you in a bit. 🥐