Where Did It All Go Wrong by Eaon Pritchard: https://www.amazon.com/Where-Did-All-Wrong-Advertising/dp/1544901054
Aberdeen FC: https://www.afc.co.uk/
Dan Ariely: https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_ariely_asks_are_we_in_control_of_our_own_decisions
Steven Pinker: https://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_language_and_thought/transcript?language=en
Philip Graves: http://philipgraves.net/
Matt Ridley, The Evolution of Everything: https://www.amazon.com/Evolution-Everything-How-Ideas-Emerge/dp/0062296019
Know someone who would make a great guest on The Strategy Inside Everything? Drop us a note here.
[00:00:26] Adam Pierno: Welcome back to a slightly overdue episode of The Strategy Inside Everything. We have been working hard to get this one synced up. Our guest today is coming from halfway around the world, he’s where he’s supposed to be, and I’m calling him from halfway around the world. I’m not sure which one is the right way.
[00:00:43] Eaon Pritchard: [laughs]
[00:00:45] Adam: He is the Head of Strategy at UM, and he’s got a fantastic book out, which we’re going to talk about in a bit. Welcome, Eaon Pritchard.
[00:00:53] Eaon: Hi, Adam. Thanks for having me.
[00:00:57] Adam: Dude, thank you for your patience as we are trying to get this thing scheduled. There was a lot of back and forth, so I really appreciate your hanging in there while we we both kind of work through tough calendars.
[00:01:06] Eaon: That’s okay. Life gets in the way. That’s– [laughs]
[00:01:12] Adam: Yes, sure does. Before we dive into our topic, I wanted to let you tell the audience a little bit about your career, because it’s a pretty amazing career. Your experience is– I’m jealous of it. I’d love to hear a little bit of your time in London and now what you’re doing at UM.
[00:01:31] Eaon: Sure. My humorous anecdote around this is when you get to my age then you start to get wheeled out to students and people like that to give career advice. One of the things I say is, “Have a look at what I did. Don’t do that.”
Yes, my background– I went to art school. I was a painter. When I left art school, I tried to do that for a little while, but then got caught up in music. This was in the late 80s when acid house– it wasn’t called that then. The thing that start to break into a culture. In my final year in art school, we’ve gone to see a big Andy Warhol retrospective in London. This was from Scotland. We can’t by accident blundered into some of this emerging club scene or warehouse scene that was starting to happen.
That captivated my interest and a couple of other people. We went back up the road and then decided we were going to run illegal warehouse parties and things, did that for a few years. It led to record labels, actually making records and music, then DJ’ed around Europe until about 1995/1996 and then I thought, “Maybe it’s about time I got a proper job.” I think I was kind of– [crosstalk]
[00:03:30] Adam: Why?
I didn’t even know about this part and now I’m even more jealous.
[00:03:36] Eaon: Well, I guess a lot of my contemporaries at the time were people like– I don’t know if anyone’s heard of these people, but– This was even people like Sasha, John Digweed, Justin Robertson and all of these cold comfort, and they were all just ex-football hooligans or whatever, guys like me. Through combination of obviously talent and luck, they kind of made it big. I got to a point where I thought actually, “Probably not going to happen, beyond the level I was at,” I thought, “Maybe I need to actually think about a proper job.” During the process of doing the music, we’d started some record labels and of course this is in the old days when there were big 12″ black plastic things, and–
[00:04:33] Adam: I vaguely remember this.
[00:04:35] Eaon: [laughs] Yes. You had to design labels. You had to design sleeves and posters and things. Because I’ve been the arty one, it was, “Right, well, you can do that.” I had to figure out how to use a rudimentary Apple computer and then just really blundered into designing things there. I became a graphic designer initially working for things like newspapers, just making up the little 10″ x 2″ ads for the newspaper locally. Then towards the end of the 90’s when– this was just before broadband internet penetration, people had the idea that the way to get the internet into people’s homes was through the television.
I went to London thinking interactive televisions is going to be the next big thing, went to London to work for Sky TV, doing that, or BSkyB as its known. Of course then, I was right in the middle of the first wave of digital agencies. There were people there– and poked. In London, that was sort of blazing, that trail. I joined a small agency called Weapon7, now a huge agency. It’s only about five of us at the time. We worked in a little corridor of FCBs office on Newman Street and really pioneered a lot of– There was a lot of optimism for what the–
[00:06:20] Adam: Yes, all the potential, everything that could possibly happen.
[00:06:25] Eaon: Yes. It was still under the agency. The agency won a lot of awards, things like BAFTAs as well, not just advertising awards for some stuff we’re doing, then got acquired by Omnicom and became very, very big overnight. We went from 10 people to 50 people. For me, it got too big and I think some of my paths that I wanted to pursue then became more difficult. It was like there was more people in there. I left Weapon7 and did a lot of other things. Then around 2010, I got a call saying this, “Have you ever thought of working in Australia?” I was like, “Well no, but I’m thinking about it now.”
Because I used to live outside of London, in Hampshire, I’d get up at half past five in the morning and then go sitting on a train for an hour and a half to get into Waterloo, and then sit on this disease ridden tube to get up to West London and so I had–
[00:07:35] Adam: You make it sound so glamorous.
[00:07:37] Eaon: It was all glamour, all glamour. No, but I just in my head thought, “Sunshine. Beaches. That’s going to be good, so we’ll come out here.”
[00:07:47] Adam: I know, the idea of a beach always sound so great until you get out there and work 60 hours a week. How did you make the move from strategy to design? You were probably doing a lot of strategy at Weapon7?
[00:08:00] Eaon: Well, no. That was where I kind of got interested. One of the partners there, Mark Brown, was a very well-regarded strategy sort of guy in London. I’ve picked his brains quite a lot and listened to him. Because I’ve been a creative, I’ve been a designer and then had gone through and been creative director, but I didn’t in my mind– I thought actually, “I’m kind of not a great creative director. I’m kind of average probably at best,” but I had this sense that I was going to be great at something.
It just wasn’t that. In those early days of interactive media, I think we were very concerned with why is someone going to click or why is someone going to want to participate in this thing, so that got me interested in the more of human psychology of things and that sort of thing naturally leads you into strategy. It was never a conscious, “I want to be a planner.” It’s just gradually over time I just moved over to the other side. I feel like I had this sense that I was great at something. Maybe that’s still slightly delusional, but I’m a little bit better at this than I was at being–
[00:09:31] Adam: You had more– maybe it’s just confidence more than anything.
[00:09:34] Eaon: Yes. If we get to talk about the book here in a minute, the confidence is– That’s the key component of the argument that I’m making, about the nature of confidence and how that’s possibly been detrimental to the state of the industry today.
[00:10:00] Adam: Yes let’s talk about it so your book is called, Where Did It All Go Wrong, Adventures at the Dunning Kruger Peak of Advertising. If people don’t know what Dunning Kruger is, they can go do a little bit of Google and read the studies. It’s about people assuming that they are good at their job and it’s almost like the more incompetent they are, the more they believe they are good at the job. I’m oversimplifying– [crosstalk].
[00:10:23] Eaon: No you’re not simplifying, how does it go? Ignorance begets confidence far more than competent staff or something like that.
[00:10:37] Adam: Yes. It’s the research that came out of that, the Dunning Kruger research is mind-boggling.
[00:10:45] Eaon: It’s kind of hilarious as well I think that was one of the things that also drew me probably some 10 years ago, I started first doing research and getting interested. It’s just the kind of the funniness of so much of what psychology research has uncovered about our motivations and why we do things. I guess I was listening to this like, “I’m not sure if I want to get into science.” It’s a good laugh as well.
[00:11:18] Adam: A lot of it is when you really read it you can tell when there’s a joke being played inside of really dry writing.
[00:11:26] Eaon: Exactly.
[00:11:27] Adam: Then they get that it’s funny and I’ve heard. I think it was Freakonomics Students episode with some of the people involved in that Dunning Kruger research specifically and those guys get that. They totally get the joke about what they discovered and why it’s funny.
[00:11:43] Eaon: Even one of my favorite writers is Steven Pinker is obviously one of the most famous psychologist. He’s a linguist I think originally. He writes his great long books that are full of data analysis, but also full of jokes as well. Which helps you along when you trying to read various dense things, but there’s a lot of humor injected into that as well.
[00:12:14] Adam: Levity goes a long way in breaking up, really complex thinking or really dry subject. I know Pinker from you, actually I know that Pinker writes a lot about Evolutionary Psychology and how to translate.
[00:12:29] Eaon: Maybe I was going to the Freakonomics guys are almost like a comedy couple acts in a way because there’s the kind of– I can’t remember which ones which but one this very much the straight man and the other one that’s the funny guy.
[00:12:47] Adam: I think by comedy standards they’re both probably the straight men but Dubner certainly plays the jokester out of those two guys. Let’s talk a little bit about today’s topic which is actually super interesting, Applied Evolutionary Psychology. You mentioned Steven Pinker, he’s kind of helping bring evolutionary psychology into mainstream culture. Although it’s being studied and there are psychologists and others writing the scholarly work on it. As you and I both note in our books, trying to make it relevant to people and marketing and relevant living in 2018, talk to me a little bit about what captured you as you started thinking about it.
[00:13:36] Eaon: I think my sort of routine was probably about, this is probably about 10 years ago. Whenever it was that there were those in the show, there was like [unintelligible 00:13:51] and [unintelligible 00:13:50] and couple of others but there is sort of what you would call pop psychology books that came out predictably irrational. I think it was the first really big one.
[00:14:07] Adam: It’s on my desk right now.
[00:14:10] Eaon: I think for a lot of people in advertising that was a moment when all of a sudden, a lot of that stuff became very accessible and then people like [unintelligible 00:14:26] picked up on that and really popularized that. Rory sort of, I think he said something about this he said, the great thing about behavioral economics was it gave us a language to talk to marketing directors or CEOs. It basically had the word economics in the title which kind of legitimizes it.
Instead of what stuff that we intuitively knew we now had a sort of framework, a more scientific framework and able to talk to and it gave it moral credibility. That really introduced a lot of that stuff into advertising and for a lot of people, that’s sort of enough. You sort of leave it there and there’s plenty to explore and then thinking fast and slow came along, and everyone had the speaks of language. Now that we could talk about biases and all that kind of stuff and that was great.
I enjoyed all that and I used a lot of that stuff but then you get to a point where you think okay you can take something like loss aversion as a sort of, that’s a tool that you can use say, “We feel loss is worse than equivalent gain.” How can I leverage that in some sort of communication? That’s fine but then you should think why would that be the case? Why would we feel that way or confirmation bias?
Which is tendency to seek out a collaborated evidence to back up a point of view that you already hold. Why do we do that? Because it seems like these are foibles or cognitive traps that can trip us up, but why do they exist? They must have served some purpose at one time. That’s when looking more for what are the fundamental motives behind that? That’s when you get into evolutionary theory because then you have to trace that back to the time when our minds really evolved.
[00:16:56] Adam: Yes, because it’s not–
[00:16:59] Eaon: That wasn’t in the modern world, it was 100,000 years ago.
[00:17:02] Adam: Because you can still link things like choosing a bank. I can still choose that to a decision, to a mutation or a decision-making process formed during some part in human development where we wanted safety or security for our items or for our family.
[00:17:23] Eaon: Exactly.
[00:17:24] Adam: Some of those things still have to fire when I’m looking at three different bank websites and going, “Which one is the one for me to trust?”
[00:17:30] Eaon: Yes, exactly. There’s a little trend in Australia for the moment where it’s a smaller market. You got four big banks that really are competing for the bulk of the customers. It’s funny when you look at the way that they communicate. You think they are all frozen, they’ve just got it so wrong because they don’t understand why people choose a bank and it’s exactly that. As a goal, most human behavior is goal-directed. What you want from a bank is whether you want the generic category benefits. You want to have a card or you want to have an account and you don’t want to pay fees, but you want to really know that your money is safe, all right?
You don’t really care what particular social issues or whatever. They come up with sort of grandiose statements about how they’re not really about money, they’re more about making the world a better place. It’s like, “I don’t really– that’s other people’s job”
[00:18:44] Adam: Kind of want you to be about money.
[00:18:45] Eaon: Sure and you can get a bit cynical about that and you can also think– it actually puts advertising into perspective because you think actually despite the fact that all of these big companies are spending huge amounts of money communicating stuff that is completely irrelevant to the consumer. You think actually their business is surviving and growing in spite of their advertising not really because of–
[00:19:19] Adam: Let’s think about it because with a bank, they’re all going to that mission-driven messaging and you’re right, they’re not talking about the category basics. Do you think we as consumers I understand what a bank is, I assume it’s table stakes and they all have big vaults. That they all have security and there’s no actual paper money I’m sure. They all have their appropriate amount of security. Now I need a next higher order benefit or a lower order benefit that’s more like, “Oh they’re in the community doing things that, that can’t be bad. Whatever the next thing is or maybe banks are just a bad example for this, for evolutionary psychology.
[00:20:03] Eaon: Actually because in my book, there’s a little chapter in the book, which is around the premise of well, they are asking the question of can brands be altruistic because all of this purpose-driven fashion at the moment is around altruism but what I saw, I’ve argued is that fundamentally what that’s communicating is not so much about the altruism, it’s more of a signaling device which telling consumers that we’re such a big successful and safe company that we can afford to waste money on altruistic acts. It’s just another status signaling device, so it’s nothing.
[00:20:56] Adam: It’s just saying we have surplus to reinvest in the community. I think about here in the US, Budweiser was hurting for a long time and they did a– there was a natural disaster here. It was a flood in the Houston area or actually a lot of the southeast and they shipped– they shut down the plant, one of the Budweiser plants and they shipped a certain amount of bottles of water. They stopped brewing beer, they stopped bottling beer and they bottled a bunch of Anheuser-Busch water and they shipped it there to the people that were affected.
It was something like I’m going to say it was $0.5 million worth of water which is generous. That’s great and they did it in 24 hours or something like that, really fast turn. Then their Super Bowl ad was like a mini 30-second or 60-second documentary showing the plant manager getting the call and waking up at 3:00 AM and going and doing that. I thought well you just spent $3.5 million which is actually more than you spent on the water. You could have given $3.5 million in water if you were really altruistic, so high line up with you, it’s self-serving to a certain extent but–
[00:22:07] Eaon: They all say, if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing in public.
[00:22:12] Adam: [laughs] That’s right. We might as well we might as well make an ad about since we did it and get the credit for it, Jesus.
[00:22:20] Eaon: That’s the thing just coming back to the evolutionary theory. That’s why it’s such an elegant theory because you’re going to look at any phenomenon like that, then you keep asking why until you get back to that the ultimate motivation for that behavior, which is in a sense, if you’re going to look at what Budweiser did there, it’s akin to a mate attraction type strategy that you might see in nature. A conspicuous display of resources in order to attract either mates or just friends or people who you might want to form alliances with.
That’s the interesting thing about the theory because it’s so simple but you can look at just about any phenomena and through that lens and find an explanation for it. There’s a guy called Matt Ridley who’s economist I think, the Darwinian economist. He’s written a book called, The Evolution of Everything. It’s like 12 chapters looking at technology, politics, entertainment and explaining all these things through that lens. That’s a great little book to have in your desk drawer because you can just any challenge, the ones on your desk you can whip that out and categorize it and then aha, now.
[00:24:02] Adam: It ties it back to a core seed of human evolution?
[00:24:06] Eaon: Exactly because one of the big problems, I don’t know about you, I have this joke. You know these rubber stamps that you can get made, they would stamp it on invoices and says paid?
[00:24:21] Adam: Yes, sure.
[00:24:22] Eaon: I wanted to get one made that said “Not an insight.” That would save me time. Not an insight, not an insight.
[00:24:34] Adam: We used to work with a creative director who had one that said “Been done.” You could stamp it on your work. It was pretty genius. You actually, that’s a great point because what you said about status symbols, the idea of people choosing Adidas or Nike to find their tribe and what we’re seeing, I don’t know what politics are like in Australia but here in the US and certainly in parts of Europe, we’re seeing it as well that this tribalism and the filter bubble that people are putting themselves in to try to line up with people that are like-minded and similar and that comes down even on the brand terms if you’re an Under Armor person or a Nike person or an Adidas person or a Kappa person like whatever brand you choose, it lines you up with the values of those other people.
[00:25:27] Eaon: There’s all kinds of for instance, just think about sporting goods. I tend to be an Adidas person. The reason for that is I like– my big sport is football, soccer so my team Aberdeen, they were really– our heyday was in the mid 80s and we won a big European Cup final back then but the kit that they wore was Adidas kit. Anyone that’s an Aberdeen supporter is very loyal to Adidas but it’s nothing to do with Adidas. It’s to do with the fact that when our tribe were successful, that was the emblem of the tribe. If you go in Aberdeen football match now, everyone in the crowd is wearing Adidas sneakers.
[00:26:17] Adam: [laughs] Are they still represented by Adidas.
[00:26:21] Eaon: Yes.
[00:26:22] Adam: Just for life. Here in the US, the teams switch too much to get a loyalty out of it. The MLB and NFL switch providers every three or four years.
[00:26:38] Eaon: Actually, if you went into most people’s closet and pulled out their branded sportswear, you would probably find that there’s quite a mixture. People are quite a loyal to the category and but we’ll have a number of different brands and they’re probably and this comes back to the by the Sharp type stuff of the brands in a category will share their customers with other brands corresponding with the size of brand.
Adidas and Nike are the similar size, so people will buy the products of both and then Reebok or something is slightly smaller so they’ll have fewer of those things. I’ve wondered about that, I thought wonder I can you tie that back to some Darwinian principle. This is maybe a little bit spurious but I had this thought that back in there, so back in the Savannah when we were hunters and gatherers, if you were gathering berries or fruits or plants, then it makes sense to not go to the same place every day, right?
[00:27:57] Adam: Right, it’s availability. It’s what’s available when you went on the days when you go out gathering, well maybe there was only Reebok, maybe there was only berries.
[00:28:05] Eaon: You want to spread where you collect from because if everyone went to the same place and picked those berries then very soon there would be no berries in that place. It’s a bit why farmers leave their field for a year without planting anything in it to allow that the soil to regenerate with nutrients or whatever in it. I don’t know how spurious that is but possibly.
[00:28:35] Adam: It’s a loose connection we’re not saying–
[00:28:39] Eaon: People don’t go to the same supermarket every time, you spread it around.
[00:28:47] Adam: Part of it is where you are in your path, coming home from, this time I’m coming home from work, next time I’m coming home from dance class with my kids. I stop at a different place to get groceries. Availability is a big part of evolutionary psychology I think. It’s what’s convenient and convenience comes from safety. If I venture too far from my cave or from our camp, I’m putting myself at risk of a bigger animal than me or another tribe seeing me. How can I stay close to home and make it simple for myself?
[00:29:27] Eaon: All that still holds, I think.
[00:29:33] Adam: I think it all does tie and it’s interesting as you keep reading deeper and deeper. You always see Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and you go I don’t know, seems like technology has moved just past that but ultimately it can all be tied back to those main.
[00:29:50] Eaon: The Maslow thing is interesting. Some people recently have debunked that a little bit really like looking at it through, I think at the top of the Mosul pyramid is the idea of self-actualization. Whereas from a more evolutionary standpoint, when we know there’s two ultimate drivers of behavior which survival and reproduction. From an evolutionary standpoint, parents are at the top of the pyramid because obviously, that is fundamental to getting your genes — well, you’ve produced offsprings, so your genes are in the next generation. You want to protect them for long enough that then they can reproduce and your job is done. You’ve successfully got two generations down the line.
[00:30:50] Adam: You’ve become one generation closer to a more [crosstalk]?
[00:30:52] Eaon: Exactly. [laughs].
[00:30:54] Adam: As Dawkins would tell us, right?
[00:30:57] Eaon: Because in selfish gene. This is the most harrowing but insightful kind of person and it’s quite near the beginning when he says, “We’re robot vehicles blindly programmed by our genes to get them into the next generation or something.” I like the idea of a robot vehicles.
[00:31:20] Adam: [laughs]. You just want to be like Voltron. Ultimately, that’s what you like about it?
[00:31:25] Eaon: I’m interested in where artificial intelligence is right now. Potentially going. I think that’s the next really interesting frontier from the point of view. Particularly, from an advertising point of view. One of the things we’ve been hindered by for a long time. Almost as long as there’s been advertising is pretty flawed market research methodologies that we have to deal with, and I’m sure you’ve sat through all kinds of absolutely delusional brand tracking surveys. We have particular tools that got used in Australia for demographic profiling and all that kind of stuff which is just none of them. Which is just complete nonsense.
[00:32:23] Adam: 10% of what you’re dealing with it is [crosstalk].
[00:32:25] Eaon: Exactly. Most of that is because of basically the human intervention and because we’re fundamentally stupid. It’s not surprising that it comes out as rubbish. That’s an interesting area where our artificial intelligences could successfully applied.
[00:32:51] Adam: How do you think it will apply? You have any thoughts on it or you just think that level of calculation will be powerful?
[00:32:59] Eaon: On a very, very basic level, just the ability to cope with far bigger dataset than the human mind can comprehend. We’re not very good with numbers anyway because we didn’t really evolve to do mathematics. Obviously, some people are very skilled at that but most of us can be fooled by statistics very, very easily, and if we can create machines that are not fooled.
Then we might get a better representation even for sizing an audience for something based on that rather than anecdotal self-report which is no big surprise. Everyone knows that that’s deeply flawed. There is a thing that Philip Graves, the consumer psychologist, he adapted a quote from Edgar Allan Poe. Where he says, “Trust nothing a consumer say.Trust about half of what you see them do. Trust nearly everything that the sales tells you they have done.”
[00:34:06] Adam: That’s it. Where they put their money.
[00:34:08] Eaon: Exactly. We’re along way off in our artificial general intelligence. That’s the Robocop kind of fear that people have. I’m not an expert in this by any stretch, but from what I’ve read. The people who are experts seem to think that anything of that nature is a long, long way off. If you think how the human mind is constructed, it’s not one general purpose system. It’s a number of modules – the old came about and evolved at different times in our history – and it all stuck together. These modules are good for doing one or two things.
[00:34:58] Adam: Right. Each one of them does something and passes the next part, to the next part.
[00:35:01] Eaon: Exactly. Quite often, they don’t collaborate very well. They compete with each for the control of the organism.
[00:35:10] Adam: Wasn’t that part of confirmation bias? Where an idea gets lodged in one part of the brain and the other parts are left out of the decision at that part? Or it’s like, “No, I’ve already decided, guys. Stop it.”
[00:35:19] Eaon: Yes see, it’s whatever modules is in control at any particular time. It can get a little philosophical. Thinking about what do we mean by self? I can’t remember who put this forward first, but there’s an argument that there’s one particular module or process that we think of, of the self, but really what it is, is that that’s the PR department of the mind. Which is concerned with reputation and things like that. It’s often working with either incomplete information. The analogy is if you think of the rest of the mind is the Oval office, this component is the press office,. It’s often trying to communicate to the rest of the organism, and to the outside world what it thinks. The mind is trying to do but it doesn’t really have all the information.
[00:36:27] Adam: Right. It doesn’t know for sure. That’s the same problem as focus groups essentially, where I try to get from you or 10 of you which is even worse. “Hey, what beverage do you want when you’re hot?” “Well, I don’t know.” “I kind of want this one.” Nobody can really explain what — [crosstalk]. You can’t understand.
[00:36:49] Eaon: It’s the mind’s PR department just based on very little information throwing out a plausible explanation that keeps the press pack at bay for a little while. Focus groups are one of the worst things because as people notices they’ve gathered into that brightly lit room with this slightly curled up at the edge. They know they’re going to be questioned so they’re already prying to have an opinion on something before they even know what they’re going to be asked about.
[00:37:25] Adam: Right, your guard is up and then tribal behavior kicks in and people try to find their place in the group.
[00:37:31] Eaon: Exactly, and that comes back to human nature as well to constantly battling for space. Will do that in any situation. We’ll try and find our place in that hierarchy and inevitably someone comes out on top, and then influences the opinions of the rest of the people there.
[00:37:54] Adam: Unfortunately. We’ve been doing more and more online panels and online communities instead of live groups for that reason to try to minimize the Alpha and to try to give people time to separate from it. We do more over a period of days. When people are writing into a computer you get a little bit more honesty then you would when they have to stare across the table at three other neighbors. Be accountable for, “Well, actually I’d like to go to this [unintelligible 00:38:23].” “That you guys just told me you don’t like.”.
[00:38:27] Eaon: If it’s at all possible to disguise what it is that you’re actually researching. If you can get them even to believe that one thing that’s been researched. By stealth you’re really trying to find out something else then that can sometimes be more useful.
[00:38:53] Adam: That’s weird. It’s such a weird thing. It really is.
[00:38:59] Eaon: Ideally you want it to be double blind. Even the people who are doing the research don’t know what it is that they’re researching. In that way, you can mitigate as much as you can. Looking at actual data in the wild is the best indicator of anything, but, of course, it’s the harder stuff to get a hold of.
[00:39:23] Adam: Almost always. Before I let you go. I know your work day is about to start. I wanted to talk for just a little bit more about the book. Tell me your biggest takeaway as you were working on that, or biggest thing that you’ve — I know when I released the book some of the feedback that I got was, “Oh, I wasn’t even trying to say that but it’s interesting that you took that away from it.” Have you gotten any kind of shocking feedback from the book, or feedback that made you think about, okay, now I can write a second one because I hadn’t thought of that yet?
[00:39:57] Eaon: That’s interesting. No. The book is it’s sort of self-evident, how it came about because I’m writing now I’ve got the bug, I’m sure you’re the same because I’m writing two other ones at the moment it took me about you two–
[00:40:20] Adam: You are writing two at the same time?
[00:40:23] Eaon: Because this first one, it’s a bit like imagine if you’re in a band. You play around the pubs and clubs for years and then you maybe get a support act on the big big bands tour and then you get signed and now you have to record your first album, you’ve had five years of playing those songs and then you walk them all into the first album and then you’ve got the problem of doing the second one but you’ve only got a year this time. The first book my one, it was based on about three or four sorts of articles written for work or for the trade press. I have been writing stuff for 12 years just really just churning out in the blogging stuff but there were three or four things that seemed to connect. I joined them together and then rule around them and fill that out. That was kind of the easy one in a way because the material was basically there.
I thought I was going to be a struggle to do anything else but then I had some stuff left over that never made it and plus some new things and then all of a sudden I had half of the second book.
[00:41:42] Adam: That’s fantastic.
[00:41:43] Eaon: That wasn’t the second book I wanted to write. The one I wanted to write was because this one is I guess the closest thing if you had to categorize it, you would say it’s more like a sort of philosophy because. There’s no 10 steps to do this or blah blah blah, it’s kind of musings on stuff and that’s the easiest stuff for me to write The second book that was happening by default was another one of those but then I got a little bit jealous and I looked at Ricahrd Shawn a guy who’s I think we both know.
[00:42:34] Adam: He will be on soon too.
[00:42:35] Eaon: Because I’ve got your book it’s in my Kindle I just haven’t read it yet.
[00:42:42] Adam: You son of a– That’s hot.
[00:42:44] Eaon: Sorry.
[00:42:47] Adam: That’s all right.
[00:42:47] Eaon: I got Shawn book as well when I scanned it really, I think it compiled at similar to a I don’t like because I thought I’ve read some of the stuff before in other columns they’d written but I thought he’s been very very smart because and he’s going to sell far more books than me because he’s made a practical book that the people can pick up and use. I think he’s building this 25 behavioral biases.
[00:42:43] Adam: It’s a very very interesting book
[00:43:22] Eaon: That’s how you write a book that’s going to sell, which makes it something people can use and I thought right. Well he’s– I’ve done around the cognitive psychology behavioral economics and I thought I don’t want to give the game away too much because I want to get this because before someone else does it but thought. I wanted to do one than the practical usable book using everyone’s social motives as a base. There are around six fundamental motives that drive behavior and I thought that six chapters and I’ll write those with practical examples of how you can apply that. That’s going to be the third, the third book is going to be much more of a practical application.
[00:44:13] Adam: You’re like a Hollywood studio you think in intrukugies.
[00:44:17] Eaon: I’m just thinking how can I make some money because you going to have to sell a few thousand books to make some money.
[00:44:25] Adam: When you figure that part out can we do another podcast so you can explain to me how.
[00:44:31] Eaon: The other not calling from doing that so you can write this forceful books and be a sort of cult and sort of research a few hundred people and maybe get the old speaking geek but I know it’s the other thing that makes me jealous of Shawn he’s about to embark on a book tour of the US, there’s other knock-on benefits that’s what you want. If he listens to this he’ll be very pleased that he’s causing this kind of existential angst.
[00:45:05] Adam: For both of us.
[00:45:06] Eaon: For both of us.
[00:45:09] Adam: I’m going to do the ping him after this I hope he’ll be coming through Phoenix and I can visit with him when he’s in town. Well Ian this has been awesome give me how can people reach you if they want to learn more they want to pin you with questions?
[00:45:25] Eaon: Well I’m currently easily accessible online, I guess mostly on that’s obviously I’ve got my blog this is just impresario.blogspot.com.
[00:45:38] Adam: I will definitely link to it in the show notes here.
[00:45:43] Eaon: Or on Twitter, I’m EAENOP E-A-E-N-O-P AND happy to connect with people And chat there.
[00:45:58] Adam: Well this has been awesome, thank you so much for making time, I know you got on at 8:00 AM your time, I appreciate you getting in early to chat with me today.
[00:46:08] Eaon: Thank you very much for having me and the thing is I don’t know about you, I tend to try and get into the office if I can get in about
[00:45:24] Adam: Before everybody starts interrupting I know.
[00:45:27] Eaon: Before I have to start attending meetings.
[00:46:31] Adam: Same same, for any y half-past seven that means I got an hour and a half to do work before–oung people listening that’s the key get in early, you can leave early if you get in early.
[00:46:37] Eaon: That’s right well in theory what happened here at practice.
[00:46:42] Adam: When I say leave early I mean 10:00 PM.
[00:46:47] Eaon: Or you get home you can and then watch sort of children have gone to bed I need to work for another five hours.
[00:46:56] Adam: That’s when you’re really productive.
[00:46:59] Eaon: It’s funny the talk about writing books and stuff I don’t know what your sort of process was but most of my stuff was written in that period between about half-past six and half seven in the morning.
[00:47:112] Adam: 100% and a lot of hours when the kids went to sleep.
[00:47:16] Eaon: There’s a guy that draws the Dilbert cartoons I can’t remember which his name is.
[00:47:24] Adam: Scott Adam.
[00:47:25] Eaon: Scott but all the kinds is not a very nice man but I saw picked up that from him before he did Dilbert professionally, he did something else and all of the early Dilbert stuff was drawn in the first hour of the day before it became his job. For the kids out there let’s not all–
[00:47:50] Adam: There’s a whole school of thought from what’s that book The Artist’s Way, if you read or listen to Brian Koppelman who is a film writer, producer, director he does the show billions did a bunch of feature films, he speaks a lot about he was in another career but he wanted to be a writer and he would wake up at six am and write for two hours every morning until he got enough stuff that he could go pitch a script.
[00:48:15] Eaon: I didn’t know about that I’ll check about that.
[00:48:22] Adam: It’s really interesting, all right well let me let you get back to work everybody thank you so much for listening, Ian again thank you so much for making time I really appreciate it for talking with you.
[00:48:33] Eaon: Thanks Adam. All the best and I’ll speak to you soon.
[00:49:08] [END OF AUDIO]