A good mental model of the internet is essential

Mickey Mellen
2 min readAug 28

I’ve talked a lot about mental models on here over the years, and even did a series of them a while back ( found here). Charlie Munger is a huge proponent of them, and I found my time digging through them to be very worthwhile.

However, there are models that can be more specific than the generic mental models I listed before. For example, if you are a golf coach, then you likely have a handful of solid models of how a swing should look and can assess and critique based on that.

I see the same with the internet. Generally speaking, people have a good idea of how things work; you need a browser to visit websites, password resets will go to your email, things like that. When you’re lacking that basic model, though, things fall apart very quickly. Kyle Caldwell shares that in this amazing TikTok video:


I kind of feel bad for both of them in this example, but the man didn’t have even a basic clue about how the internet worked, and he seemed disinterested in learning. That may be the bigger issue, because this kind of problem is likely to happen to him quite often until he’s willing to understand the overall model of how things work online.

I try to be aware of other models as I go through life and learn them when necessary, kind of like I shared a few years ago when I dug into areas where I’m ignorant. Some places I think it’s ok to remain ignorant, and others I feel the need to fix. Knowing the difference, and being willing to do something about it, is key.

Originally published at https://www.mickmel.com on August 28, 2023.

Mickey Mellen

I’m a cofounder of @GreenMellen, and I’m into WordPress, blogging and seo. Love my two girls, gadgets, Google Earth, and I try to run when I can.