On NOT understanding people

I have been blogging 8 years. You'd think I know what is popular and what will get people clicking and talking. And you'd be right in a small way, because I know a little, and this is what I know:

My most popular post of all time is THIS one. The amount of original writing is limited. The insights are arbitrary and, dare I say it, relatively shallow and somewhat cliched. But it has a killer headline that seduces people to click.

My next best post (on LinkedIn) is THIS one. It has a quarter of the views, but 10 X the number of thumbs up! It is certainly a much better post than the previous one, but it is not particularly deep - and if you read it you will immediately grasp the obvious lesson/message it contains.

THIS post is much better than any of the above. It is actually useful and contains a powerful, 
foundational insight that can be translated (and used) into any business challenge. It has below average views, and 2 likes.

Watch and observe the follow of 'updates' on social media platforms. Whether it is Twitter or LinkedIn or whatever, the most popular posts are:

  • An image - with a (unoriginal) quote
  • A recipe that promises a quick solution in X number of steps
  • A wild promise to make someone better at (leadership, personal branding, productivity - fill in the blank)
  • A shortcut to achieving some type of superficial success (be more popular, get more followers, etc)

From what I have learned about people's online behaviours, I can say this quite unequivocally:

  • People don't really want to learn, they want a shortcut.
  • People don't want to think, they want to be reminded of what they know.
  • People don't' want to work at figuring something out, wrestle with an application - but want it given to them.
  • People don't actually grow their own purpose through self-reflection, they want to follow the crowd.
  • People invariably mistake the obvious for the truth.
  • Almost everybody reading this will think the above don't apply to them.

Words of Wisdom are seen as wise if everyone else previously agreed that those words are wise. Business advice is taken from people who are perceived to have been successful.

The TRUTH is that words of advice may be true or untrue irrespective of the past record of the person speaking them. The truth is the truth, no matter where it comes from. Someone who has spoken a past truth does not necessarily have a monopoly on the truth; it can come from anywhere - even from a child.

Taking advice from someone who has succeeded in business (or anything) is actually rationally not the smartest thing that you can do. They may have tried once or twice and succeeded wildly and admirably. Good for them. But that means they have not gone to school on that particular challenge.

Here is the thing though:

  • Because they have succeeded at one thing does not mean they will succeed again.
  • Because they have succeeded in their way, does not mean it is relevant to your situation.
  • Because they have succeed, does not mean they understand why they succeeded because they may actually not have the self-awareness or the understanding of the true factors of success.
  • Because they succeeded, they don't know what causes failures.
If ANYONE had the real secret or recipe, we would have no more failures. Polio may have been eradicated, but failure hasn't; because there is no antidote to failure.

If you want to take advice from someone, don't take it from someone who ONCE hit a hole-in-one; take it from a PRO who may have NEVER hit a hole-in-one, but can land the ball within a few feet from the hole every time.

This extract from our (approximately) fortnightly newsletter. Do you get it?

Interesting bits and pieces to get you to #thinkdifferent

This week another a sweet collection of interesting bits and pieces to get you to #thinkdifferent

  1. According to TED, these are the 10 best ads ever
  2. Is this what it is like to work in retail> Nasty, brutish and cheap?
  3. McKinsey Quarterly - The full issue with a big range of articles.

And something a bit more general and off-topic...

  1. Gender inequality is not about gender. Racial discrimination inequality is not about race.
  2. If you really want to, you can solve society’s most intractable problems like this.


Our gift to you is this little collection (in our birthday week)

The internet is awash in pop-psychology, motivational one liners and quotes from gurus and sages endlessly circulating from Tumblr to Facebook to Pinterest - every time earning an auto-tweet.

The link below HOWEVER is a document on Google Drive that you can download, and are all original insights from one of the sharpest minds writing about business and life at the moment - NN Taleb.

Unlike motivational one liners, this document contains 'heuristics' - that is shortcuts that point to a greater wisdom. Don't be fooled by the first read - unfortunate you have to stop and think.

N Taleb insights about life - and a few examples

  • Be polite, courteous, and gentle, but ignore comments, praise, and criticism from people you wouldn't hire.
  • Mathematics demands an uncontrolled hunger for abstraction, philosophy a very controlled one.
  • You can tell how poor someone feels at the number of times he references money in his conversation.
  • What counts is not what people say about you, it is how much energy they spend saying it.


insights - How Olympians stay motivated

Want to speed read a novel in 90 minutes?

Which country exports the most CEOs?

A collection of curated smarts - get it here.


This week we have a cracker of MUST READS for you from all around the net...

  1. The three Cs of customer satisfaction by the always insightful team at McKinsey's
  2. A Facebook story that illustrates karma beautifully - especially if you are entrepreneur...
  3. The biggest CON of all time - is just what I think. (I write elsewhere when it is off-topic for Ganador.)
  4. 10 Lessons for Lifetime Success from an Accidental Businessman
  5. How many publicly traded companies with a market capitalization of at least US$1 billion grew by 5% each year for five years – AND HOW DID THEY DO IT?

PS: Made some changes on the website and added some new stuff. Come for a visit...


Something for everyone

There is something for everyone in this little list of internet goodies...

  1. The things I have learned (some of it anyway)
  2. As privacy is eroded, tools emerge to circumvent that
  3. 3 Reasons why you will never be successful
  4. 8 Things The Most Successful People Do That Make Them Great
  5. 7 Things really persuasive people do
  6. When You Fall in Love, This Is What Facebook Sees

ENJOY! (And share the love.)

This week on the net


The weekly roundup of stuff you shouldn't have missed...

  1. Top 10 Innovators in Retail. For what it is worth, by the time they get on a ‘list’, it is too late to copy them if you really want to be an innovator.
  2. A really insightful take on some key paradigm shifts. 3 Foundational Marketing Shifts and How B2B Marketers Can Benefit
  3. Isaac Asimov Predicts in 1964 What the World Will Look Like Today — in 2014
  4. As I keep telling my clients… and now HBR revisits that thorny question:The First Strategic Question Every Business Must Ask

Links and quotes and goodies

#thinkdifferent --

Something from those corners of the internet you may have missed, but is worthwhile

  1. McKinsey has a great presentation about the ‘circular economy’. Whilst it is principally about recycling/ sustainability, I challenge you to extract the key insights and thinking about how the SHARING economy is also a form of circular economy
  2. A list of different programs that can be used to create content (including screencasts etc) online. I can’t vouch for them all but it is a good start…
  3. 28 Awesome Things You Didn't Know About Google (But Should) from the Tele…
  4. The ego that ate the brainstorm - kick out the BOSS...

My insight of the week:

Authenticity requires the resolution of the tension between the ultimate forms of (pure) selfishness and (brutal) honesty.




Best of the the internets this week


I am ruthless with my weekly links to love. I only pick 4 of 5 must reads - and I make sure it is worth it...

  1. This is why you should stop trusting yourself.
  2. Always fascinated with what people think the future will hold. Here is ACCENTURE on 2014 and beyond
  3. According to Entrepreneur Mag 14 Apps Every Entrepreneur Needs in 2014
  4. And from the same mag, this article on how Jerry Seinfeld manages to produce so much, high quality comedy consistently: 


YOU can return the favour by investing 2 of those minutes I saved you, by answering this very brief survey.

Best of the internets this week and it is a cracker


My small contribution to curating something interesting from the sea of noise.

  1. This is a great little game that illustrates Gamification of learning – but communicates important research. But it is really just an excuse to get you to explore the rest of the Nobel Prize site.
  2. I have been sprouting about the Internet-of-things for awhile now. Have you been paying attention? Google has
  3. I wrote a blog about content marketing. Then I blogged about blogging about it. And now the rest of the world is continuing the debate.
  4. If you have a love-hate relationship with Youtube, you will love this post about the comments section of YouTube.


A gift of good stuff just for you (links of the week)

This content curated especially for you to love and learn. I know I did and if you take the time, you will do. The best of the best stuff on the internets...Enjoy: