Bentoists making a splash

// The Weekly Bento // July 18, 2021 //

Hello my friends and welcome to the Weekly Bento. In this week’s issue:

  • News: ⏱️ The 15-minute Weekly Bento

  • Kudos: 🌊 Bentoists making waves

  • Recommended: 🎉 Wellbeing, gathering, and art

  • Prompt: 🙋 The post-pandemic world

News: ⏱️ The 15-minute Weekly Bento

The creation of Bentoism stemmed from my personal desire to make decisions that fulfilled my true self-interest. Too often I saw situations through the limited lens of what I wanted in that given moment. Only with reflection later on would I recognize my tunnel vision, sometimes with embarrassment and regret.

The four simple boxes of the Bento are a reliable window beyond my limited point of view. They help me see things through the eyes of people who are important to me, from the perspective of the person I hope to become, and from the bigger picture I’m contributing to, whether I acknowledge it or not.

To plan for the second half of 2021, I’ve been reflecting on the Bento’s origins, its larger mission, and the community that exists around it today. In that spirit, this week we will experiment with a Weekly Bento format that lasts just 15 minutes and honors its original intent. Join me:

The 15-minute Weekly Bento
12pm - 12:15pm EST

The event will start exactly at 12pm. Doors will open at 11:55am.

RSVP for the 15-minute Weekly Bento

Kudos: 🌊 Bentoists making waves

This week three members of the Bento Society had major professional milestones. Let’s celebrate them!

  • Mario Vasilescu is the cofounder and CEO of Readocracy, a tool for quantifying and measuring the content you consume. This week Readocracy was named a member of a new Building a Better Internet project by the VC studio Betaworks. Big congrats to Mario, who is very passionate about his work, and to Betaworks, whose founder John Borthwick is also a Bento Society member. Well done everyone!

  • Jinglan Wang is cofounder and CEO of Optimism PBC, a scalability platform for decentralized applications that encourages the creation of public goods. This week Optimism had a major announcement in the crypto world, with their work scaling in a big way. Congrats to Jinglan and the others who are working to create public goods using the blockchain. Exciting stuff.

  • Finally, Zach First is Executive Director of the Drucker Institute, which just launched a very Bentoish project: Barron’s Future Focus Stock Index, a project that attempts to quantify and predict the most innovative and future-oriented companies in the world, turning them into a tradable stock index. Congratulations to Zach and the Drucker Institute for a creative way of encouraging the business world to take the longer view.

Congrats to Mario, Jinglan, Zach, and their collaborators on their work!

Know of a community member deserving of a kudos? Tell us about it:

Recommended: 🎉 Yancey’s picks

Five things inspiring me this week:

  • Robert Rauschenberg, White Paintings. In 1951, a then-unknown painter named Robert Rauschenberg painted 17 canvases with white house paint. He called the series “White Paintings.” 

    Originally used as part of a set for a performance with the musician John Cage, these paintings are now timeless classics worth many millions of dollars. This sounds like some kind of in-group conceptual art joke (and in a way it was), but there’s an element to the series that I love. 

    Rauschenberg included a set of instructions with the paintings stating that they must be freshly repainted on a continual basis. This was partially to ensure they always look new, but there was a conceptual element as well: over time the paintings would accrue anonymous painters and layers of paint, steadily distancing Rauschenberg himself from the work. The paintings will gradually lose their physical authorship. The paintings, which hang in galleries around the world, continue to be repainted according to these instructions to this day.

    What I find inspiring about these instructions is that they codify something like seasons onto an inanimate object. The paintings will degrade, then be renewed, only to degrade and be renewed once again. This both guarantees the future state of the work (assuming the instructions are followed) and defines future participation. Inspired.

    (I read about the theory behind these paintings in a wonderful new book called The Free World by Louis Menand, a highly recommended history of art and philosophy in the 20th century.)

Prompt: 🙋 Collective effervescence in a post-pandemic world

We’re going to close with a prompt that I’d love your thoughts on.

In the Adam Grant essay cited earlier, he writes that after the pandemic we should: 

“rethink our understanding of mental health and well-being... less as personal euphoria and more as collective effervescence…

He gives examples like:

“…the synchrony you feel when you slide into rhythm with strangers on a dance floor, colleagues in a brainstorming session, cousins at a religious service or teammates on a soccer field.”

For those of us who use the Bento, we’re well aware of the importance of the Us space. But how can we prioritize that buzz of connection that comes with shared purpose? When conditions allow, will we dare to make true connection and effervescence our goal?

I leave you with this: When and where have you felt collective effervescence, and where will you seek it when you come together with your people or strangers once again? I’d love to hear your reflections on this. Email us at We’ll share a few of your thoughts in our email next week.


  • Help the Bento Society by responding to our anonymous survey on what we’re doing well and what we could be doing better.

Peace and love my friends,

The Bento Society

The Bento Society explores the frontiers of what’s valuable and in our self-interest. We host weekly events and support projects aligned with our mission.

Join the Bento Society