Behavioral Economics + Neuroscience + Psychology + Data Science2 * Curiosity = Innovation


Social Skills Training Guide: Social Skills Inventory – By, Dr. Ronald Riggio & Ryan Merlin

Dissertation: The Use of Metaphors in New Venture Creation and Entrepreneurial Leadership – By Ryan Merlin

Power of Conceptual Reasoning and Paradox (in progress)

Why this blog

This is my collection of things that I find interesting and valuable. All my life I’ve been fortunate to have an almost insatiable curiosity that has led me to get into many areas along my journey. Often, my motivation is the pure intrinsic joy of learning and understanding how the world works. As I reflect on this, it is my intention to share some of the amazing nuggets that I’ve received and hopefully some of what I hope that the future holds.

Creativity and intelligence is a process and not something that merely happens. Some of the greatest thinkers had a disciplined process of capturing the ebbs and flows of creativity along the way in order to continuously build or learn from it. I read many of biographies to see if I can get a small peek into the internal workings of how they thought and perceived the world.

When I first began my PhD program I was told by one of my mentors that I am now an author. I was terrified! Mostly because I never felt like a good writer. I’m not fully sure why I thought that, but I suspect that it is because when I tried writing as a kid in school I’m sure that I did not ‘fit in the box’ of what the teacher was interested in. It’s fair to say the I had trouble merely just doing what I was told.

Areas of interest

This is my real resume of experience. It’s hard to communicate this in an elevator pitch πŸ™‚

Philosophy, martial arts, skydiving, competing as an endurance athlete/cyclist, programming/machine learning/big data, statistics, economics, neuroscience, psychology, FLOW (state of being in ‘The Zone’), engineering, meditation, biology, sport science, nutrition, linguistics, interpersonal communication, leadership, biology of sleep, music, real estate.

Other areas of interest that I have not been able to devote as much time as I’d like just yet include: aerospace, quantum physics, microbiology, genetics, architecture


Focus, vision, overshoot goals, look where you want to go instead of the obstacles in your path, surround yourself with people better than you, break down big tasks into smaller wins, one’s reach should always exceed their grasp, challenge assumptions when appropriate, know when to listen to you self & when to push yourself, strive to understand other perspectives and believes especially when they are in direct opposition to your own. Respect life in all of its forms. Invest in yourself!

Learning is mostly born from frustration, desire, and openness to trying a novel approach.

What really fascinates me is just how easy it is to be blinded by habits, or the context of any given culture and never stop to and ask the deeper questions. But this may not be completely surprising. Again we have to deal with varying levels of abstraction to make sense of the world and function within the limits of or mental abilities. And as things continue to get more and more complicated, busy, and compressed from a time perspective, we have to increase the level of abstraction (assumptions/heuristics) in which we work. As social beings we rely heavily, sometimes overly so, on taking cues from others as to how to behave. The result of increasing complexity in our daily lives means that it is much harder to pause long enough to think of and experiment with new approaches that could better suit our journey.

Doctoral Studies

The official version of my Ph.D. area of focus was on the use of metaphor as form of influence and persuasion, particularly in the context of business and entrepreneurial startups (I was incredibly fortunate to dive far deeper into fields such as behavioral economics, neuroscience, machine learning). Metaphor evokes an incredibly powerful mental process that has roots in being able to expand thinking, enhance efficient communication with others, symbolic manipulation of meaning, and leverages our internal mental strengths and weaknesses of System 1 & System 2 as Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman conceptualize it.

β€œThe greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor; it is the one thing that cannot be learnt from others; and it is also a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity in the dissimilar.” ― Aristotle

In pursuit of potential