Mimetic behavior revolves around the insight that human desire and correlating action is not autonomous, but collective. Peter Thiel has referenced the role of mimetic behavior in startups on multiple occasions, often drawing from contemporary French philosopher Rene Girard. When asked about this theory, Thiel points out, “Imitation is inescapable. As a rule, we do what we do just because other people are doing it, too.”
You’ve likely heard some version of the following: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Or, put another way, “You become who you surround yourself with.” These maxims reiterate the core theory driving mimetic behavior.
Dudum reiterates this principle, noting, “I’ve always believed that your intelligence is a reflection of the people you spend the most time with, so I try to surround myself with people I admire, who are smart, curious and driven.” Critically, your positive or negative lifestyle choices can be both reinforced or questioned — and in turn magnified — by those that you decide to spend time around.
Until the explosive rise of Hims & Hers, I’ve never quite realized the extent to which startup growth curves resembles those of its founding team. Dudum is prime example of mimetic behavior translating from one’s personal trajectory to that of one’s startup success.