World book day¶
During the development of a product, a lot of time is wasted building things that may not come to fruition. Using the methods in this book, you can keep waste to a minimum and also learn how to objectively measure what you’re working on using data.
This book explains how to ensure your business is kept running lean.
- Validated learning
- Build, measure and learn
- Innovation accounting
- Use small batches to catch issues faster & earlier
- Five why’s
This was a great read; if you’re planning on hiring people someday this is a must-read.
- Hiring is the most important thing you do, everyone should be involved
- The smart creative, hire learning animals
- Don’t listen to the Hippos (Highest paid persons opinion)
- Knights and Knaves - “Exile knaves but fight for divas”
- Decide with data
- Listen to those who get technology
This book explains how to drive constant innovation in your company. Large companies can fail as they don’t keep up to pace with the latest technological advancements in the field. The book used examples from the hard disk drive industry.
- Sustaining vs disruptive technologies
- There’s a good book group guide at the end which provides a great summary.
Doing what we already know takes us from “1 to n”.
When you create something truly new, you go from “zero to one”.
Characteristics of a monopoly / creative monopoly (p.48)
- Proprietary technology
- Network effects
- Economies of scale
The hazards of imitative competition may partially explain why individuals with an Asperger’s like social ineptitude seem to be at an advantage in Silicon Valley today. If you’re less sensitive to social cues, you’re less likely to do the same things as everyone else around you. If you’re interested in making things or programming computers, you’ll be less afraid to pursue those activities single-mindedly and thereby become incredibly good at them.
—Zero to One, Peter Thiel (p.40)
- Equity is a powerful tool precisely because of these limitations. Anyone who prefers owning a part of your company to being paid in cash reveals a preference for the long term and a commitment to increasing your companies value in the future. (p.116)
- CAC < CLT, Customer acquisition cost should be less than customer lifetime value (p.135)
- Gains from trade a greatest when there is a big discrepancy in comparative advantage but the global supply of workers willing to do repetitive tasks for an extremely small wage is extremely large. (p.142)
- Founders traits appear to follow an inverse normal distribution (p.175)
- The lesson for business is that we need founders. If anything, we should be more tolerant of founders who seem strange or extreme; we need unusual individuals to lead companies beyond mere incrementalism. (p.188)
Prospect theory assumes that losses and gains are valued differently and individuals make decisions based on perceived gains instead of perceived losses.
- System 1 (Fast, lazy, sometimes wrong) & System 2 (Slow, requires effort)
- (p.34) - pupil dilation - The pupils offer an index of the current rate at which mental energy is used.
- (p.48) - cognitive tests, ego depletion, overnight delivery of a book - Amazon prime
- (p.52) - the priming effect
- (p.53) - ideomotor effect
- (p.67) - the mere exposure effect
- (p.76) - Fritz heider Mary Ann simmel
- (p.81) - there is evidence that people are more likely to be influenced by empty persuasive messages, such as commercials, when they are tired and depleted.
- (p.81) - positive test strategy - reread, confidence system 1 vs 2
- (p.92) - intuitively, humans are good averages, but not good at sums.
- (p.111) - The law of small numbers. Extreme outcomes (both high and low) are more likely to be found in small then in large samples, small samples yield extreme results more often than large samples do.
- (p.114) - as described earlier, system one is not prone to doubt. It’s suppresses ambiguity and spontaneously construct stories that are as coherent as possible.
- (p.120) – 2 different mechanisms produce anchoring affects – one for each system. There is a form of anchoring that occurs in the deliberate process of adjustment, and operation of system 2. And there is anchoring that occurs by a priming affect, and automatic manifestation of system 1.
- (p.123) - suggestion and anchoring are both explained by the same automatic operation of system one.
- (p.124) - the anchoring index measure formula
- (p.129) - the availability heuristic.
- We defined the availability heuristic as the process of judging frequency by “the ease with which instances come to mind”
- (p.133) - availability bias
- (p.139) - affect heuristic
- (p.142) - availability cascade (love canal affair, alar scare - apples!)
- (p.154) – base rates
- (p.158) - Conjunction fallacy - muller lyer illusion (illusion, arrow length)
- (p.163) - frequency representation
- (p.166-169) - Bayesian inference, “a failure of Bayesian reasoning”
- (p.174) - learning psychology through surprises in your own behaviour rather than about people in general
- (p.178-179) - regression to the mean, sir Francis Galton
- (p.181) - the correlation coefficient
- (p.178-194) - regression to the mean
- (p.202/203) - Hindsight bias / outcome bias
- (p.211) - “The illusion of validity” - first cognitive bias
- (p.212) - Illusion of skill
- (p.220) - Illusion of validity - The world is not predictable
- (p.232) - intuition vs formula - army scoring 6 traits & “close your eyes” intuition score
- (p.236/237) - recognition primed decision
- (p.241) - “Remember this rule: intuition cannot be trusted in the absence of stable regularities in the environment.”
- (p.244) - intuition in unreliable in zero validity situations
- (p.247) - forecasting inside view and outside view, planning fallacy, irrational perseverance
- (p.278) - Prospect theory
- (p.334) - as in many other choices that involve moderate or high probability is, people tend to be risk of us in the domain of games and risk seeking in the domain of losses.
The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer
This was a great book for learning about ageing and keeping your body within a health span for longer before progressing into an inevitable disease span later in life.
The ends of your chromosomes have something called telomeres, which are like the aglets on the ends of your shoelaces. During your lifetime, the number of base pairs found in these telomeres wears down as your cells age (through mitosis). The shortening of these telomeres is what drives you from your “healthy span” into your “disease span”
- Negative effectors like stress, toxins and processed food can shorten telomeres.
- Positive effectors like developing a challenge response to stress, eating healthy (non processed and organic) foods and exercise can reduce telomeres shortening and preserve the existing length of them.
- The hayflick limit is the natural limit that human cells have to dividing. (p.21)
- Senescence is the stage at which cells stop dividing permanently - but still alive. (p.21) Senescence cells control the aging process. (p.36)
- A relationship exists between more smoking and increased telomere shortening. (p.66)
- Aristotle reportedly said “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”. (p.148)
- Major stress, depression & anxiety are linked to shorter telomeres, it’s important to seek help to protect your telomeres. (p.160,163)
- MBCT - Mindfulness based cognitive therapy (self awareness & focused attention) can help reduce stress and therefore the shortening of your telomeres.
- “When the caregivers practiced Kirtan Kriya for twelve minutes a day for two months, they increased their telomerase by 43 percent and decreased their gene expression related to inflammation.” (p.171)
- “People who exercise spend less time in the toxic state known as oxidative stress. This noxious condition begins with a free radical, a molecule that is missing an electron. A free radical is rickety, unstable, incomplete. It craves the missing electron, so it swipes one from another molecule—which is now unstable itself and needs to steal a replacement electron of its own.” (p.193)
- “Your body requires omega-3s to reduce inflammation and keep telomeres healthy. Omega-3s help form cell membranes throughout the body, keeping the cell structure fluid and stable.” (p.250)
- “a health researcher at UCSF who has been following cohorts of pregnant women, found that children who were breast-fed only (no formula or solid foods) in the first six weeks of life have longer telomeres.” (p.255)
“Higher levels of vitamin D in the blood predict lower overall mortality rates. Some studies find that vitamin D is related to longer telomere length, more so in women than men, and other studies do not find a relationship.”
“It can be hard to get enough vitamin D from diet and sunlight alone, depending on where you live, so this is a case when you may want to consider supplements (consult your doctor).” (p.258)
- “the closer a pregnant mother lived to a major roadway, and the fewer trees and plants in her neighborhood (which can reduce air pollution levels), the shorter were the telomeres of her placenta, on average.” (p.288)
- “severe adversity is related to feeling more compassion and empathy for others” (p.325)
- “Children (and adults) with more variations in the genes for neurotransmitters that regulate mood, like dopamine and serotonin, tend to be more sensitive to stress. They’re orchid children. Those most stress sensitive, based on genetics, tend to benefit more from supportive interventions and will thrive.” (p.334)
- “It’s easier to be distracted than you might think. When a cell phone is present on a nearby table, people engage in conversation that is more shallow, and their attention is more divided.” (p.340)
I read this after The Lean Startup, it was very interesting and got me thinking about product design from a new perspective.
- B = MAT - For any Behaviour, we need, Motivation, Ability and Trigger
- The unknown is fascinating, it creates suspense and mystery and makes us engaged
- BF Skinner - Variable ratio of reinforcement (Rewards of the tribe, hunt and self) - operant conditioning - pigeons pecking at disc with variable rewards they peck more, same as gambling on slot machines & social news feeds.
- Tribe - Social reinforcement (Facebook)
- Hunt - Search for resources (Gambling, twitter/facebook feed, endless scrolling for the next reward)
- Self - Feel good and variable, Intrinsic pleasure, control, completion (Email inbox, gaming, iPhone app badges)
The hook cycle consists of the following four stages:
- Trigger - External triggers (Buy now button) & Internal triggers (places, situations, emotions - particularly negative emotions)
- Action - Checking email, opening apps with badges, etc
- Variable reward - Skinners “variable ratio of reinforcement”
- Investment - Stored value, data, the better the feed becomes and appreciates through time - done to increase their likelihood of another pass through the hook cycle
- Aim to create habits in your consumers via frequency and perceived utility (p.28)
- Vitamins vs pain killers - Start with a vitamin which turns into a mild pain killer over repeated use (p.34)
- 2003 study of consumer behaviour and trust
- 1999 study - Building Consumer Trust in Online Environments
- CHAPTER ONE: The Three Rules of Epidemics
Yawning is incredibly contagious.
- If you fold a piece of paper 50 times, it would reach to the sun! - This is an example in mathematics called geometric progression.
The three rules of epidemics:
- Law of the few - Epidemics are started by a handful of exceptional people and how social they are, how knowledgeable, influential or energetic.
- The stickiness factor - There are specific ways of making a contagious message memorable.
- The power of context - Humans are more sensitive to their environment than they may seem.
- Economists often talk about the 80/20 Principle, which is the idea that in any situation roughly 80 percent of the “work” will be done by 20 percent of the participants.
- “Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should” - A classic american sticky advertising line. Stickiness is a critical component in tipping.
- The bystander effect/apathy - When people are in a group responsibility for acting is diffused.
CHAPTER TWO: The Law of the Few
- Connectors - People with a gift for bringing people together. They’re gregarious and know lots of people.
- Maven - Solve other peoples problems, generally by solving their own.
- Salesmen - Salespeople make change happen through persuasion.
- Social epidemics are heavily dependant on a small group of people with a rare set of social gifts.
Stanley Milgram’s small world problem experiment, late 1960’s.
The experiment was about posting a chain letter to a person in your social circle closest in proximity to the end goal, in this case Boston. Most letters reached the stock broker in five to six steps.
This experiment is where we get the concept of six degrees of separation.
Six degrees of separation doesn’t mean that everyone is linked to everyone else in just six steps. It means that a very small number of people are linked to everyone else in a few steps, and the rest of us are linked to the world through those special few.
- A Connector might tell ten friends where to stay in Los Angeles, and half of them might take his advice. A Maven might tell five people where to stay in Los Angeles but make the case for the hotel so emphatically that all of them would take his advice.
- In a social epidemic, Mavens are data banks. They provide the message. Connectors are social glue: they spread it.
The simple act of moving their heads up and down, ostensibly for another reason entirely—was sufficient to cause them to recommend a policy that would take money out of their own pockets. Somehow nodding, in the end, mattered as much as Peter Jennings’s smiles did in the 1984 election.
The first is that little things can, apparently, make as much of a difference as big things.
The second implication of these studies is that nonverbal cues are as or more important than verbal cues.
- One of the conclusions of the authors of the headphones study—Gary Wells of the University of Alberta and Richard Petty of the University of Missouri—was that “television advertisements would be most effective if the visual display created repetitive vertical movement of the television viewers’ heads (e.g., bouncing ball).” Simple physical movements and observations can have a profound effect on how we feel and think.
The pioneer of what is called the study of cultural microrhythms — is a man named William Condon.
- Interactional synchrony
- When two people talk, their volume and pitch fall into balance. What linguists call speech rate—the number of speech sounds per second—equalizes.
- When two people talk, they don’t just fall into physical and aural harmony. They also engage in what is called motor mimicry.
- In their brilliant 1994 book Emotional Contagion, the psychologists Elaine Hatfield and John Cacioppo and the historian Richard Rapson go one step further. Mimicry, they argue, is also one of the means by which we infect each other with our emotions.
If the charismatic person started out depressed, and the inexpressive person started out happy, by the end of the two minutes the inexpressive person was depressed as well. But it didn’t work the other way.
Only the charismatic person could infect the other people in the room with his or her emotions.
- CHAPTER THREE: The Stickiness factor
- The Law of the Few, which I talked about in the previous chapter, says that one critical factor in epidemics is the nature of the messenger.
- advertisement has to be seen at least six times before anyone will remember it.
- the legendary direct marketer Lester Wunderman
- The key to Wunderman’s success was something he called the “treasure hunt.” In every TV Guide and Parade ad, he had his art director put a little gold box in the corner of the order coupon.
- The gold box, Wunderman writes, “made the reader/viewer part of an interactive advertising system. Viewers were not just an audience but had become participants.
- fear experiments conducted by the social psychologist Howard Levanthal in the 1960s
- The students needed to know how to fit the tetanus stuff into their lives; the addition of the map and the times when the shots were available shifted the booklet from an abstract lesson in medical risk—a lesson no different from the countless other academic lessons they had received over their academic career—to a practical and personal piece of medical advice. And once the advice became practical and personal, it became memorable.
- According to a study done by one advertising research firm, whenever there are at least four different 15 second commercials in a two and a half minute commercial time out, the effectiveness of any one 15 second ad sinks to almost zero
- What we now think of as the essence of Sesame Street—the artful blend of fluffy monsters and earnest adults—grew out of a desperate desire to be sticky
- Eye movement research is based on the idea that the human eye is capable of focusing on only a very small area at one time—what is called a perceptual span
- the psychologist Ellen Markman calls the principle of mutual exclusivity
- Henson’s Muppet commercials from the 50s and 60s are hysterically funny but have a dark and edgy quality that understandably was absent from his Sesame Street work.)
- There was also a theoretical perspective at the time, based in part on [the influential child psychologist] Piaget, that a preschool child couldn’t follow an extended narrative.”
- But it becomes easy to understand how you would make a children’s show even stickier than Sesame Street. You’d make it perfectly literal, without any wordplay or comedy that would confuse preschoolers. And you’d teach kids how to think in the same way that kids teach themselves how to think—in the form of the story. You would make, in other words, Blue’s Clues.
- At CTW, the idea of learning through repetition was called the James Earl Jones effect.
- There is something profoundly counter intuitive in the definition of stickiness that emerges from all these examples. Wunderman stayed away from prime time slots for his commercials and bought fringe time, which goes against every principle of advertising. He eschewed slick “creative” messages for a seemingly cheesy “Gold Box” treasure hunt. Levanthal found that the hard sell—that trying to scare students into getting tetanus shots—didn’t work, and what really worked was giving them a map they didn’t need directing them to a clinic that they already knew existed. Blue’s Clues got rid of the cleverness and originality that made Sesame Street the most beloved television program of its generation, created a plodding, literal show, and repeated each episode five times in a row.
This book to cover various topics around business and management.
Each concept, in each section, is explained in just a few pages, straight to the point.
You can also find information for each section online here:
- Value Creation
- Value Delivery
- The Human Mind
- Working with yourself
- Working with others
- Understanding systems
- Analyzing systems
- Improving Systems
An excellent book covering some of the greatest psychological experiments of the 20th century, I found this great fun to read!
- Page 10 – Pavlov discovered what is called classical conditioning. This simply means that a person can take a pre-existing animal reflex, like blinking or being startled or salivating, and condition so it occurs in response to a new stimulus.
- Page 11 – could a person shape a behaviour – what Skinner came to call an operant
- Page 11 – thus, while Pavlov focused on animals behaviour in response to a prior stimulus – the bell – Skinner focused on animals behaviour in response to an after-the-fact consequence – the food.
- Page 13 – he found that irregularly rewarded behaviour was the hardest of all to eradicate.
- Page 17 – later in the century, clinicians began using techniques like systematic desensitisation and flooding, drawn directly from skinners operant repertoire, to treat phobias and panic disorders.
- Page 18 – because of Skinner we know that people respond better to rewards then punishment.
- Page 41 - In 1944 a psychologist by the name Daniel Frank realised that he could get his subjects to perform the oldest acts just because he wore a white coat when he made the request.
- Page 41 - Asch conformity experiment
- Page 46 - Milgrim’s discovery was not that people will hurt or kill one another; we have always known that to be true. Milgram’s discovery was that people will do so in the absence of aggression; he effectively disentwined murder from rage, for his subjects were not angry;
- Page 46 - in the eyes of social psychology, personality – who you are – matters less then place – where you are.
- Page 54 - External validity (generalisability)
- Page 55 - Movie: “The Tenth Level” with William Shatner
- Page 95 - Latané and Darley’s experiment - bystander apathy - group microphone therapy session where an individual faked a seizure to see how the subjects would act
- Page 101 - The Genovese murder - only 31% acted - similar to the milgrams disobedience rate (32-35%)
- Page 103 - “ diffusion of responsibility” - The more people witnessing an event, the less responsible any one individual feels and, indeed, is, because responsibility is evenly distributed among the crowd.
- Page 105 - Latané and Darley’s smoke room experiment (a naive subject and a actor in a room where smokes begins to pour from the vents, the actor continues to sit and fill out the forms as instructed - what does the subject do?) - The vast majority of people simply followed the actor - even in a possible emergency.
- We are driven by imitation (tip cues - place a few notes to begin with to cue others to tip more - it works).
- Turkey mothers use social cuing to care for their young only if the babies make a particular chirping, if they don’t chirp they die, we can attach a recording of this chirp to anything and the turkey will care for it - the chirp is the social cue which the turkey instinctively knows what to do with.
- Page 107 - Data from the FBI and state law enforcement agencies clearly show that after any well-publicised suicide, the number of fatalities from plane in the car crashes rise. David Phillips (a sociologist at the University of California) has dubbed this phenomenon “the werther effect” after Goethe published “The sorrows of young werther”.
- He found that within two months after every front page suicide story, an average of 58 more people than usual killed themselves.
- Page 114 - Leon Festinger “Cognitive Dissonance”
Page 118 - Dissonance theory predicts the more paltry the reward for engaging in behaviour that is inconsistent with the one’s belief, the more likely that person is to change his or her beliefs.
- The belief/disconfirmation paradigm (spaceship cult)
- The insufficient reward paradigm (lying for money)
- The induced compliance paradigm (fraternity hazing, people with more severe hazing pledged more allegiance to the group)
- Page 119 - Leon shows Skinners behaviourism was wrong. We are driven by punishment and paltriness.
- Page 122 - the seeking of consonance is a “drive state”. We spend our lives paying attention only to information that is Consonance with our beliefs, we surround ourselves with people who will support our beliefs, and we ignore contradictory information that might cause us to question what we have built.
- Page 133 - Harry Harrow’s primates “Monkey Love”
- Page 136 - The infant monkeys, when separated, became extremely attached to the terry cloth towels covering the cage floors. They would lie on them, grip them in their tiny fists, tantrum if they were taken away, just like a human infant with a ratty blanket or a stuffed bear.
- Page 138 - Here Harlow was establishing that love grows from touch, not taste, which is why, when the mothers milk dries up, as it inevitably does, the child continues to love her.
- Page 140 - Harlow and company had identified “contact comfort” as an essential component of love.
- Page 141 - The Iron Maiden was a special surrogate mother Harlow had designed; she shot out sharp spikes and blasted her babies with air so cold and forceful the infants were thrown back against the bars of the cages, clinging and screaming. This, claimed Harlow, was an evil mother, and he wanted to see what would happen.
- Page 142 - Harlow observed that the babies would not let go. They would not be deterred; they would not be thwarted. They came crawling back.
- Page 143/144 - (quote)
- Page 145 - Len Rosenblum, One of Harlow students at the time and now are renowned monkey researcher in his own right, says, “so we came to understand they were other variables to mothering; it wasn’t just touch, and it wasn’t just face. We hypothesised it had something to do with motion to. We made a surrogate that could rock, and the babies were almost normal then, not completely, but almost. We then tried a rocking surrogate with the one half hour a day when the baby could play with a live monkey and that produced an absolutely normal kid. What this means is that there are three variables to love – touch, motion, and play – and if you can supply all of those, you are meeting a primates needs“
- Page 146 - “it’s amazing how little our nervous system needs in order to turn out normal” says Rosenblum
- Page 148 - In an article published in 1966 “Maternal behaviour of rhesus monkeys deprived of mothering and Peer associations in infancy“ Harlow reported his results.
- Page 156 - Rat Park - A radical addiction experiment
Page 159 - Bruce Alexander, PhD, a psychologist who lives in Vancouver, will tell you this. He has spent his life studying the nature of addiction and has come to the conclusion that it does not reside in the pharmacology of a drug at all, but in the complex weave of unsupportive societies.“The vast majority of people, will use even the most addictive substances, and will use them perhaps repeatedly, but there is no inexorable progression to hell”.
- Page 162 - Alexander began to consider that the current theories of substance abuse were wrong; that people used, not because they had to pharmacologically, but because the substance was one valid way of adapting to difficult circumstances. This thinking violated the theory is back then and continues to go against the theories of today, despite the frequent not contemporary researchers make to the importance of “complex factors“.
- Page 163 - James Olds and Peter Milner, were the first to discover the fact that a white lab rat will monomaniacally press a lever to receive electrical brain stimulation in what was thought to be “the reward centre”.
- Page 165 - our body adapts to the synthetic input by ceasing its own private production. This is called “the neuroadaptive model“ and it poses, once again, that drugs inevitably throw off our homeostatic systems and make it so we must cross distant borders.
- Page 166 - 167 - Rat Park
- The cramped and isolated caged rats love the morphine laced water right from its subtle sugary start.
- The rat Park residents, however, resisted drinking the narcotic solution, no matter how sweet the researchers made it.
- this rather stunning findings shows, perhaps most clearly of all, how rats, when in a “friendly” place, will actually avoid anything, heroin included, that interrupts the normal social behaviours. The rats liked the sweetened water, so long as they didn’t get stoned.
- Page 169 - The vast majority of people who experience heroin withdrawal have something like a common cold. That’s it.
- Page 170 - Alexanders research suggests that addictions are in fact quiet subject to free will. Rats and humans pick up the proverbial pipe and then put it back down, no problem. And when they don’t put it back down, it’s not because there is something inherently irresistible about the substance, but because the particular set of circumstances that my mother finds it so thin offers no better alternatives then such destructive snacking.
Page 173 - Kleber “availability increases exposure, exposure increases addiction.“Lauren says to her husband “you’ll soon be hooked, if you aren’t already” and he said (being a rat park fan himself), “You know the real research, Lauren, I’m in a colony, not in a cage”
- Page 176 - Alexander found that addiction rates seem to grow not as drug availability increases, but as human dislocation becomes commonplace.
- Alexander believes that difficult circumstances lead to addiction;
- Kleber believes it is exposure to fixed pharmacological properties;
- Page 182 - Lost in the mall - Memory Experiment - Elizabeth Loftus
- Page 185 - People are so suggestible
- Page 185 - Loftus believed it’s entirely possible to plant a false memory into someone.
- Page 186 - Loftus prepared for each subject a small booklet containing three written accounts of real childhood memories provided by the subjects family member, and one false written account of being lost in the mall.
- Page 188 - in the formal experiment, 25% of the subjects suddenly remembered being lost in the morning and, when debriefed, expressed surprise, or even shock, at the deception. (25% confabulation rate)
- Page 189 - Steve Porter, formally from University of British Columbia. Porter was able to convince roughly 50% of his subjects that they had survived a vicious animal attack in childhood. And of course it never happened.