Quote of the week
I believe that what people believe to be true is what they act out, not what they say. -J. Peterson
What I learned this week
Identity drives our purchases
Last week I stumbled across 2 interesting articles about our spending behavior (linked below).
The concept is really interesting and requires critical reflection: We increasingly buy things based on how we think we are perceived while using them.
I never though of it that plainly, but I think it’s absolutely right. Social media machanics – the ability to share our “usage” – fuels this behavoir. Apparently one of the first brands who exploited this idea was Pepsi: “It was the first brand that focussed on selling not a product, but a better version of themselves”. Think of following brands: Apple, Red Bull, Rolex. Those companies have enourmous pricing power, exactly because of this mechanism.
Moreover it’s interesting to see this idea in the context of social media marketing: Do “old fashioned” brands, that get a dusty image nowadays, lack exactly that? Defintely true for some. Opel, anyone?
Furthermore, I think it would be an interesting question, how far this idea goes beyond consumer behavoir. Are there any limits to this? Consider following 2 examples:
- Book A is highly regarded in my social circle. I read it and I find absolutely nothing in it. Now Amazon asks for a review. What do I write? Is my thinking more like “I don’t care what my friends think, I’ll give it 1 star anyways” or “It was bad, but there has to be something in it, that I didn’t get. I’ll give it 4 stars anyways.” I assume we tend to do more of the latter than we would admit.
- In my cicles it’s socially not accepted to show support for right wing parties. However, voting results show quite the opposite. This leads to the assumption that many people vote differently than they act like. However, in the voting case, choices are anonymous, which might lead to different choices in the end.
- Lauren Loktev – Consumption as identity, not as crazy as it sounds
- Zander Cutt – The approval economy
To foster learning, change your attitude towards risk
We often read about how to improve our lives: get out of your comford zone, take well calculated risks, get into new things. Looking back on our lives, we often slip into our professional careers by sheer accident, without even knowing how this happened.
This is why Tina Seelig from Standford University shares an interesting idea how to increase the odds of bumping into new opportunities: Taking small risks of all sorts, change our relationship with people who are helping us along the way and our attitude towards ideas.
What she means by taking small risks is intellectual risk (learning something new, pitching a new idea), social risks (opening up to somebody, talking to a stranger) or financial risk (investing in a new venture).
By changing our relationships, Seelig is talking mainly about being thankful for people who take the time and the patience to help us. They could spend this time on themselves or on other people as well. So we should always be grateful and show this gratefulness.
And third, she is talking about our attitudes towards ideas. We tend to judge ideas immediately and we often don’t see the opportunities in new ideas. She argues that any idea could be turned into something interesting.
I think this is a really interesting point, where a lot of startups fail: In the early stages of a company, everything is exciting and a lot of ideas are persued. But as time goes on, processes are introduced and creativity is killed more and more. Until – at some point – they stop innovating at all.
Cool thing of the week
You might already know the farnamstreet blog from previous posts. Shane Perrish does exraodinary posts on many interesting topics. Turns out, there also is an amazing podcast with guests such as Tyler Cowen (Marginal Revolution, Yale Economist), Annie Duke (Poker World Champion) or Ben Thomson (Stratechery).
Check them out here: The Knowledge Project