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Ranking Good Behavior & Promoting Products Too Early (Reading Notes 8.15.18)

Resource: Community rank
Link: https://seths.blog/2018/08/community-rank/

Thoughts/Reflections:

Interesting point by Seth here. Although this is an example that proves the opposite point of the one he’s making, it reminds me of the social rankings episode of Black Mirror where people are downvoted/upvoted based on their everyday interactions with people. In that episode, it leads to a lot of fake forms of niceness and things take a very bad turn in the end. It frightens you away from such a ranking system. But is that the only way to imagine ranking systems? One way to extract value from Seth’s suggestion is by thinking about acts of kindness/charity in terms of systems design. When we build platforms and communities, are we incentivizing our users to do the kinds of things that represent the values we stand for? Fun food for thought.

Quotes/Excerpts:

“You’re probably familiar with class rank. Among all the kids in this high school, compared to everyone else’s GPA, where do you stand? And you’ve heard about sports rank, #1 in the world at tennis or golf or chess. But somehow, we don’t bother with community rank. Of all the contributions that have been made to this community, all the selfless acts, events organized, people connected–where do you stand? Maybe we don’t have to measure it. But it might be nice if we acted as if we did.”

Resource: Don’t promote until people can take action.
Link: https://sivers.org/buyable

Thoughts/Reflections:

I see a definite application and non-application to Derek’s point here. In the name of making sure I’m actually learning something, as opposed to showing how cool I am for seeing things in a different way, here’s where I see the validity and value of Derek’s point: If you promote your work too heavily before having an actual product to promote, you’ll fall prey to the professional version of “boy who cried wolf.” That is, you spent so much time making announcements about a story that had no substance, that your audience has already be satiated by the time you truly have something they need to hear. Derek places a high premium on that precious moment when you’ve captured another person’s attention. When such a moment happens, make it count.

There is a context where I think an alternative approach might be better. Sometimes it can be helpful to generate buzz around your product in advance of people’s ability to buy it. This is especially true if you’re a less experienced artist or professional. I don’t think you can afford to let people hear about your music for the very first time when you’re ready to sell it. Otherwise, why would they buy? You have to work on building your brand before you need people to buy your brand. “It’s a similar idea to the classic networking principle of “dig your wells before you need the water.”

Quotes/Excerpts:

“Never promote something until people can take action, or you might waste the one moment you had their attention.”

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