World book day 2018¶
I’m so glad I read this book when I did. During the development of a product we waste a lot of time 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 tells you how to ensure your business is kept running lean.
- Entrepreneurs are everywhere
- Entrepreneurship is management
- 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 some day this is a must read.
The smart creative was the most memorable thing for me. They’re always working on crazy new ideas, you can’t shut them up once they get started, they’re always learning, they’re a fire hose of new ideas - original new ideas.
- Hiring is the most important thing you do, everyone should be involved
- The smart creative - a new breed of technologist, 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 for those who get technology
This book shows us 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.
Peter Thiel’s a smart guy, learn all you can from him by reading this book and watching his talks on youtube.
Doing what we already know takes us from “1 to n”.
To create something 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)
- A wrongful practice persists only when most people don’t perceive it to be unjust. (p.99)
- 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)
This book was simply awesome, I had to read this slowly but was well worth it.
- 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 (Linda feminist) - 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 aging 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 aglet’s on the ends of your shoelaces. During your lifetime, the number of base pairs found in these telomeres wear 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)
- Developing self-compassion is not weak or wimpy, it is self-reliance, and a part of stress resilience. (p.132)
- 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)
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a Swiss psychiatrist who studied grief and mourning once said:
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
—Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a Swiss psychiatrist. (p.160)
- 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)
Conclusion with this great Einstein quote:
“A human being is part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such an achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.”
—Albert Einstein, as quoted in the New York Times, March 29, 1972
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Explains a number of weird economic phenomena, how a small legislation changes can have a huge impact 2-3 decades down the road and more.
- School teachers and sumo wrestlers - Cheating.
- How is the Ku Klux Klan like a group of real estate agents?
- Why do drug dealers live with their moms?! They don’t make any money
- Where have all the criminals gone? Romania abortion laws.
- What makes a perfect parent? Why do parents give their kids names that will hurt future prospects?
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal
I read this after the lean startup, this 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
This was an intriguing book, Malcolm Gladwell is awesome, I can’t wait to read more of his books (Blink & Outliers).
The idea is that small changes in ones environment can make a big difference in the outcome of their situation, for example, crime was steadily increasing in new york until they removed the graffiti around the stations and on the trains. As soon as a new train came in with graffiti, it was put out of service and cleaned up. Eventually the kids gave up vandalising and crime in the area started to fall. The tipping point for the crime was the vandalised environment, once the environment had changed for the better (cleaner, safer), crime started to fall.
This was just one example, there are a number of others in the book - certainly worth a read.
- 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.
Another fantastic book by Malcolm Gladwell. This time covering the where successful people are from rather than what they’re like.
I can’t get enough of Gladwell, I find his stuff really interesting to read.
- (Chapter 1) - The Matthew Effect
(Chapter 2) - The 10,000 Hour Rule
- The Beatles & Bill Gates had clocked more than 10,000 hours by the time they launched their first company.
- People like Bill Gates and Bill Joy had really fortunate circumstances which lead them to where they are today.
- When you’re born matters, your psychological mentality of the times matters, Bill, Steve & Eric were all born in 1955. At the perfect moment computers were ready to be taken mainstream.
- Seize opportunities as they come.
- (Chapter 3) - The Trouble with Geniuses, Part 1
- (Chapter 4) - The Trouble with Geniuses, Part 2
- (Chapter 5) - The Three Lessons of Joe Flom
- (Chapter 6) - Harlan, Kentucky
- (Chapter 7) - The Ethnic Theory of Plane Crashes
- (Chapter 8) - Rice Paddies and Math Tests
- (Chapter 9) - Marita’s Bargain
This was a great philosophical book. It got me thinking more about myself and looking more deeply at the things around me and in my environment.
This book is about uncovering the truths we all hide from in our daily lives. For example, Why do we smoke, drink and/or gamble? - To escape from the truths of our lives, the truths we don’t want to deal with.
I didn’t take notes on this book but I think I’ll reread it when I get a chance.
A great book which provides 6 “weapons of influence” used by companies and salesmen.
- Reciprocation: The old give and take… and take (p.17)
- Commitment and Consistency: Hobgoblins of the mind (p.57)
- Social Proof: Truths are us (p.114)
- Liking: The friendly thief (p.167)
- Authority: Directed deference (p.208)
- Scarcity: The rule of the few (p.237)
- (p.5) - the word because triggers an automatic compliance response on the subjects
- (p.5) - price alone had become a trigger feature for quality, higher price = better quality
- (p.13) - The contrast principle - sweatshirt and suit order
- (p.20) - the rule of reciprocity - coke favour experiment
(p.38) - rejection then retreat technique
- reciprocity rule
- the perceptual contrast principle (p.43)
- (p.50) - start with large requests and make concessions to smaller ones, this makes your opponent feel like they made the choice and more likely to feel responsibility to follow through.
- (p.61) - consistency - automatic consistency, we don’t like what we see so we ignore it or change our beliefs
- (p.68) - get people to make a belief and they’ll act it out a few days later.
- (p.69) - ask people how they fee so they make an exploitable public commitment
- (p.72) - the foot in the door technique
- (p.73/74) - change people’s self image by asking them to sign a petition for a cause they believe in, the subject will change there behaviour in the weeks after to reflect that “I’m a good citizen” - very manipulative
- (p.93) - social scientist have determined that we accept inner responsibility for a behaviour when we think we have chosen to perform it in the absence of strong outside pressures. A large reward is one such external pressure. It may get us to perform a certain action, but it won’t get us to accept inner responsibility for the act.
- (p.95) - short lived compliance vs long term commitment
- (p.116) - One mean we use to determine what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct.
- (p.117) - television executives use laughter to exploit our preference for shortcuts, our tendency to react automatically on the basis of partial evidence. Like the turkey chick providing maternal care to anything that cheeps.
- (p.118) - The most effective type of clips were those depicting not one but a variety of other children interacting with their dogs; apparently the printable of social proof works best when the proof is provided by the actions of a lot of other people.
- (p.129) - in general, when we are unsure of ourselves, when the situation is unclear or ambiguous, when uncertainty reigns, we are most likely to look to and accept that actions of others as correct.
- (p.129) - “pluralistic ignorance” - bystander aiding a victim
- (p.143) - similarity - we look for people similar to us and model them, don’t get an adult to teach a child, get a child to teach a child
- (p.169) - Liking - friendship principle - Tupperware party, Joe Girard
(p.180) - divide and conquer - two groups competing end up hating each other
- Conjoint efforts toward common goals steadily bridged the rift in the group.
- (p.188) - Shakespeare - “the nature of bad news infects the teller” - people don’t like bad news and associate it with the messenger. The simple association with it is enough to stimulate our dislike.
(p.193) - “the luncheon technique”
- Ivan pavlov - dogs salivating bell experiment
- it’s not a long step from luncheon to Pavlov
- (p.201) - football win/lose - if they had performed a test before to damage or improve their self image, it changed their views, they became more sure of themselves and used “we” even when there team had lost.
- (p.234) - advocate for the user by offering something at a lower cost to build trust, once they trust you more (and you have the authority) - up sell more products - you have to act like your on the customers side, ie: offer a cheaper product.
- (p.242) - scarcity - “limited number technique & the deadline tactic
- (p.245) - psychological reactance theory
- (p.247) - terrible twos - defiance - toy plexi-glass experiment
- (p.252) - when our freedom to have something is limited, the item becomes less available and we experience an increased desire for it.
- (p.256) - beef scarcity - make the news itself scarce - this increase sales 6x!
- (p.256) - Stephen Worchel cookie experiment.
- (p.262) - The cookies made less available through social demand were rated the most desirable
- (p.267) - The joy is not in experiencing a a scarce commodity but in possessing it.
A quick flick through shows this book to cover various topics around business.
Each concept is explained in just a few pages, straight to the point.